The Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks have little in common but one piece of history they do share is that last time the two teams managed to make the Stanley Cup Finals, they were both ousted by a team Captained by Mark Messier. For the Bruins it came in 1990, when Messier and the Edmonton Oilers defeated Boston in four games. Just four years later the Canucks suffered the same fate, coming up just short, falling to Messier and the New York Rangers in seven games.
Much to the delight of both teams, Messier has long since retired and now they are set to square off against one another this week, to determine who will be crowned as NHL champion. Both of these franchises have been waiting to win the cup for close to 40 years. It’s also the first time since 2007 that a Canadian team will square off against a team from the states.
The Canucks are making their third trip to the finals, after coming up short on their two previous opportunities. They lost in 1982, when they tried to get in the way of a dynasty the New York Islanders were building and then they were no match in 1994 for the aforementioned team of destiny.
For the Bruins it has been a long time since Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito paraded the cup around the city, 39 years to be precise and although they have been close a few times since, the end result has always been the same for Beantown.
But now they both look to erase the past and end their city’s dry spell. The Canucks certainly have more scoring ability than the Bruins. They have more weapons on the offensive side of the puck and it gives them the ability to score with frequency. Though the Canucks have the firepower, the Bruins have the nod defensively as they’ve long been a team built around solid defense. As for netminders, their numbers a very similar so it is safe to say it is a wash.
So to be honest it could go either way and it just depends which team shows up with more energy and tenacity, despite the fact the odd makers have the Canucks heavily favored.
If you are wondering who to keep an eye on throughout the series, the Canucks’ Ryan Kesler is certainly one of those players. Kesler is a leader and is an excellent two-way player. He is considered by many to be the favorite to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, which is given to the top performer of the playoffs.
For the Bruins, Patrice Bergeron has been a key to their success all season. He suffered a concussion and missed the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals but seems to be fine now. When he goes, so go the Bruins.
No matter what the outcome, it should be one of the more entertaining and hard fought finals of recent memory and we are sticking with our preseason predication to win it all.
Bruins in 7.
The series starts off in Vancouver for game one, Thursday at 8 p.m. on Versus.
Photo Courtesy of: ASSOCIATED PRESS