Monday, May 30, 2011

Stanley Cup Finals Preview

Time to take a look at the View's Conference Finals picks and look ahead to the Stanley Cup Finals. First, a look back at the Conference Finals picks:

Western Conference

The Pick:     Vancouver in 7

The Reality:  Vancouver in 5

The Canucks proved to be too much for the Sharks as their offensive firepower overwhelmed Antii Niemi and the San Jose defense. The re-emergence of the Sedin twins in this series provided the offensive spark that the Canucks needed to dominate the Sharks. It is amazing the number of injuries that the Sharks disclosed after this series was over, nevertheless, the Canucks were not going to be stopped in this series. The Canucks were especially impressive with their forecheck and dominated play in the neutral zone, thwarting the offensive rush of the Sharks. This was by far and away the most dominating series that the Canucks have played in their playoff run.

Eastern Conference

The Pick:     Boston in 7

The Reality: Boston in 7

By far and away, this was the more interesting of the two series. Both teams were like heavyweight fighters trading punches throughout the seven games. The Bruins rode goaltender Tim Thomas to the victory, and he was outstanding, especially in game 7 with the shutout. The Bruins took advantage of opportunistic scoring throughout their line up and were constantly pressuring Tampa netminder Dwayne Roloson. In fact, Roloson was pulled in favor of back up Mike Smith for game 6, which will leave Tampa coach Guy Boucher open to second guessing in the off season.

And now on to the preview of the Stanley Cup finals.

This match up should be interesting. The challenge for the Bruins defense will be containing the explosive offense of the Canucks. The strength of the Canucks is the scoring threats through out their line up, and while Zdeno Chara will most assuredly be on the ice with the Sedins, it will be imperative that the Bruins defense keep the likes of Ryan Kessler, Mason Raymond, and the rest of the Canucks forwards in check. Tim Thomas will have to be at the top of his game to keep the Bruins in the series. For the B's, they are going to have to pressure Roberto Loungo and get a lot of pucks on net. Until Luongo wins the big prize, there will always be questions about his fragility in net. If the Bruins can get early goals and make the Canucks play from behind, this could be an interesting series. It is going to be necessary for the Bruins to at least split the first two games in Vancouver to have a chance in this series. Fail to do so, and this one could be over quickly. I think the Bruins will present a stiff challenge to the Canucks, but in the end, the offensive firepower of the Vancouver squad will prevail.

My Pick:    Vancouver in 6

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