The NBA Finals ended Sunday, as the Dallas Mavericks finished off the Miami Heat in six games to claim the title. Meanwhile, the Vancouver Canucks could follow in Dallas’ footsteps Monday. If the Canucks win their game six matchup with the Boston Bruins, they will win the first Stanley Cup in franchise history. This is one of the biggest games in this franchises history, though it is of no small importance to the Bruins either. After all, they’ll be hoping to force a game seven by winning this game at home.
In Boston’s favor, aside from being at home, is the fact they have the eventual winner of the Vezina and Conn Smythe trophies minding their net in Tim Thomas. If he doesn’t win the Conn Smythe I’ll be stunned, as nobody else has been as valuable as him. He’s been outstanding in net all postseason, posting a .937 save percentage thus far. It’s quite likely he’ll be strong again in game six, as he has been all series long. The only games the Canucks have won have been contests in which Roberto Luongo was also playing well and in which Vancouver’s goal prevention was just a bit better. Probably not coincidentally, the two times Boston won Luongo played poorly.
That’s not to say this game will come down solely to how well Luongo plays. He could play well and end up on the wrong side of a 1-0 game for once. Vancouver’s offense needs to score, after all, and they’ve gotten pretty much nothing out of either Sedin or Ryan Kesler so far in this series. Now would be a good time for one of them to step up. Guys like Raffi Torres and Maxim Lapierre have done their part for the Canucks, but if your best offensive players aren’t scoring, it’s more difficult to win.
Discipline could play a part in this game as well. Game five was not the penalty filled mess games three and four were, but both teams still got their power play chances, and both teams failed to capitalize. Will that continue? While the Bruins have struggled all postseason with their power play, that hasn’t been the case for the Canucks. If Boston starts taking too many penalties, even with Thomas in net it could spell trouble.
So far, the home team has won every game. Will that be the case once more in game six? With how well Thomas has played, they certainly have more than a decent chance of forcing a game seven. I, for one, will be rooting for such an occurrence. I don’t care who wins the Stanley Cup. I just want to see a game seven. I just want to see more hockey. If you aren’t rooting for Vancouver, I imagine we’re in the same boat. Game six is at 8:00 PM Eastern on NBC. It may be the last NHL game of the season. As such, I strongly encourage you to watch it. Enjoy.