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PHT Predicts: Who will win the Stanley Cup?

Jun 1, 2011, 1:50 PM EDT

Stanley Cup Media Day Getty Images

You’ve waited for far long enough for the Stanley Cup finals to start and tonight at 8 p.m. ET on NBC Game 1 will drop the puck in Vancouver. Finally we’ll see Tim Thomas and Roberto Luongo square off in a Vezina Trophy-worthy battle in goal while Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, and Ryan Kesler get to square off with Zdeno Chara, Nathan Horton, and Vancouver boy Milan Lucic.

You know the matchups by now, but you don’t know how we here at PHT are picking things to go down. Buckle in as we give it to you as straight as we can. Remember, back when the playoffs began we picked the Vancouver Canucks to win it all over the Washington Capitals. Will we stick to our guns or jump on the Bruins bandwagon? All will be revealed.

Matt Reitz says:

The Canucks look like they’re getting better with every passing round.  Once they were able to get past their personal nemesis from Chicago, they’ve gone 8-3 and looked every bit like the team that won 54 games and earned 117 points.  For people who think special teams are a big deal in the playoffs, try this on for size: the Canucks had the best power play in the regular season and have continued the strong play into the playoffs.  On the other hand, the Bruins have a PK that looked like they couldn’t stop a bantam team in the Conference Finals.

Tim Thomas is the kind of goaltender who can steal a couple of games and Patrice Bergeron has been one of the most impressive players in the playoffs, but the Canucks just have too much depth.  They have more defensemen who can play big time minutes, more forwards who can score, more forwards who can shutdown opponents, just more of everything.

Canucks in 6.

James O’Brien says:

The Bruins showed a lot of moxie to get this far. They fought off tough starts in their first and third round series but managed narrow victories against the Canadiens and Lightning in Game 7 showdowns. Boston also shook off a serious 2010 demon in the form of the Philadelphia Flyers, sweeping one of the most powerful (if uneven) teams in the Eastern Conference.

That being said, their defense was exposed regularly by the Lightning’s talented forwards and their power play has been bad enough to become a running joke all around the Internet. The Canucks stumbled here and there, but they were the most complete squad in the NHL in 2010-11. Their offense is explosive and aggressive, their deep defense can provide plenty of offense and Roberto Luongo remains one of the best goalies in the league.

Tim Thomas has been so brilliant, it’s reasonable to imagine him stealing a game or two, especially if the Canucks give in to Boston’s likely urge to play this one close to the vest. While the Sedin twins + Alex Burrows line is one of the best in hockey and Ryan Kesler might rank as the best two-way forward in the game, the Bruins have a nice top line of Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton and an impressive Kesler facsimile (minus the snarl) in Patrice Bergeron.

I could see the Bruins putting up a solid fight, but I could also see the Canucks blowing them out of the water. What I cannot see is a Bruins championship in 2011, though.

Vancouver wins it in 5.

Joe Yerdon says:

Boston’s looked impressive at times through their playoff run while Vancouver has gotten better as the playoffs have gone on. Boston’s resilience against both Montreal and Tampa Bay are a credit to their team but they haven’t faced a team like Vancouver yet in these playoffs. Boston’s playing tough and hard hockey but the Canucks are like a Voltron-type of team that’s the best parts of all the teams they’ve faced and a little bit extra on top of it all. Vancouver can score, they’ve got tremendous depth at all positions, and they’re tough both physically and mentally. Throw in their ability to delve into theatrics when needed to get the heel-like edge and you’ve got yourself a series in which the Bruins have to play absolutely perfect in four games to have a shot at winning the Stanley Cup. I don’t like those odds.

If the Bruins can contain the Sedins, then there’s Ryan Kesler to deal with. If they can’t contain the Sedins, they’ve got much bigger problems on their hands. Asking Tim Thomas to be out-of-his-mind good for a long series might be tough. Boston’s going to have to find ways to get Luongo off his game and while that’s entirely possible, the Luongo we’ve seen since after the Chicago series has been beyond solid. The Bruins defense is going to need to be nearly flawless to win this series and I fear that the Canucks speed is going to catch up to them.

Vancouver wins in 6.

  1. savoirlaire - Jun 1, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    All logical, well-reasoned points made by Matt, James and Joe. But you ignore the emotional component, the x factor…B’s in 7.

  2. sknut - Jun 1, 2011 at 3:33 PM

    I really want the B’s to win, but the Canuckleheads are very good and deep. I think it will be an outstanding serious that should last 6 or 7 games.

  3. hystoracle - Jun 1, 2011 at 4:05 PM

    If there aren’t many penalties called it will make it much harder for Vancouver. They have been able to use the Power play to their advantage. Special teams are an area they have a distinct advantage over the Bruins. They appear even in goal. Vancouver has an edge at forward as far as scoring. Boston has the edge in Defensemen. (If Chara gets hurt look out.) Also, Vancouver having home ice will be big because they will be able to get the Sedins out in favorable match-ups at home. I would go with Vancouver in either 5 or 7. I see them closing out the series at home.

  4. homelanddefense - Jun 1, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    First let me say Im a Bruins fan who is picking the Canucks to win.

    That being said Ive noticed a lot of biased opinions on this site recently, and some more comments that were incorrect.

    “the Bruins PK looks like it couldnt stop a bantem team in the conference finals”

    That pretty amazing considering they only have up 5 PP goals in 7 games against TB’s great powerplay, Granted TB went 5/20 on the PP for 75%. But 3 of those goals were in 1 game where they went 3/4. Take that game out and they were 2/15 (13%) on the series. You basically took the story of 1 game and made it look like it spoke about the whole series.

  5. nhlbruins90 - Jun 1, 2011 at 6:01 PM

    Currently dodging a tornado here in Boston, but that’s a good omen. By the time the B’s leave Vancouver, the Canucks will feel like a tornado hit them. B’s in 6.

  6. stakex - Jun 1, 2011 at 6:03 PM

    Luongo is a choke… hes always been a choke. He looks like a super star in the regular season, but simply has no ability to finsih the job in the playoffs. If not for him, the Canucks probably would have won the cup at least once over the last few years. So its very hard to say the Canucks will win IMO.

    With that said, the Canucks offense has carried them this far (with the help of an awful lot of favorable penelty calls I might add), and its not at all impossible to think they could carry them to the cup as well, despite having Luongo in goal. If however Bostons defense can tighten up, the refs don’t call a lot of penelties (expect the calls to favor Vancouver… the NHL wants a Canadian team to win, especially with a new Canadian team on the horizon), and Thomas is on his game… I think Boston takes it.

    My Prediction: The NHL wants Vancouver to win… expect the penelty calls to reflect that, and kill any chance Boston has. Vancouver in 6.

  7. polegojim - Jun 1, 2011 at 6:11 PM

    Canucks in 6. It will be tight, but Vancouver just has too much firepower.

  8. bradsteam - Jun 1, 2011 at 7:15 PM

    I love the fact we have Vancouver, a team that has gone through much misery and failure in its 40 year history and just two previous trips to the final, going up against an “original 6” Boston team that hasn’t won the cup since Team Canada won this historic ’72 Summit Series against the USSR or been to a final since ’90. Should make for a very interesting storyline and I hope the US audience tunes in to NBC to catch this series, because their going to see one of the most balanced and exciting teams in recent memory hoisting the Stanley Cup… Canucks in Five (and that’s only because Timmy Thomas will steal a game!). It is Vancouver’s time and their destiny, this year at least.

  9. homelanddefense - Jun 2, 2011 at 10:21 AM

    I guess the Bruins PK can stop a Bantem team

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