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What’s the match-up that will help decide Game 7?

Jun 15, 2011, 10:56 AM EST

Boston Bruins v Vancouver Canucks - Game Five Getty Images

The waiting is over and it’s the day of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. Tonight in Vancouver, heroes will be made and hearts will be broken. Champagne will be poured and tears of joy and sadness will both be shed. Tonight’s Game 7 obviously comes with tons of possibilities for how things will shake out, but there’s one match-up in particular that we’ll be drawn to watching tonight because it’s very likely that how both sides handle things will decide who gets to skate around with the Stanley Cup.

With Vancouver being at home and getting last change, the chances that we’ll see the Bruins be able to get their top defensive pairing of Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg out against the line of Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, and Alex Burrows are minimal. While those two will still get their time against them when coach Claude Julien can work things with a quick line change, we’re more than likely going to see the pairing of Andrew Ference and Johnny Boychuk get the opportunity to be stoppers against the Sedin line.

While the Sedins haven’t had tremendous good fortune in getting points during the finals (Daniel has a goal and three assists while Henrik has just one goal) the bulk of their great scoring chances have come at home as coach Alain Vigneault has been able to get them out on the ice away from the top pair of Chara and Seidenberg. Daniel played huge in Game 2 along with Alex Burrows as those two conspired together to virtually beat the Bruins on their own as Burrows scored two goals and assisted on Daniel’s goal.

The kinds of play we’ve seen from the Sedins at home is more what we’re accustomed to from them. They’ve been able to establish their cycle, create chances offensively, and sustain pressure in Boston’s end. That kind of play will be needed tonight and while Tim Thomas has been brilliant all series and more than likely headed towards a Conn Smythe Trophy award win or lose tonight, that sort of pressure can break any goalie. So far in the finals we’ve yet to see Thomas have a bad game at all.

We’re not saying he’s due for one, mind you, but after his shaky play against Tampa Bay that saw him twice give up five goals in Florida getting the right match-ups against the top offensive talent is a big deal and it’s one of the reasons why this series has played out the way it has. Tonight, those defensive pairings and how they’re utilized will make all the difference between who goes home smiling and who goes home crying.

  1. warpstonebc - Jun 15, 2011 at 11:39 AM

    Boychuk and Ference vs Kesler’s line. If Boychuk gets tagged and scared like he did in game 1+2, Kesler must finally get on the scoresheet.

  2. govtminion - Jun 15, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    Same as ever, Sedins v. Chara/Seidenberg. If the twins finally start playing like we know they’re capable of, they could blow it open. If not, they’re back to relying on their third-line guys and Luongo to carry them- it’s worked three times now for them, but even the most ardent Canucks fan would have to admit that this would be a lot less stressful if the big guns were firing as well.

    On the other side, perhaps even bigger, Luongo v. Luongo. If he can again find a way to put a road stinker behind him and focus, it’s his game to lose. If he gets rattled by an early goal… well, it’s definitely his game to lose, then.

  3. nhlbruins90 - Jun 15, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    Each game in Vancouver was lost by one goal. Boston could have won any of them. Thomas will give up his one goal tonight. All that matters is that the B’s score two.

    This is the most important game of Lucic’s career, period. His career will be defined tonight. Not too many times you can say that about a player, but in this case it’s true. If he rises to the occasion and produces, we will win. If the pressure gets to him and he chokes, we may well lose (if Luongo doesn’t melt).

    If he chokes, he’s our newest Jumbo Joe. He’ll be gone within a few years. We loved Joe too. A great guy, but he couldn’t get it done when it counted. If he plays the game of his life tonight, well … he’s our newest Garden legend. He’ll walk on water for awhile here. He’ll always have a home here too.

    Here’s hoping he has the game of his life tonight.

    • cannonblast14 - Jun 15, 2011 at 5:41 PM

      I agree on Lucic. He needs to step up and be the big man he is

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