No. 1 (West) Vancouver Canucks (54-19-9) vs. No. 3 (East) Boston Bruins (46-25-11)
(Best of 7; Games 1-2, 5-7 NBC; Games 3-4 Versus)
Game 1: at Vancouver, 8 p.m. today
Game 2: at Vancouver, 8 p.m. Saturday
Game 3: at Boston, 8 p.m. Monday
Game 4: at Boston, 8 p.m. June 8
Game 5: at Vancouver, 8 p.m. June 10 *
Game 6: at Boston, 8 p.m. June 13 *
Game 7: at Vancouver, 8 p.m. June 15 *
* – If necessary
How they got here: Vancouver beat No. 8 Chicago 4-3, No. 5 Nashville 4-2, and No. 2 San Jose 4-1. Boston beat No. 6 Montreal 4-3, No. 2 Philadelphia 4-0, and No. 5 Tampa Bay 4-3.
2010-11 series record: Bruins 1-0.
Playoff History: First meeting.
Vancouver: The Canucks played host to the lone meeting between these teams and lost 3-1 on Feb. 26. ... Making their first finals appearance since losing to the New York Rangers in 1994, the Canucks are shooting for their first Stanley Cup title in their third trip. Vancouver is also carrying the hopes of a country. No Canadian club has won the Stanley Cup since Montreal in 1993, going 0-4 since. ... The two previous times a Canadian city hosted the Olympics (Montreal 1976 and Calgary 1988), the local NHL team won the Stanley Cup the following season. ... Noted penalty-killer Manny Malhotra was medically cleared to play this week, but was ruled out of Game 1. He was struck his left eye March 6 by a deflected puck . The Canucks penalty-killing unit was No. 1 in the NHL when Malhotra was on it. Malhotra scored the lone goal vs. Boston on Feb. 26. ... D Kevin Bieksa emerged as a key, yet unlikely, offensive star in the West finals with four goals and an assist, including the winning tally in overtime of Game 5 that sent the Canucks to the Cup finals. ... Roberto Luongo allowed 13 goals in the five-game series against San Jose and will be looking to win the Cup in the same arena in which he backstopped Canada to Olympic gold last year.
Boston: Vancouver native Milan Lucic scored the go-ahead goal in the Bruins win over the Canucks this season. ... If the Bruins win the Cup, the Boston area will have claimed the championship in all four major North American sports leagues since 2005: New England Patriots (2005); Boston Red Sox (2007); Boston Celtics (2008). ... The Bruins are in the finals for the first time since 1990 and are seeking their first Stanley Cup title since 1972. Boston is 0-5 in the finals since its last championship, losing to Canadian clubs four times – twice each against Edmonton and Montreal. ... Nathan Horton had three goals and four assists in the East finals and eight goals and nine assists in 18 postseason games. David Krejci has a team-high 10 goals and is tied with Horton for the club lead with 17 points. ... Tim Thomas has a 2.29 goals-against average into the finals, the same number as Vancouver counterpart Roberto Luongo. Thomas save percentage over the Bruins 18 playoff games is .929, slightly higher than Luongos .922. ... Only four Bruins had a minus rating in the East finals. Overall, Boston was plus-2.
Outlook: Canucks end long wait for themselves while Bostons title drought marches on. Canucks in 7.