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BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Bruins are in the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in 21 years, but they have some tough competition in the Vancouver Canucks.
Vancouver won the President’s Trophy in 2011, posting the best regular season record in the NHL at 54-19-9 (117 points). They led the NHL in goals per game (3.1), goals against average (2.2), and power play efficiency, scoring 24.4-percent of the time with a man-advantage. They also killed off 85.6-percent of penalties, good for third in the league. In the playoffs, those numbers decreased slightly, except their power play, but the Canucks still find themselves the class of the Western Conference.
Vancouver is led by Henrik and Daniel Sedin, identical twins drafted by the Canucks in 1999. Then-general manager Brian Burke pulled off three separate trades to land the second overall pick (to go with Vancouver’s third overall pick), and made sure both Daniel and Henrik would be there when Vancouver’s turn came up.
Since then, the two have been major players for the Canucks organization. Daniel, a forward, scores the goals with Henrik, a center, setting him up most of the time. Daniel won the Art Ross Trophy in 2011 with 104 regular season points.
Henri+k is fourth all-time for Vancouver in scoring, with Daniel right behind at fifth.
This postseason, Henrik has two goals and 19 assists, with Daniel scoring eight goals with eight assists. Both are a minus-four (-4) on the ice.
Mark Recchi Talks Canucks Offense
It is not just the Sedin twins the Bruins will have to worry about though. Ryan Kessler is second on the team with 18 points in the playoffs, and has a goal in each of the last two games. He scored an overtime-forcing goal with just 14-seconds left in the Cancucks Game 5 double-overtime win over the Sharks to clinch the Western Conference Finals. Alex Burrows has flourished along side the Sedin twins, notching goals in three straight games. He registered a point in each of the five games in the Western Conference Finals.
“Those are important pieces that you’re going to have try and contain as much as possible,” Bruins forward Mark Recchi said of Vancouver’s offensive stars. “You’re never going to shut those guys down. You have to contain and be hard on them, give them the least room as possible.”
The Canucks are just as strong in net as they are offensively. As well as Tim Thomas has played in net for Boston, Roberto Luongo has been just as good for Vancouver. The 32-year-old is a Vezina Finalist after posting a 38-15-7 record in the regular season with a 2.11 goals against average. Luongo has a pair of shutouts in the playoffs and has stopped 92-percent of the shots that have come his way. He was drafted by the New York Islanders fourth overall in 1999, but was traded to the Florida Panthers by Mike Millbury after his rookie season. He is now in his fifth year in Vancouver.
Luongo is backed up by Boston College Alum Cory Schneider, who played three seasons at BC. Drafted 26th overall in 2004, the Marblehead native became Loungo’s permanent backup this season, making 22 regular season starts, going 16-4-2 while allowing 2.23 goals per game.
The Bruins will certainly have their hands full once again, dealing with a powerful offense and trying to score on one of the game’s best goalies. The Bruins and Canucks met once during the regular season with the B’s victorious in a 3-1 game back in February. The win capped off a seven-game win streak, all on the road. While their win was convincing at the time, Boston knows it is a much different task ahead of them now.
Bruins Talk Regular Season Win vs Canucks
“If you start reaching back to February I don’t think it offers too much other than a familiarity,” said defenseman Andrew Ference. “You have an idea of what they’re about, but that’s a long time ago in our world. Almost watching them in playoffs and getting to know them watching them through their other series is more valuable than playing them.”
NHL.com did a video game simulation of the series, with Vancouver winning in seven games. They did a similar simulation before the playoffs, with Boston and Vancouver meeting in the Stanley Cup, also a seven-game Vancouver win. Although it might seem silly to take any stock in how a video game played out the series, it predicted all but one of the 14 playoff series in 2011.
The Bruins have proved many people wrong on their way to the Stanley Cup. Now that they are there, we’ll see if they can now prove a video game wrong too.
98.5 The Sports Hub is the only local station to listen to every game of the Stanley Cup Finals. Coverage begins an hour before each game with the Bruins Pregame show hosted by Dave Goucher & Bob Beers.