The Boston Bruins have dominated the Vancouver Canucks the past two games, outscoring them 12-1 on home ice. BUt now, even though all the momentum is with the Bruins, the series moves back to British Columbia for a critical Game Five. If Boston continues their recent success, they'll head home with a chance to win their first Cup in 39 years. But the Canucks have played well on their home ice.
Will Home Ice Fix Vancouver?
Vancouver has depended on their home ice all postseason. They used it to finally close out the Chicago Blackhawks, and to get on track against the Nashville Predators.
Even though Boston has looked incredible the past two games, it's important to remember that the Canucks won the first two games of the series in their home building, and that two of the last three games will take place in Vancouver as well.
Of course, the alternative viewpoint would show that the Canucks have struggled with Tin Thomas and the Bruins' defense all series and barely won the first two games. Still, you would rather be in Vancouver's position at this point rather than facing two of three games on the road in front of a ferocious crowd.
Can Roberto Luongo Fix Himself?
For the second time this postseason, fans and members of the media are demanding Luongo's head after another poor performance. He responded with an incredible Game Seven against Chicago, and now must win two more games against a Bruins team that is playing their best hockey of the season.
Postseason Road GAA: 3.49
Postseason Home GAA: 1.84
Luongo may have struggled in Boston, but then again he's struggled everywhere on the road this postseason. Once he returns home, he becomes a elite goaltender again. Is it idea? Not especially. But there's a reason the Canucks fought all regular season to win the President's Cup; to gain home ice advantage throughout the playoffs.
When the alternative is starting (extremely) talented, but inexperienced Cory Schneider -- with his grand total of 35 NHL games -- the choice is clear. There isn't an alternative. If Vancouver wants to win their franchise first Stanley Cup, they have to start Roberto Luongo.
Has Boston Become Unstoppable?
Tim Thomas will probably never allow another goal for the rest of his career.
Okay, it's a slight exaggeration. But with such a strong defense in front of him, Thomas' electrifying play in net has allowed the Bruins to help out on the offensive attack, and it has been the difference in the series. Boston has forced many odd-man rushes, and have converted quite a few of them. The Canucks have been pushed off their quick attack, cross ice passing game because they have been burned so many times after a quick turnover.
Offensively, the Bruins no-name forwards are quickly growing into a fast and energetic group that just throws pucks on net. They're brash, aggressive, and confident. Since players like David Krejci and Brad Marchand are so young, it's tough to grasp how good these players can be long term. But they're enjoying a superb breakout postseason and could give the Eastern Conference fits for years to come.
The Bruins have all the momentum heading into Game Five, but they still face an uphill climb against a proud, and talented, veteran Canucks team. It should be an incredible final stretch of the 2011 playoffs.
Puck drops at 8:00 p.m. EDT, on NBC and CBC.