It’s safe to say the Vancouver Canucks are disappointed with how the two games in Boston went. They headed into game three with a 2-0 lead in the series, and proceeded to get beaten soundly twice by the Bruins, leaving the series tied at two games apiece. Tim Thomas has been great for the Bruins, while Roberto Luongo has struggled a bit for the Canucks. Vancouver has issues on defense, with Aaron Rome suspended and Dan Hamhuis hurt. Of course, the Bruins have their own issues, with Nathan Horton out as well. So, now that the series is back in Vancouver for game five, how are things looking?
Well, for starters despite being pulled in game four, Luongo will be back in net for the Canucks in game five. I am not at all surprised by this, and this is the decision that should have been made. This wasn’t quite a Dwayne Roloson and Mike Smith situation. In that case, you had one good goalie in Roloson, and one not good goalie in Smith. Cory Schneider is a good goalie, and his numbers in limited action this series have actually been better than Luongo’s. However, the sample size on Luongo is much larger, and he’s proven himself to be a great goaltender. He’s a Vezina finalist this season, and even with a few off games he has a .916 save percentage in the postseason. Aside from those bad games, he’s been great. Granted, you can’t simply set those aside, but it isn’t like he’s struggled game in and game out.
The issue is that Thomas has been so stellar, the Canucks can’t really afford to falter at all. While the Canucks may have gotten outscored 12-1 in Boston, they outshot the Bruins 79 to 67. It’s just that Thomas has been outstanding. As such, they either have to hope Thomas has an off night, or they need to win low scoring games like they did in games one and two. Given how this season has gone, I wouldn’t feel comfortable betting on an off night for Thomas. Unless the Canucks start doing better in goal prevention on their own end, the Bruins will wind up hoisting the Cup.
This series has also become quite the penalty filled affair. There have been several skirmishes, and the discipline level hasn’t been high for either team. If one of the teams can take advantage of that, they could get the edge in the series. Vancouver has the better power play, but they haven’t capitalized on it the past two games. If they get things on track back at home, they could take control of this series again.
The home team has won every game in this series so far. Will that continue in game five? The Canucks will be able to control the matchups, which helps them. However, they don’t get to control who is in net for the Bruins. I expect Luongo to bounce back, but will that be enough? Can Vancouver solve Thomas? The series won’t end after game five, but winning it will put either team one victory away from the Stanley Cup. I expect another intense, hard fought game between these two teams. It all begins at 8:00 PM Eastern on NBC. Tune in and enjoy.