Here's some pre-series news and notes.
- How important is it to win game one of the Stanley Cup Final? NHL teams winning game one of any best of seven series go on to win the series 68.3% of the time. That number increases to 77.5% in the Final.
- I guess that's why I'm fearful of game one. Vancouver had a real long layoff, while Boston may have had just the right amount of time off. Winning game one is not a must by any means, but it sure would be nice.
- Tim Thomas' career numbers against the Canucks are impressive, even if it is a small sample size. 3-0-0 with 2 shutouts. He's allowed just one goal on 98 shots, for an amazing .990 save percentage.
- One thing I'm pretty sure of - the Bruins are being cast as underdogs too heavily. Maybe it's because I live in British Columbia, but they are a much better team than many are giving them credit for. And I suspect they will convince everyone of that this series, win or lose.
- It is interesting, almost surprising, that 2011 marks the first matchup of Francophone coaches in the Stanley Cup Final. The Globe And Mail has a fantastic look at Alain Vigneault's and Claude Julien's relationship as former teammates, long time friends and now, for the next couple of weeks anyways, enemies.
- I will bet you a bag of Skittles that Manny Malhotra is in the line-up for game one. I suspect the Canucks were playing a few mind games by saying he had a set back. Throw off the Bruins? Maybe. Keep Malhotra away from Media Day? Since injured players are the only ones who do not have to be made available for Media Day, it's plausible.
- I think a real key for the Canucks to win will be how active their defense will be offensively. They also have to do a far better job of getting in front of Tim Thomas than they did in their regular season match in February - a 3-1 Bruins win. Boston confused Vancouver in that game. They tried relying on point shots, but got no net-presence at all. Having a pinching D may help open up the Bruins tight team defense.