At the end of a great season of hockey, the finals will be between the Vancouver Canucks from the Western Conference, and the Boston Bruins from the Eastern Conference.
The Canucks journey to the Cup
The Canucks opened up by beating the Chicago Blackhawks, the team that knocked them out the prior two playoff seasons. The Canucks had jumped out to a three game lead, but Chicago fought back. The Canucks were finally able to finish off the Hawks by winning Game 7 in overtime.
Then, the Canucks beat the Nashville Predators in six games in the second round. Three out of their four wins were one goal games, but Luongo played stellar.
Finally, in the Western Conference finals, the Canucks triumphed over the San Jose Sharks in only five games. Luongo played rock solid, and Kesler and Henrik Sedin came alive and dominated.
The Bruins journey to the Cup
The Bruins started off in the first round by beating the Montreal Canadiens in seven games, including a 4-3 game seven win.
In the second round, they simply swept the second seeded Philadelphia Flyers.
In the third round, the Bruins held off the hot Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games, with a 1-0 victory in the last game on a goal by Nathan Horton.
The Bruins Tim Thomas will oppose the Canucks Roberto Luongo. This is almost literally as even a matchup as you can get. Both have 12-6 records and a 2.29 Goals Against Average. The only difference is that Thomas has a sparkling .929 Save Percentage, opposed to Luongo's almost as good .922.
I'd give a very slight edge to Thomas and the Bruins. Thomas has made some brilliant saves, and there is still some debate whether Luongo can handle the big games. I personally think he can after how he played this postseason, but I still give a slight advantage in the net to Boston.
The Sedin twins, Alexandre Burrows and Ryan Kesler, make up the bulk of the Canucks offensive attack. The Sedins have combined for 37 points thus far: Burrows has seven goals and assists each, and Kesler has seven goals and eleven assists.
For the Bruins, David Krejci, Nathan Horton, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand make up their offensive bulk. Krejci has ten goals and seven assists, and he's been a big story these playoffs.
I'd give a slight edge to the Canucks on offense, especially if the Sedins and Kesler dominate.
The Bruins will need all they can get from the four mentioned above to compete with Kesler and the Sedins.
Bruins win series 4-3.
Even though the Canucks have more dynamic scoring, Tim Thomas may be able to shut them down, and the Bruins may be able to beat Luongo. The series should come down to goaltending, and the probable Vezina trophy winner, Tim Thomas, may bring the cup to Boston.
But it won't be easy, as Luongo will try to capitalize for the Canucks, who are making their first Stanley Cup appearance since their 1994 loss to the New York Rangers.
Everyone, get ready, because it's going to be one great series.
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