The Stanley Cup Finals resume with Game Two between the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks. With Game One already an instant classic -- one of the best playoff games in years -- these two teams will again meet in Vancouver with two possibilities.
If Vancouver wins, they have all the momentum in a series they are already favored in. Two home victories would put the pressure on the Bruins to hold serve in Games Three and Four, lest this become a short series.
If Boston wins, the Bruins can feel good about themselves. Already underdogs, they played extremely well in a close loss in Game One. If they can split the first two games of the series in Vancouver, they have a good chance of winning their first Cup in 39 years.
Can Boston Recover?
The Bruins played the perfect Game One. They were energetic, physical, and were able to dissect the Canucks defense for quality shots on Luongo. They needed Tim Thomas to steal a game or two in this series, and he came within 19 seconds of stealing Game One with one of the best Finals goaltending performances of the past decade.
Despite everything going their way, the Bruins still find themselves at a deficit in this series. Mentally, the challenge must be tough. They played the favorites to a draw, and at their pace of play. Their goalie had a career game, but they are still in a near must-win in Game Two. As a team of young players in the biggest series of their careers, they will have to play against their own mental demons as well as the Vancouver Canucks, who will no longer be rusty. If they played their best game, and still lost, can they possibly bring an even greater effort the remainder of the series?
Will Vancouver Solve Tim Thomas?
The Canucks won Game One in the final seconds, but it took an effort play by Ryan Kesler, two perfect passes, and an essentially empty net to score just a single goal on Bruiins netminder Tim Thomas. This has to be cause for concern for a team that loves to fly up and down the ice, creating offensive pressure. Vancouver's greatest strength in this series is their world-class offensive talent, a group of talent that barely managed a single goal against Thomas and a stingy, physical Bruins defense.
The Canucks are talented enough to win the Cup with their defense and goaltending, but that's essentially a coinflip proposition. Their offense needs to find a way to solve the Tim Thomas Enigma if they really want to stay the favorites in this series.
Is Boston Able To Score A Power Play Goal?
Special teams has been the Achilles Heel of the Boston Bruins all postseason. Though their young players like Nathan Horton and Patrice Bergeron have come up big offensively at even strength, the Bruins have only scored five total power play goals this postseason.
In Game One, Daniel Sedin was called for a double minor penalty early in the first period but the Bruins were unable to score with four minutes of the man advantage. The Bruins started the second period with a man advantage, but were unable to convert a single goal. This has been the trend all postseason for Boston, and it could cost them a championship, especially with the Canucks vaunted power play performing well all postseason.
Game Two is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. EDT on NBC and CBC.