I’m not one to use Canucks marketing campaign slogans on a regular basis (I’ve never said that ‘we are all Canucks’), but never has ‘this is what we live for‘ been more true. Game 7, Stanley Cup Final, at home. This IS what we live for. It’s what the players live for, it’s what the fans live for. Quite simply stated, it’s the biggest game in Canucks history. It’s bigger than 1994. There will probably never be a bigger game for this franchise. This is their time. They will become legends if they win, or be labeled as chokers should they come up short.
Making Sense of Game 6
If you’re like me, you were angry at the Canucks performance in game 6, then went into a deep depression for over 24 hours and it’s only now that you’re getting excited for game 7. So just what happened in game 6? As funny as it sounds, I don’t think the Canucks were that bad in game 6. Obviously they weren’t spectacular, but they needed a save from Roberto Luongo. With each goal let in, the Bruins received an enormous surge of momentum. The Canucks couldn’t weather the storm, and it became 4-0 very quick. In game 7, the Canucks will need their goaltending to be air tight, especially early.
By now you’ve probably heard about Mason Raymond’s injury. He won’t be in the lineup for game 7, and the health of Andrew Alberts and Alex Edler are uncertain also (though I expect both to play). Ryan Kesler is banged up, as is Henrik Sedin, Chris Higgins and a whole host of others. I expect Jeff Tambellini to spot in for Mason Raymond, but the rest of the walking wounded will likely play, and will need to dig down deep for the game of their lives.
What worries me most about these injuries is that maybe the Canucks are no longer the better team on paper. With Dan Hamhuis injured and Christian Ehrhoff hobbled with a bad shoulder, their defense is in shambles. Their high end talent up front is severely banged up. Who is the better team right now?
Keys to Victory
1. Roberto Luongo. He has been spectacular at home and terrible on the road. He needs that to continue. Momentum has been so huge in this series, Luongo has to play the game of his life.
2. Goals. The Canucks haven’t scored enough in this series, and they need that to change (duh). The Canucks power play has to get it together. They need to solve Tim Thomas. I think the way to do that is to throw a whole lot of pucks on goal and hope they get a good bounce. If they get too picky, they will shoot themselves in the foot.
3. Sedins must show up. They’re the Canucks best players and it’s time for them to step up. I feel like the key for them is to quicken up their cycle. Because Hudson Bay rules seem to be in play during this series, if the Sedins spend too much time on the cycle, they will get crosschecked off the puck. Daniel Sedin predicted that the Canucks will win game 7, and now it’s time to back it up.
4. Don’t anger the hockey gods. Before game 6, the poll question on Team 1040 was “who will Henrik Sedin give the Cup to first?”. They can’t afford to think along those lines. The team that deals with the distraction of being one win away from the Stanley Cup the best will be best suited to actually winning it.
5. Heart. There’s not likely to be a lot of power plays and scoring chances, as is the case in most game 7s, so the Canucks will probably have to win this in the trenches. Who has more heart? We will find out.
As a longtime Canucks fan I just feel like ONLY the Canucks could put us on such an emotional roller coaster, such as this. To do what they did against Chicago in the first round and then have such a bizarre series against the Bruins, who’d have thunk it? But in a way, isn’t this how you knew it would be? If the Canucks were to lose this year, you know they would do it in absolutely the most painful way possible, just when you think they’ve got it won. But on the flip side, if they were to win the Stanley Cup, you just knew that it wasn’t going to be easy. One of two scenarios will play out on Wednesday night. This is what we live for.