By Brian Monzo
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17 years ago yesterday, the Vancouver Canucks found themselves in a Stanley Cup Finals Game 7. The opponent was, as most of us remember fondly, the Rangers.
Wednesday night, 17 years and one day later, the Canucks find themselves in the same exact position. The opponent is another Original Six team, the Boston Bruins.
Funny how these things work out. As we head towards Game 7 tonight and reflect on the series, I don't think the results -- just based on wins and losses -- are overall that surprising. Sure, the scores may have been. But, the general feel was the home team would win games in this series. Six games, six home wins.
Could that change tonight?
I have to stick by my original pick. I took the Canucks in 7, and my gut tells me they'll get it done. Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo has been good at home and brutal on the road. Bruins goalie Tim Thomas has been great everywhere he has played. Going into Game 7, there is no momentum. That goes to the team that throws their body around first.
I hope my gut is wrong, because my heart (for this series) is with the Bruins.
I love the history with the Original Six. I love their style of play. Most importantly, I love the idea that the Stanley Cup could be kept away from a Canadian team for 18 full seasons. Not since 1992-93, when the Habs beat the Kings, has a team in Canada won the Cup. Being someone who pulls for a team in New York, and roots very hard against a team in Montreal, I like keeping the Cup in the United States.
Getting back to the game...
With all the people jaded enough to watch the NBA Finals (and criticize Lebron James for his disappointing performance), if those people were watching the Cup Finals, they would notice a set of premier superstars who have no-showed for a championship round: Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
The twins have been as bad as it gets for the Canucks. Their heart and soul center, Ryan Kesler (who I believe is playing hurt) hasn't been great in the Finals. For a Game 7 win, this will have to change. The loss of Mason Raymond, down with a broken vertebrae, will be tough in a one-game series.
The Bruins have played well in all six games. They don't need to change a thing. Youngster Brad Marchand has scored 9 playoff goals for the Bruins. Milan Lucic, Rich Peverley and Patrice Bergeron have all been very good. Minus Tomas Kaberle, the entire Bruins defense is getting it done. If anything, playing in Vancouver, I would try to get Zdeno Chara more involved offensively. They've only score two goals in three road games. Not going to cut it tonight.
This game will come down to goal tending. As much as I've said Luongo is overrated, he is due for a big output tonight. Thomas won't make Bruins fans worry. He has made a believer out of me. Luongo, coming off a game in which he was pulled in the first period, will be looking for blood -- and his chance to raise Lord Stanley's Cup.
Prediction: Canucks 2 Bruins 1. Canucks win the Stanley Cup.
I hope I am wrong.
Follow me on Twitter: BMonzoNHL660
What's your prediction for Game 7? Let Monzo know in the comments below...
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