So close, yet so far. That’s what the Boston Bruins are
telling themselves after losing Game 1 with just 18.5 seconds remaining and
falling in Game 2 just 11 seconds into overtime. At home it needs to be
The Bruins find themselves in an 0-2 hole just as they
did in the first round of the playoffs and they are hoping that this Stanley
Cup final series goes the same way that one did, when they came back and
defeated the Montreal Canadiens in seven games.
The only problem? They aren’t facing the Canadiens. The
Vancouver Canucks led the NHL with 27 road wins and while the Bruins are
calling Game 3 a must-win, the Canucks are sitting pretty knowing that if they
can just steal one of the next two games, they’ll be within arm’s reach of
their first-ever Stanley Cup.
With that said, the NHL odds makers have decided that now
is the time for Boston and they opened at -120 favorites with the total sitting
Canucks Can Win Because…:
All the pressure is on Boston.
Use any analogy, cliché or excuse you want. The bottom
line is that the scoreboard says two for Vancouver and zero for Boston. Whether
the games have been close or not, whether the Bruins have done things right or
wrong, whether any facet of their game can improve or not, the bottom line is
that Boston is in a corner right now.
Vancouver was a great road team this season, finishing
with 27 road wins (27-14 true road record) while Boston was very pedestrian at
home. Boston was just 22-13-6 at home this year – or 22-19 to bettors – which
is a very mediocre record for a team that has come this far in the playoffs.
The theme has been the same throughout the series: Boston
can’t handle Vancouver’s speed. It might seem like such a minor advantage given
the margins of victory, but when you examine both of the game-winning goals; it
was the Canucks speed that paved the way to victory and as Craig Tattan
discusses it is taking its toll on legs of the Bruins.
The Canucks have won the first two games and they haven’t
even used their power play so much. While they cashed in eight times in their
final 20 man-advantages in the series against San Jose, they have just one goal
in eight opportunities against Boston. If they can get a boost from their
special teams, they’ll really put the heat on Boston in Game 3.
The Boston Bruins
Can Win Because…:
They have yet to play their best game.
Tim Thomas has been stellar for the Bruins in this series
– and all season long – but the Bruins have yet to play their best game as a
team. Some of their players came to life in Game 2 as David Krejci, Milan Lucic
and Michael Ryder played well, but the Bruins need more. Nathan Horton hasn’t
been a factor, neither have Patrice Bergeron or rookie Tyler Seguin. If
everyone can wake up and the Bruins can get a balanced effort up front, it
would likely take the heat off of their heavily-criticized blue line. Playing
in front of their home fans might light the fire.
Boston is down 0-2 in this series but there is no reason
to panic. So far, Vancouver has just held serve and as the cliché goes, it’s
not really a series until you win on the road. Neither team has done that and
Boston merely needs to protect home ice just as Vancouver did in Games 1 and 2.
The Bruins were stifled offensively in Game 1 but they
found some chinks in the armor in Game 2. Now they need to find a way to get at
least two or three more goals in Game 3 and get on the board in the Cup finals.
Outlook & NHL
The Bruins are down 0-2 in the Stanley Cup finals for a
fifth straight time. They are 0-7 all-time when trailing 0-2 in the finals. Overall,
they have just one series win in their last 28 tries when down 0-2 and that
came in the first round against Montreal.
The truth of the matter here is that Vancouver is the better
team. Boston was merely 33-25 against teams with a winning record this year
while Vancouver was 44-19. The Canucks were a better road team than Boston was
Even so, if the Bruins are ever going to get a win in
this series, it’s going to be in Game 3. This is going to be their best punch
and while the Canucks are more than capable of taking it, the Bruins will find
a way to get on the board at home. CanuckG even goes against his namesake and likes the value on the Bruins tonight, he and others discuss this play in the hockey forum.