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2011 NHL Playoffs: Game Three Preview - Three Questions For Bruins Vs. Canucks

While Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins created buzz, Game Two may have been just as thrilling, though the result was inevitably the same. The Canucks scored the game winning goal just 11 seconds into the overtime period, taking a commanding lead in the series and putting Boston into "must win" mode for Game Three, the first of the series to be played in Boston.

Is There Hope For Boston?

The Bruins are down by two games in this series and must win four of their next five against the NHL's best team this season. Statistically, teams that lose the first two games of the Finals came back to win the Cup a total of four times in 46 attempts. Not pretty.

But unlike those other teams, the Bruins have played well enough to win both games. Vancouver has scored both game winning goals on the basis of 30 total seconds of gameplay; Game One, with 19 seconds left on the clock and Game Two with 11 seconds into overtime. Vancouver has lead for a total of 17:05 seconds in this series, while Boston has held the lead for 18:02. You cannot have asked for a closer series. With three of the next four games in front of a Cup-hungry crowd, the Bruins have a great chance to leap back into this series.

Can Roberto Luongo Continue His Dominance?

Anyone remember the Conference Quarterfinals, when Luongo was benched against the Chicago Blackhawks? Since that (well deserved) benching, Luongo has been simply stellar. Check out his numbers since Game Seven versus Chicago:

.935 SV%, 2.21 GAA, 4 overtime victories.

Since he was called washed up, Luongo has simply been the Canucks' best player every single night. Vancouver does not make it this far without his stellar performance in net, despite facing an average of 34 shots per game. As the pressure has built, Luongo has found another level and is making a case that he deserves the Conn Smythe trophy should Vancouver finish out this series. He has been that good.

Who Will Play Hero For The Bruins?

The Bruins have depended on their young talent throughout the season, and their young forwards have answered the call. Tyler Seguin, David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, and Nathan Horton have all been dynamic this postseason. But what they are missing is a veteran presence, a stabilizing force on that bench. It could have been Marc Savard, but he hasn't fully recovered from multiple concussions.

The past two games, the young Bruins have fought the best team in the league to a standstill, but are still winless in the series because of two turnovers. The Canucks have capitalized because of the play of veterans Ryan Kesler and Alexandre Burrows; the Bruins have not yet been able to take that leap. If Boston is to have any hope of winning this series, they need someone on their bench to make a play and turn momentum. The Canucks are a great team in a great position, but the Bruins have a puncher's chance.