Tonight the Vancouver Canucks return to the TD Garden in Boston. In games three and four they were embarrassed by the Bruins by a combined score of 12-1. Roberto Luongo was chased from the net in game four and probably should have been removed in game three.
Yet tonight Lord Stanley will be in the building and the Canucks have the opportunity to walk out of Boston with that great silver cup over their heads. You have to know that that image is in the head of every Canucks player right now, no matter how hard they’re trying to not get ahead of themselves. This is a big moment for the Vancouver Canucks.
When you think about it, this is the Canucks’ “high school reunion.”
After being tormented by the “cool kids” and laughed out of the building will the Canucks return having lost weight, landed great jobs and married attractive people? Will they rub their success in the faces of their enemies and walk out with their “best in class” award? Will that smug kid who never wanted to date them leave wishing that things were different?
Or will the Canucks return in the same insecure, scared and nerdy manner that they left last time? Will they pretend to be the inventors of Post-it notes, only to be shamed when someone mentions Arthur Fry and the 3M Corporation? Will they fail miserably and head back home feeling sorry for themselves?
It would be a huge understatement to say that the Canucks have struggled in Boston in this series. The three games in Vancouver have all been tight, one-goal contests. Game two was settled in overtime and games one and five were decided in the third period.
Games three and four in Boston were completely different.
“[In the] two games in Boston, the second periods were a problem… We played real well in the first two periods, and for whatever reason, the game got away from us in the second,” said Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault.
Perhaps there will be a different atmosphere in Boston tonight; One that could help the Canucks. Apparently “rabid Canucks fans are swarming into Boston today” hoping to watch the Vancouver Canucks win the first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
With the Stanley Cup in the building, some Canucks fans in the stands and the Nathan Horton hit now a bit further in the distance, the recipe could be right for a Vancouver Stanley Cup party tonight.
Of course, the Canucks don’t need to win tonight. If they’re not successful in Boston, they can always secure the Stanley Cup in Vancouver on Wednesday. Will that fact be a calming influence on the team? The Canucks could use the knowledge that this isn’t “do or die” to reduce some of the pressure they may be feeling tonight. They don’t need to win, but the Bruins do. Without a win, there’s no tomorrow for Boston. For Vancouver, they get another shot to claim the Cup and that shot will be on home ice, where they’ve been very successful.
However, the Canucks will have to be careful. They can’t allow themselves to be too relaxed. The Bruins are going to come at them with everything they have, because this could be it for them. If the Canucks allow the Bruins to outplay them tonight they’ll be playing with fire. A one game, winner take all situation is one that the Vancouver Canucks would be smart to avoid.
So will they shine on this stage or will they once again flop in Boston?