The Stanley Cup Final kicks off tonight in Vancouver and we’re throwing down our predictions on who’ll take home the mug. Seeing as we’ve got six prognosticators with four different potential outcomes, we’re sure to be 100% accurate in some regard, probably.
Will it be a quick series or will the Bruins and Canucks pile up Aeroplan® points like a Kardashian? Vancouver! Boston! Stanley Cup Final! Predictions!
Let’s see who our panel of expert geniuses are labeling the favourite:
Scott Lewis: Vancouver in four games.
I’ll probably regret going with the Canucks in a sweep, but I’ve seen enough from them to be convinced that they’re far and away the better team. They have the edge in depth up front and on the back end. Tim Thomas might give the Bruins a slight edge in goal, but he can’t afford to have a bad night or two in this series if Boston expects to win at all. The Canucks rebounded nicely from a near collapse versus Chicago in the first round, and they’ve hardly looked back since that early adversity.
The Canucks can make their opponents look like an AHL club on the right night, and right now they’re moving the puck with such precision that they actually make the ice look bigger. I won’t be surprised if the Bruins take a game or two, but my (Monopoly) money’s on a Canucks’ sweep.
Jonathan Willis: Vancouver in five games.
Vancouver deserves the nod on the basis of their dominant regular season showing in the league’s toughest conference. They’re better at scoring goals, better at preventing goals, and have better special teams than the Bruins. They also do a better job of keeping the puck in the offensive end of the rink. In the conference finals, Vancouver shrugged off a powerful Sharks team with minimal effort, while the Bruins were taken to the limit by an overachieving Lightning squad.
Rick Moldovanyi: Vancouver in six games.
The Bruins will provide more resistance to the Canucks than people think, but it won’t be enough. Vancouver is simply too powerful at pretty much every position to lose this series. Tim Thomas will need to be outstanding in order for Boston to prevail – and he probably will be in two or three games – but Vancouver will ultimately win. Really, at this point, only injuries or a complete collapse can stop the Canucks.
Kent Wilson: Vancouver in six games.
The Canucks are the more complete club from top to bottom. The Bruins have one of the best two-way centers in the game in Patrice Bergeron, but the Canucks have Kesler AND the Sedins. No one on the Bruins matches the firepower of the twins and their depth beyond their top-six is pretty thin. Vancouver will get an extra bump in this regard if Malhotra returns to action as well.
Tim Thomas might be the slightly better goalie, but Luongo isn’t too far off. Unless Thomas pulls a Halak vs the Capitals, the Canucks win this one in six or less.
Sean Tomlinson: Vancouver in six games.
Only the most bold prognosticators in our business consistently forecast six games for a series. It’s like playing rock/paper/scissors, and going rock every time. It just feels right after a while, even though you’re demonstrating the risk tolerance of a grandmother playing the stock market.
Similar to Boston’s series against Montreal, or Vancouver’s defeat of Nashville, the two goaltenders should nearly cancel each other out here, with one maintaining a slight advantage. Both Roberto Luongo and Tim Thomas have been brilliant at times, while also showing that they’re prone to brief flashes of poor judgement and/or reflexes. The edge in goaltending right now belongs to Luongo (and I’ll stress the word “edge” there), but this series comes down to which defence will bend without breaking.
Both bluelines just prevailed over highly talented offences, but Vancouver’s suffocation of San Jose’s secondary scoring was far more convincing. In the final two games of the San Jose series the Sharks incredibly outshot Vancouver 91-47, yet despite that wide margin there were few quality chances, and the Canucks allowed only four goals. The likes of Kevin Bieksa and Dan Hamhuis held five of San Jose’s top scorers (Joe Pavelski, Dany Heatley, Logan Couture, Ryane Clowe, and Devin Setoguchi) to a combined 10 points.
Scott Herkes: Boston in six games.
I’ve got Boston over Vancouver. From the net out, Boston seems to have the upper hand. I see Tim Thomas doing one better than Roberto Luongo, Vancouver has the stronger/deeper defence in my opinion but it’s only as good as the goalie behind them, and I even see Claude Julien out coaching Alain Vigneault. I think the role players for both teams will do what they’re supposed to do and will be evenly matched. I think the difference maker in this series will be the top 6 on either side and who decides to show up. When you look at Vancouver, they typically only go with 3 lines. If this series goes far, you’d have to think the Canucks will run out of gas. But what do I know?