Two wins for the Canucks in Vancouver, two wins for the Bruins in Boston. Friday night brings a pretty big swing match in Vancouver, where the Canucks try to recover from a poor visit to Boston and the Bruins look to continue the stomping they have been handing the Canucks at home.
I don't think it is too much of a stretch to say that the Bruins have been the most consistent team in this series through four games and they have been able to just take their game and build on it as the series has progressed, doing the things that the Canucks were able to do in the first couple games of the series, create turnovers and force the play down low. The Bruins' defense has been excellent in this series and they have found ways to collapse in front of Tim Thomas and giving him a number of easier saves to make and blocking a lot of shots. If the Bruins want to close this series out on Monday, they will have to do a lot of the same, but first, likely withstand the home team opening rush unscathed.
For the Canucks, it all circles back to keeping possession of the puck and getting back to the neutral zone and forechecking pressure that the Bruins have quickly taken over. In that department, it is almost like an arm wrestling match, whoever can keep the pressure and put the other team's arm down, seems to win each game. The defense in front of Roberto Luongo has to be much more responsible and the offense, 5-on-5 or on the power play, has to move the puck faster around the perimeter or to the net on a line rush, not giving the Bruins defense enough time to collapse in front and take away more space in the net.
Game Five will be a nailbiter for the Canucks, unless they can get on the scoresheet early and somewhat often. The Bruins will be a confident bunch, to which I think the over-confident questions are very valid.
|299 points||-0 points||-16||-25||-27||-27||-27||-28||-30||-30|
|Daniel Sedin (1)||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|Henrik Sedin (2)||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|Ryan Kesler (3)||x||x|
|Christian Ehrhoff (8)||x|
|Roberto Luongo (12)||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|Patrice Bergeron (13)||x||x|
|David Krejci (14)||x||x||x|
|Milan Lucic (15)|
|Nathan Horton (16)||x||x||x|
|Michael Ryder (18)||x||x||x|
|Brad Marchand (19)||x||x||x|
|Tomas Kaberle (20)||x|
|Zdeno Chara (21)||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|Johnny Boychuk (23)||x|
|Tim Thomas (24)||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
Remarkably, most of the previews we've seen for the Finals have had the same ten teams in the top 10 table, but there have been a few changes of note, but nothing too significant. Seaherwet and Pucking Luck fell out of the top five, Tryst'n'Grant managed to pull up to tie for the lead and that's just about it. A little bit of shuffling, but nothing too significant. I'm beginning to wonder if we're really going to see a huge performance out of any of the unique players in the pool, get things shaken up a great deal.
I don't think this is going to be the most important and most difficult game of the Canucks' season, as they haven't had the greatest of difficulty in the year from the start until this series and now they're playing for all the marbles. It's definitely a time to test their real mettle as a team, as all 18 players on the ice will be responsible for the outcome of Game Five. The old adage in the playoffs is that a team isn't in trouble until they lose one at home and this really holds true for Vancouver tonight, as they have not shown a great team effort in Boston and losing Game Five could very well end the series and the Canucks' hope for a Cup victory. That being said, a win will at least give them a shot at trying to take one in Boston, but still having the chance for Game Seven at home, next Wednesday.