I'm guessing there are very few analysts who, deep down, think the Bruins have a shot against the Canucks, especially if Manny Malhotra is indeed back and (relatively) healthy when the finals start on Wednesday.
Vancouver has the league's top goalie in Luongo, a deep and talented defense and everything you need to rotate four lines successfully up front.
They are well-coached and the city is, by all accounts, way past ready for a Stanley Cup.
Yes, the Bruins have the never-say-die Tim Thomas in goal and two stud defensemen in Chara and Seidenberg, but less depth on the blueline than have the Canucks. If I'm a Bruin fan, I'm concerned that those two guys will have little left if the final goes any length of time, because they are playing long, hard minutes every night.
Can the bruins power play suddenly become proficient? Not likely. Vancouver should win the special teams battle and even if the Bruins managed to play fairly even five-onfive, well, there are just too many things that would have to go their way.
Despite their scuccess this spring, to me they remain a fragile team. Even if they have a lead in a game, or a series, you never feel comfortable. I realize the same can be said for Vancouver in light of their series against Chicago, but they feel like a team on a mission right now.
I'm not into predictions, so this is hardly a prediction. Just an observation that as much as I admire what the Bruins have accomplished, the Canucks are the Canucks. They have emerged from the tougher (in my mind) and better Conference as champions.
Would you be surprised if it went more than 5 games?
We're sort of in a prolonged lull here in terms of news, what with the finals not starting until the middle of the week.
So, if you're just looking for casual reading on a beautfiul (hopefully) and relaxing Sunday, here are links to earlier stories here that may be of interest:
-a great series involving the Leafs from 1971
-with the Canucks in the finals, a piece on one-time Canuck goaltender Cesare Maniago
-both the Bruins and Canucks would like a guy with Eddie Litzenberger's winning history on their side right now...
-Bobby Pulford's big overtime winner in Game 3 of the '67 finals against Montreal
-In February of 2010, I was wondering what the Leafs should do with Kaberle
-Bobby Baun's 1964 playoff heroics
-10 reasons why Leaf fans can feel either encouraged or discouraged heading into next season
-My NHL "all nice-guy" team