NHL Playoff Betting – Bruins vs Canucks Stanley Cup Finals Series Preview & Pick
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Stanley Cup Finals Series Schedule:
Game one: Wed., June 1st: Boston at Vancouver, 8pm ET (NBC, CBC, RDS)
Game two: Sat., June 4th: Boston at Vancouver, 8pm ET (NBC, CBC, RDS)
Game three: Mon., June 6th: Vancouver at Boston, 8pm ET (Versus, CBC, RDS)
Game four: Wed., June 8th: Vancouver at Boston, 8pm ET (Versus, CBC, RDS)
Game five: Fri., June 10th: Boston at Vancouver, 8pm ET (NBC, CBC, RDS)
Game six: Mon., June 13th: Vancouver at Boston, 8pm ET (NBC, CBC, RDS)
Game seven: Wed., June 15th: Boston at Vancouver, 8pm ET (NBC, CBC, RDS)
#1 CANUCKS (54-19-9) VS. #3 BRUINS (46-25-11)
Odds to Win the Stanley Cup: Boston +170: Vancouver -200
Well, there is just one more series to go before all of you hockey freaks can start complaining of withdrawal. And don’t worry folks; there is no threat of a lockout looming!
The Boston Bruins (103 points during the Regular Season) take on the Vancouver Canucks (117 points during the Regular Season) for hockey’s Hold Grail starting on Wednesday night. It is a matchup of the Stanley Cup drought – for the Canucks, they haven’t won the Cup in their 40 year history and for the Bruins they haven’t hoisted the Cup in 39 long long years.
Let’s start with a breakdown of the offenses on the opposing teams. For the Canucks, the Sedins have been superb all season and after a less than scintillating second round, they woke up and produced against San Jose, highlighted by Henrik Sedin’s 12 points in the five games. Vancouver’s best offensive players are leading the way – Henrik Sedin has two goals, 19 assists (21 points), Ryan Kesler has seven goals, 11 assists (18 points), Daniel Sedin has eight goals, eight assists (16 points) and Alex Burrows has seven goals, seven assists (14 points) in the playoffs so far. Vancouver’s defensive corp. has also been very good in the offensive end and is scoring at an incredible rate. The Canucks have been able to roll four lines effectively in the playoffs and I expect it to continue.
Boston has been Hot and Cold in the offensive zone during these playoffs but like the Canucks, they enter the series with their best players acting like their best players. David Krejci has 10 goals, seven assists (17 points), Nathan Horton has eight goals, nine assists (17 points), Patrice Bergeron has four goals, 11 assists (15 points), Brad Marchand has six goals, six assists (12 points) and Michael Ryder has five goals, six assists (11 points) so far this post season. This group will have a marked size advantage over the Canucks – the only real tangible difference between the two sides.
The defensive edge has to go to Vancouver in this series. Much has been made about their depth this season and more has been made of it in this year’s playoffs. Vancouver has used nine different d-men so far and hasn’t missed a beat. They are great in their own zone and are dangerous offensively. However, the Bruins do have the benefit of perhaps the most dominating physical presence in the NHL – Zdeno Chara. He and Dennis Seidenberg have been arguably the best shut-down defensive pair in the playoffs so far.
Goaltending will perhaps be the most intriguing battle in the Final this year with the two best going head to head. Roberto Luongo and Tim Thomas matched each other all season long – a battle that has continued in the postseason. Need proof of how close these two competitors are? Tim Thomas has a 2.29 GAA, 0.929 save percentage, 12 wins and two shutouts in the playoffs so far. Roberto Luongo has a 2.29 GAA, 0.929 save percentage, 12 wins and two shutouts in the post season – scary!
Betting Prediction: With these teams being so close on so many fronts, the series will likely come down to intangibles. Home ice advantage is one and the Power Play is another. Vancouver is 17-for-60 (28.3 per cent – 3rd in NHL) so far in the playoffs while Boston is an absolutely miserable 5-for-61 (8.2 percent – 14th in NHL).
Boston will have the size and strength advantage and they do have the best goaltender in the NHL for the 2010-2011 season but Vancouver will have the speed advantage and will likely get an incredible emotional lift from a healthy Manny Malhotra who was rumored to have sustained a career-ending injury.
Boston is a great team and beat Vancouver in Vancouver in their only meeting of the season. But that victory happened with Kevin Bieksa and Alex Edler in the press box and with Sami Salo playing his first game of the season after sitting out the first 2/3 of the season with injury. Vancouver is healthy, they are confident and appear destined to hoist their first Cup in franchise history. Get ready Vancouver, it should be quite a party!
Pick: Vancouver Canucks -200 in six games