Archive for June 8th, 2011

June 8, 2011

5 reasons why the Bruins will beat the Canucks in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals

Stanley Cup 2011 finals After losing 8-1 in Game 3, the Canucks are in trouble in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals. Game 4 is going to be more physical and the pressure is building on Vancouver after another anemic performance. All of that means this series that seemed won on Saturday night could be lost. Here’s why.

1. The Legend of Tim Thomas. If Ben Affleck is going to make another movie about the tough Boston streets, he might want to cast the Bruins’ goalie in a lead role. Thomas is Southie wicked and lived up to his nickname, Tank, on Monday night when he bowled over Henrik Sedin about seven minutes into the third period. That hit got laughed away too quickly. What it does is reinforce the Canucks’ stereotype as a team with skilled players who can be pushed around while also elevating Thomas’s stature even more inside and out of the Bruins’ locker room.

Only once in the past 39 years has a team come back from 0-2 down in a Stanley Cup Finals series to win it all (Pittsburgh did it in 2009 vs. Detroit). Like Affleck’s “The Town,” the Bruins are poised to pull a heist and it’s thanks to the guy in the mask.

When he’s off, Thomas looks like a blind man trying to barbecue. When he’s on, he’s the most entertaining thing the NHL has going for it. In Game 3, he tracked the puck like a cat does prey and gobbled up all but one of Vancouver’s 41 shots in the stunning 8-1 win that turned this series around.

After Aaron Rome’s illegal hit sent the Bruins’ Nathan Horton to the hospital, Boston failed on a five-minute power play and the Canucks had the chance to seize the momentum — and the title. Instead, Thomas stonewalled them and the Bruins’ bevy of goals in the second and third periods had to have shaken more than Roberto Luongo’s respect for his coach and teammates.

The Canucks have turtled before — losing 7-2 and 5-0 to the Blackhawks in the first round of this year’s playoffs after taking a 3-0 series lead — and are dealing with the adversity off this latest shellacking. Expect Vancouver to come out with cross-ice passes to get Thomas moving from side to side and for Alexandre Burrows to cause havoc in front of the net. The Canucks aren’t likely to get Thomas off his game, though. As with any hot goalie, they have to hope he gets out of the zone he’s in.

2. Alexander Edler Exposed. You find a weak spot and you hammer at it. The Bruins found that in the sloppy, jittery play of Edler, who was minus-4 on the night in Game 3. Worse for the Canucks, with Aaron Rome suspended and the injured Dan Hamhuis probably out for Game 4 and possibly longer, Edler is going to have to play more minutes. You can be sure the Bruins will forecheck him hard, hoping to cause turnovers, and to be ready to pounce when he pinches again.

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