I started the Stanley Cup Final feeling very apprehensive. After game 2, against my better judgement, I allowed myself to feel some confidence, some enjoyment even. I more or less dismissed the game three mauling, though the apprehension returned.
But in game four a couple of new emotions emerged. After the Bruins made it 2-0, I began to feel disheartened. But that was a short-lived feeling. Once Boston made it 3-0, I turned angry. Very angry. I sincerely hated the Canucks for some time after that. So much so that I literally had to walk away before hammering out this article.
It's not so much that they lost both games in Boston. That did not surprise me, though it disappointed me. It's more the fact that they seemingly lost every puck battle. They were out-hustled, out-worked all night long. Where was the push-back? The Bruins mauled them at every opportunity.
There's a famous quote that goes "If you want to leave your footsteps in the sands of time, wear your work boots." The Bruins brought their lunch pails, too.
Here's some more Pucks On The 'Net:
- Here is the stat of the day: 8 wins in 41 years. The Canucks are now 8-40-8 all time in Boston.
- The Canucks outshot the Bruins 38-29. But very few of their shots came from in close, and there was next to no second chances on any of the shots. All the shots were from far out. Boston has done a masterful job keeping the slot clean.
- Though they didn't get on the score sheet, the Sedins and Burrows played strong games and were clearly the best players for Vancouver. I can not think of another player who I would include with them. Maybe Corey Schneider. He did a good job passing out towels before making a relief appearance.
- On Twitter I called out Ryan Kesler, who was invisible all game long. Hockey Night in Canada's Jeff Marek told me to go easy on him because he is obviously hurt. In not my smartest move (remember I was real angry at this time) I went on a tirade about how I didn't care if Kesler was injured. Henrik is injured and he played well. Half the Canucks are injured. Trevor Linden famously played injured in 1994. Bobby Baun scored a Stanley Cup overtime winning goal on a broken leg. Injuries are no excuse.
- That being said, the Canucks sure are missing Dan Hamhuis. All the talk about Conn Smythe trophy for Kesler, Sedins or Luongo - it appears Canucks real MVP was the pride of northwestern British Columbia.
- Every Canucks defenseman looked brutal at times in this game. Christian Ehrhoff and Alexander Edler were at least consistent - they were bad all night long.
- Vancouver appeared to be playing an okay road game, though Boston carried the play from early on. But they just never got any breaks. There were at least 5 blown or phantom calls by the officials. Them's the breaks. Canucks have gotten quite a few these playoffs. Now they are evening out. Maybe the Canucks will get a break next game?
- With 701 saves this post season, Tim Thomas trails only Kirk McLean (761 in 1994) for the record of most saves in one playoff season. Interesting, McLean and the others in the top 5 - Ron Hextall, Olaf Kolzig, and John Vanbiesbrouck, all lost the Stanley Cup Final.
- Thomas is the odds on favorite for the Conn Smythe trophy now. His goals-against average during the Stanley Cup Final to 1.26 and upped his save percentage to .966 (141 saves on 146 shots).
- Hey, I might be the Hockey History Blogger, but history does not mean anything right now. What happened in the past does not matter. All that matters is the present. We now have a best of 3 to decide who wins the the 2011 Stanley Cup!
- I'm expecting a Canucks victory on home ice in game 5. But there will be a 7th game. All bets are off at that point.
- The thing that has surprised me the most so far this SCF - there are a lot of Boston Bruins fans in British Columbia. And they are growing in number.