Roberto Luongo and the New French Connection Are Leading the Vancouver Canucks

Joel ProsserCorrespondent IJune 11, 2011

VANCOUVER, BC - JUNE 10:  Maxim Lapierre #40 of the Vancouver Canucks celebrates with his team after scoring a goal in the third period against the Boston Bruins during Game Five of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Arena on June 10, 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Vancouver Canucks 1970 expansion brethren Buffalo Sabres had the famed French Connection line of Gilbert Perreault, Rick Martin and Rene Robert.

The 2011 edition of the Canucks have their own French Connection.

Maxim Lapierre and Alex Burrows were both born in suburbs of Montreal, and grew up cheering for the Habs, who routinely trounce the Bruins whenever they meet in the playoffs.

Lapierre summed up growing up in Montreal as a Canadiens fan in an quote that tweeted by the Canucks on May 30 before the series began: "We're playing against the Bruins, a team I was raised to hate, it's a dream come true."

Chris Higgins wasn't born in Montreal, but New York isn't that far away. He was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens, and played six seasons for them, some of those season with then team mate Lapierre.

These three players with Montreal roots have been devastatingly effective against the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Finals.

In the five games to date in the Stanley Cup Finals, the trio have combined for 37 hits, six takeaways and 11 blocked shots.

They are contributing on the scoresheet as well, carrying the attack with 33 shots for the Canucks while the Sedins and Ryan Kesler have been silenced by Boston.

The trio of Burrows, Higgins and Lapierre have scored three of the Canucks six goals. Of the three Canucks goals that were not scored by them, they assisted on two of them. 

In other words, the trio has been involved in five of the six goals scored by the Canucks.

Two of their goals were game winners. Burrows scored in overtime of Game 2, and Lapierre scoring late in Game 5. 

Growing up, how often did these two dream of the crowd chanting their names after scoring a clutch goal against the Boston Bruins with the Stanley Cup on the line?

Of course, they probably imagined wearing a different jersey back then, and the chanting might have been in French.

Aside from their contributions both with and without the puck, the French Connection trio are driving the Bruins and their fans crazy. 

Burrows of course was involved in the biting controversy in Game 1, and in Game 4 he was exchanging shots with Tim Thomas. 

Lapierre infamously taunted Bergeron about the biting incident during Game 2.

It is hard to say which player would be public enemy number one in Boston right now, they are hated so much by the Bruins fans.

While the Sabres only had three members for their French Connection, the Canucks have four members. 

Roberto Luongo also hails from Montreal, and has been key to the Canucks victories as well.

Luongo might have had lacklustre numbers in Games 3 and 4, but he has a pair of shutouts in the Stanley Cup Finals. 

With the clutch scoring provided by the new French Connection, Luongo has been shutting the door at home to enable the Canucks to squeak out wins.

Right now, the Canucks new version of the French Connection is the major reason why they are up 3-2 and on the verge of the first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

You have to wonder if Canucks general manager Mike Gillis put any stock in the predictions that the Canucks and Bruins would meet in the finals. He certainly loaded up on former Habs at the trade deadline, and it is paying off.