An entire season has come down to two teams, one game, on Cup. I don't think there is any better way to put it. The 82-game season pared down the league from 30 to 16 teams. The first three rounds took the playoffs from 16 to two teams. All of the games that have been played, including the six in the series leading up to Wednesday night, is all but a distant memory, as the Stanley Cup, its glory, its rings, its banner in the rafters, will only have echoes of the previous accomplishments, the history is here in one game.
You can kind of tell that this game has some meaning to the Sherpa himself, eh? Nevertheless, it's all true, for players on both sides, it doesn't matter how they got there, it's just the fact they are there now that counts.
Keeping the keys to Game Seven are going to be really simple, for the Bruins, it will be finding some offense in Vancouver.
The Bruins have scored two goals in three visits to Vancouver in this series and they both came in Game Two, which was lost in overtime. If Boston wants this game as bad as we all believe they do, they will have to show a good portion of the offense they have given the Canucks when they were at home in this series. The Bruins have offensive weapons through their line-up, not to mention a number of players that can chip in when the stakes are high, but the stigma of Rogers Arena has been something else on this team in three appearances.
Find the back of the net, the Stanley Cup may not be too far away.
Well, if the key to Game Seven for Boston is offense, what will the key for Vancouver possibly be? That's right, defense.
I've said it for a few previews now that the series really has come down to whichever defensive crew does better in each game, which could very well be broken down to the match-ups from game to game in this series. If Coach Vigneault can get the match-ups he wants, yet again, with last change at home, there is no reason why the Canucks should not step up and keep Game Seven as tight as the first three affairs in Vancouver. If one thing that the Canucks have done in most of their wins this season is prove that when their defense is making the responsible plays all night long, their offense will reward them with enough goals to get the win.
It will be hard work, but that's what the playoffs are about. Of course, if the Canucks' offense decides to show up, forget about this key to the game!
|309 points||-0 points||-15||-25||-27||-29||-30||-30||-31||-31|
|Daniel Sedin (1)||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|Henrik Sedin (2)||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|Ryan Kesler (3)||x|
|Kevin Bieksa (10)||x||x|
|Roberto Luongo (12)||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|Patrice Bergeron (13)||x|
|David Krejci (14)||x||x|
|Milan Lucic (15)||x|
|Nathan Horton (16)||x||x||x|
|Michael Ryder (18)||x||x||x|
|Brad Marchand (19)||x||x||x|
|Tomas Kaberle (20)||x||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|
Money can be handed out as soon as Thursday night. How exciting is that? I would say very. Let's have a quick peek at what each team needs here.
Tryst'n'Grant: Well, the game is simple... hope that the Langdon River Dogs don't score more than one more point than you in Game Seven. Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk versus David Krejci... it's just that simple. The difference between 1st and 2nd place...
Langdon River Dogs: See above.
All She Wrote: If the Bruins are going to go buck wild on the Canucks, it better be anchored by the defense, but 15 points to move up is ridiculously out of the question... 3rd place it is!
Granny Smith: 2 points up on 5th, 4 points up on 6th... Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci in tow... the Bruins would have to win pretty big without top end scoring for any loss in position here, improbable, but not impossible.
Hollywoods Heroes: Brad Marchand is the key player here... Marchand will keep the Heroes afloat, if the Bruins are to win here. A 2-point cushion should be safe, but you just never know.
There's your top five... but there are long shot possibilities for the teams outside to pick up some money, but I really don't see it happening, so there doesn't seem to be much need for a preview there.
On the injury front, Mason Raymond, the Canucks Box 6 forward, will not be able to go on Wednesday night, he suffered a vertebrae compression fracture in Game Six of the series and will now miss the entire Summer of preparation for 2012, not to mention Game Seven.