Staying Disciplined, Containing the Sedins Among Top 10 Keys for Bruins to Beat Canucks

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Staying Disciplined, Containing the Sedins Among Top 10 Keys for Bruins to Beat Canucks The Bruins are back in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since the elder George Bush was in the White House, and while much has changed in the world in the last 21 years, some things remain the same.

The Bruins once again find themselves facing a powerhouse club from western Canada in the Final. This time it’s not Mark Messier and the Edmonton Oilers, but Ryan Kesler, the Sedin twins and the Vancouver Canucks that stand in Boston’s way as the B’s try to bring home the club’s first Cup since 1972.

What do the Bruins have to do to make this Final end a little better than the fruitless trips to Alberta in 1988 and 1990? 

The Bruins are back in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since the elder George Bush was in the White House, and while much has changed in the world in the last 21 years, some things are still the same.

The Bruins once again find themselves facing a powerhouse club from western Canada in the Final. This time it’s not Mark Messier and the Edmonton Oilers, but Ryan Kesler, Daniel and Henrik Sedin and the Vancouver Canucks that stand in Boston’s way as they try to bring home the club’s first Cup since 1972.

What do the Bruins have to do to make this Final end a little better than the fruitless trips to Alberta in 1988 and 1990? Here’s a look at the Top 10 Keys for the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final:

10. Put Shots on Luongo – The Bruins finally managed to generate consistent pressure on Dwayne Roloson in Game 7 of the conference final, firing 38 shots on net after managing just 20 in each of the previous two games. And they needed every one of those shots, as Roloson stopped 37 of them. It won’t be any easier to beat Roberto Luongo, but the Bruins need to find ways to get shots through, create traffic in front and get those ugly goals in close on tips and rebounds. 

9. Another Spark from Seguin – Tyler Seguin had to wait until the third round to make his NHL playoff debut, but it was worth the wait as he piled up six points in his first two games. He didn’t have another point the rest of the series though. If he’s to stay in the lineup, the Bruins will need some production from him to help balance their attack and make the third line a legitimate threat. Even though he didn’t score, Seguin played a strong game in Game 7, and if he can maintain that level of effort the points will come.

8. Find a Power Outlet – The Bruins’ power-play struggles have been well chronicled. They’ve managed just five goals on 61 chances (8.2 percent) this postseason. Somehow they’ve defied the odds to make it this far with so little help from their special teams, but they’ll need some production from the power play to beat the Canucks. There is reason for hope, as the Bruins scored on their last power play of the Tampa series and created more chances on their other opportunities in Game 6 after moving Zdeno Chara down low in front of the net.

7. Stay Disciplined – While Boston’s power play has struggled, Vancouver has had no such problems. The Canucks are clicking at a 28.3-percent clip (17 for 60). The Bruins can’t afford to give them many chances with the extra man. That means playing smart and not taking the bait when agitators like Maxim Lapierre, Alexandre Burrows and Ryan Kesler try to stir things up.

6. Second-Line Production – The Bruins got the top line rolling again with David Krejci and Nathan Horton in particular piling up points. But after a strong start to the postseason, the second line of Patrice Bergeron between Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi has tailed off a bit. Much of that was due to Bergeron’s absence for the first two games of the Tampa series after suffering a concussion, but the Bruins need all three to find their game again. Bergeron did set up Marchand for the game-winner in Game 5 with a perfect pass and Recchi looked much better in Game 7 when Claude Julien spelled him occasionally with Rich Peverley taking some shifts in his spot.

5. Match Canucks’ Physical Play – The Bruins have prided themselves on their toughness and physical play all season, and they used that to their advantage to wear down the smaller Lightning. But the Canucks are tough team in their own right, and they have plenty of players who love to hit. The Bruins will have to keep their heads up against the likes of Raffi Torres and Kevin Bieksa, among others, and find a way to answer in kind with some big hits of their own. They have to walk a fine line though, as they can’t afford to take penalties while imposing their will physically because of Vancouver’s potent power play.

4. Blue Line Balance – Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg have formed a dominant shutdown pair on the Bruins’ blue line since being reunited early in the first round. The Bruins can’t ask for anything more than that duo has been giving them, but even with the huge minutes they log, the rest of the defense has to pull its weight too. Andrew Ference has been one of the unsung heroes of the playoffs with his steady play. Johnny Boychuk has been more inconsistent, and the Bruins need him to turn in a big series, while also getting steady contributions from Adam McQuaid and Tomas Kaberle, who did play better against Tampa and will have to continue that improvement this round.

3. Big Homecoming for Lucic – While David Krejci and Nathan Horton have come up huge, tying for the team lead with 17 points apiece and combining for seven game-winning goals, linemate Milan Lucic has been relatively quiet with just 3-6-9 totals in 18 games. That’s uncharacteristic for Lucic, who has always shown a knack for raising his game in the playoffs throughout his career. But Lucic has a chance to make up for his slow postseason start as he heads back to his hometown of Vancouver. Playing in front of the home folks has usually meant good things for Lucic, who led the Vancouver Giants to the Memorial Cup title there in 2007 and scored the game-winner and added two assists in Boston’s 3-1 win in Vancouver in February.

2. Road Warriors – The Bruins had a better record on the road (24-12-5) than at home (22-13-6) during the regular season. They haven’t had quite a much success in the playoffs, but have still managed to go 5-3 away from the Garden. They’ll need to add at least one more road win in this round to claim the Cup, as Vancouver has the home-ice advantage. The only other time the Bruins began a series on the road this postseason, then won two straight in Philadelphia to begin a sweep. They also won their first two in Montreal after dropping two at home, but lost their last two on the road in Tampa.

1. Contain the Sedins – The biggest challenge facing the Bruins will be finding a way to keep Vancouver’s talented Sedin brothers under control. Daniel Sedin led the NHL with 104 points in the regular season, while Henrik Sedin is the top scorer in the playoffs with 21. Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg will draw the assignment of matching up with the Sedins as much as possible, but with the Canucks having home ice, Claude Julien won’t have the last chance to always get his top defense pair out opposite them. Even when Chara and Seidenberg are out there, it will take a team effort to shut down Vancouver’s top line, with the forwards coming back to help as much as possible.

Click here to count down the Bruins’ 10 keys to beating the Canucks >>

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