The Vancouver Canucks can never make it easy for themselves or for their fans, can they? In that regard they are the most consistent team in the league.
The defining moment of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final has not yet happened. It will on Wednesday night sometime, as the Vancouver Canucks host the Boston Bruins for the deciding 7th game in this homer series. Will it be the best of times or the worst of times?
- The EA Sports simulator has been incredibly accurate all playoffs long. In the Final they predicted the series would go a full 7 games with the home team winning every game. I hope their accuracy continues for just one more game.
- There have been 15 game 7s in Stanley Cup Final history, with the home team winning 12 of them. That President's Trophy the Canucks won in the regular season will come in handy on Wednesday night.
- For what it is worth, Vancouver is 6-4 all time in game 7s, 0-1 in Stanley Cup Final game 7s. Boston is 11-10, and have never played in a Stanley Cup final game 7.
- Roberto Luongo's goal against average in final: At home - 0.67. On road - 8.11. That is unbelievable.
- I am definitely no Luongo hater, but he had to be better in game 6. I expect him to be back in form on Wednesday, but in a game 7 an unfortunate bounce can decide all.
- There will undoubtedly be lots of calls for Cory Schneider to play in game 7. No chance. You've got to go with the guys who got you there.
- That being said, does Vancouver deserve to win this series? Luongo has been awful at times. Ryan Kesler has been a complete non-factor, and the Sedins, while playing reasonably well, continue to struggle offensively.
- I'm not usually one to harp about refereeing, but again in game 6 Boston got all the early power plays and non-calls. Henrik got a penalty for getting mugged. And how was there not at least a 2 minute penalty on Boychuk for his role in Mason Raymond' serious injury. Raymond never had the puck yet Boychuk still stapled the vulnerable Vancouver forward awkwardly into the boards. Not that it matters now. There are likely to be few power plays in a game 7.
- Is there any doubt that Tim Thomas, win or lose on Wednesday, is the Conn Smythe Trophy winner?
Personally, I still hurt from the lat time the Canucks played in a game 7 in the Stanley Cup final. I do not know that my heart can take game 7 on Wednesday. If the Canucks lose, I will undoubtedly be heartbroken and disappointed like never before. But if they somehow win, I don't expect to be overjoyed by any mean. I expect to have a huge sense of relief more so than any celebration.
Bottom line - the Canucks best players have to emerge when they are needed most. If they can, Vancouver's got a good shot. But if they continue to struggle - and there is no reason to expect they will break out - it could be a long, long summer for Canucks fans.
Game 6 was about demoralizing for us fans - to be out of it by the 10 minute mark of the 1st period hurts badly. Hopefully the Canucks players did not like the taste left in their mouth after that loss, and now know they don't want that feeling to linger all summer. Here's hoping they come out focussed and strong in game 7, and finally get the job done.