In the first round, it was the Montreal speed and quickness that was supposed to give a bigger, stronger Bruins team fits. Then, in the next round, the Bruins weren't only taking on a Philadelphia team that arguably had more talent than the B's, but Boston was also skating against the ghosts of last year's collapse. And finally, Boston was to have problems slowing down the Tampa Bay trio of Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier and Steven Stamkos, while trying to solve the riddle that was Dwayne Roloson.
Done, done and done.
Now, though, the Bruins do face their toughest test of the spring. The Vancouver Canucks will host the Bruins in Game 1 on Wednesday night in Vancouver, and the B's have their work cut out for them.
First of all, there's the job of solving the Sedin twins. Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin have combined to form a lethal combination, using superior offensive talents along with an uncanny ability to find each other on the ice to give opposing teams nightmares. The two combined for just under 200 points in the regular season and have been arguably better in the playoffs. Slowing the duo will be one of the top priorities for the Bruins.
So will be slowing the Vancouver power play. Thanks in large part to the play of the Sedins, the Canucks have converted on 28.3 percent of their power plays this postseason. They've notched 17 power-play tallies in 18 playoff games.
Those numbers are astronomical when you compare them to those of the Bruins. The B's have been poor at best and abysmal at worst on the man advantage for quite some time now. Like the Canucks, Boston enters the Stanley Cup Final having played 18 games. The Black and Gold have just five power-play goals to show, though, and they're converting at an anemic 8.2 percent, a figure that some nights seems a bit high.
The Bruins may have the great equalizer, however, in goalie Tim Thomas. The veteran netminder has taken his game to a different level in these playoffs, and on most nights, he's been the most valuable Bruin on the ice. Having him at his best can go a long way in helping slow the Sedins (and anyone else on a very deep offensive team) and the Vancouver power play.
What is the biggest key for the Bruins to beat the Canucks? Share your thoughts below.
Friday, May 27: What grade would you give the referees in the Bruins-Lightning series?
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