Stanley Cup Point-counterpoint: Boston vs. Vancouver

Tim Thomas.

Who will win the Stanley Cup? And why?

We’ve teamed up with our friends at Metro Vancouver to offer both sides of the debate over the finals.

The question’s simple: Who will raise Lord Stanley’s cup? And what will lift them to victory?

For the good guys, Metro Boston’s Mike Naughton says Tim Thomas will carry the Bruins once again.
But on the West Coast, Metro Vancouver’s Matt Kieltkya says the Canucks simply outclass the B’s.

Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Tell us in the comments below.

MICHAEL NAUGHTON
Metro Boston

Tim Thomas.

That’s why the Bruins will win their first Stanley Cup in 39 years.

This series will be tough; I’m not going to try and kid anyone. Vancouver has the incredible offensive prowess of brothers Henrik and Daniel Sedin, who racked up a combined 198 points during the regular season and have more points this postseason (37) than the Bruins’ top scorers, Nathan Horton and David Krejci (34).

The Bruins’ nearly nonexistent power play (5-for-61 this playoffs) is another slight advantage for the Canucks.

But as the Bruins shut down Tampa Bay in Game 7, the team showed it could perfectly execute Coach Claude Julien’s defense-first system. If the B’s are able to keep that up, they may just be able to contain the Canucks.

That system, along with Zdeno Chara’s freakish, born-to-poke-check wingspan and Dennis Seidenberg’s defensive skill, will negate at least some of Vancouver’s offensive prowess.

That’s why this series will come down to goaltending.

Just typing Roberto Luongo’s name makes me cringe in fear. There’s no denying he’s Thomas’ equal.
But there’s one big difference: Luongo has been pulled this postseason, while Thomas has been the backbone of the Bruins.

Thomas has waited a long time for this opportunity. Now there’s just one more milestone: Engraving his name – and the names of his teammates – on the Stanley Cup.

He’s not going to let this pass unfulfilled.

MATT KIELTKYA
Metro Vancouver

Styles make fights.

The expression is one of the absolute truths in the boxing world.

If you match up two opponents with just the right characteristics, there will be fireworks.

But even the slightest mismatch can render one of the fighters completely powerless and ineffective. Unfortunately for the Boston Bruins, they’re playing the worst team possible for the system they use.

If both goalies are at the top of their games, that category is a wash. The depth on both teams is comparable. The defensive lines are solid from the top down.

It will all come down to matchups and styles.

That’s where Vancouver simply outclasses the Bruins. As the rightful favorites heading into the series, the Western Conference and President’s Trophy champs are the most balanced team in the league.

The offensive punch of both Sedins and Ryan Kesler is backed up by tenacious checkers, reliable defensemen, stellar goaltending and solid special team.

It’s a combination the Bruins have yet to face.

Boston’s tendency to collapse in their own zone and give up weak goals has already nearly cost them against Montreal and Tampa Bay – two very one-dimensional teams.

It will be their undoing against the Canucks, who are every bit their match five-on-five but excel at virtually every other category.

Chara will, no doubt, be a thorn in the Sedins’ side all series, but the Canucks showed against Nashville they’re able to overcome an elite shutdown defenseman and a hot goalie with secondary scoring.

It’s not that the Bruins are a bad team.

It’s just that they’re stepping into the ring against a prime Vancouver team boasting a more evolved skillset and an insatiable thirst for glory.

The Bruins will come out swinging, but look for Vancouver to deliver the KO in the sixth game.



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