2011 NHL Finals: Tyler Seguin and 5 X-Factors in the Bruins-Canucks Series
Both teams have a few players that can make or break their team this series, and if they play well, chances are, their team will too.
These are the X-factors that may or may not come through for each side.
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When Seguin is hot, it’s difficult to stop him. He scored six points in Games 1 and 2 in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Lightning.
However, those were the last goals he scored in that series.
Boston should be hopeful Seguin gets enough playing time to create opportunities for his team and will do well against the Canucks’ open style of playing. While he’s young with very little playoff experience, if he can keep up his energy and offense the way he has in the past, the Bruins will have enough of a force to worry Vancouver.
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Lucic is another guy that, like Seguin, could really strike on Vancouver’s open playing style.
Lucic hasn’t been great during the postseason so far, except for Game 4 against the Flyers, where he scored two goals. Those goals broke a 20-game streak where he had not scored at all.
If he can get that adrenaline and intensity back, the Canucks should be worried about his already physical style of play and ability to frustrate his opponents.
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The Bruins had high hopes when they acquired Kaberle right before the trade deadline. He has the postseason experience and has great offensive ability.
Unfortunately for Boston, he hasn’t been showing his skill and has only nine points—all assists—in his 24 games with the Bruins.
Kaberle is staying positive though, stating that he liked what he saw when it came to power plays in Game 1 on Wednesday.
If he can pick up his game to where it was when the Bruins picked him up, Boston will have a major force to be reckoned with.
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Bieksa scored the game-winning goal in double overtime against the Sharks to send Vancouver to the finals for the first time since 1994. He has the drive and the heart that the Canucks need, and his leadership stands out.
The Bruins top line have been the ones to carry them through the playoffs, so Bieksa has a tough road ahead of him when he tries to contain them.
As long as he stays hot, the Canucks should feel pretty good about their chances of bringing that trophy home.
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Malhotra is one of Vancouver’s biggest unknowns. He’s been out since mid-March with an eye injury and questions arose if he’d ever have his full vision back, let alone get back on the ice.
He was cleared to play last Friday and may be on the ice as early as Game 2.
It’s hard to tell how ready Malhotra will be for a stage as big as the Stanley Cup Finals. While he’s been skating with the team since May 12, he is far behind the rest in terms of games and preparation.
He still is one of the best faceoff men and penalty killers in the league, however, so he could be a huge asset to the Canucks’ talented group on the ice.