Remember the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks in the 2011 Stanley Cup? The Bruins took game seven from the Canucks to win Lord Stanley’s hardware, shellacking Roberto Luongo in a 4-0 shutout. Up to that point in the series, the B’s and Canucks matched each other game-for-game. One game, you would think that the Bruins were the better team by far. The next game, Luongo would stall the Bruins’ attack, while Alexandre Burrows and the Sedin brothers would out-duel Tim Thomas.
Fast forward about three years to this season. The Bruins and Canucks have met twice, one time in December and the other time tonight. The Canucks dominated the B’s in a 6-2 drubbing right before the New Year, but on Wednesday, the Bruins avenged that loss with a comfortable 3-1 victory.
Are the Bruins Clearly Better Than the Canucks?
I don’t like to jump to conclusions because I think that the Canucks are a good team. This season, however, they’ve had several rough patches, stretches of games where they skate terribly and play without energy. Some may blame John Tortorella for these struggles with the thought that he is overworking his players in a long 82-game season.
The Canucks are certainly a skilled team, but in the end, Boston boasts a more intelligent, fundamental style of play. They don’t make many mistakes, and when they do, they are able to save themselves at the last minute. The Bruins are exceptional at capitalizing on other teams errors.
Look at Wednesday’s competition for example. In the first period, Vancouver defenseman Jason Garrison made a half-hearted attempt at at pinch along the boards, and the Bruins immediately noticed that Garrison was out of position. Milan Lucic advanced the puck as quickly as possible to create a favorable odd-man rush. Boom. Lucic nets the first goal of the game off of basic 3-on-2 passing techniques.
In the second period, a great save by Tuukka Rask set up another odd-man rush opportunity. Instead of forcing the puck to the net, though, Zdeno Chara holds the puck and waits for a open lane to find Jarome Iginla on the doorstep–a calculated, simple play. The Bruins tally another goal.
On these accounts, the boys from Beantown are definitely better than the Canucks.