The Vancouver Canucks look to make it 7 wins in a row with a 7pm PST Saturday night match-up versus the dreaded Boston Bruins. The players are publicly saying that this is just another game on the schedule, but everyone knows this is Game 9! Let’s face it, the last regular season game (Game 8) vs the Bruins was quite likely the greatest regular season game in Canucks history and the hype for Saturday night’s game is unprecedented.
The Canucks played a solid all around game in a 4-0 win vs the Edmonton Oilers. The win over the Oilers was impressive from the sole standpoint that this game was a classic trap game in which the Canucks could have easily overlooked the AHL-like Oilers with the Bruins up next. I predicted prior to the season that the Oilers would be an unmitigated disaster and they have exceeded my expectations.
The Boston Bruins
The Bruins come into town with a very strong 22-8-2 record and sit atop the Atlantic Division. Clearly the Bruins are still a top team in the NHL and they are still employing (and getting away with for the most part) the bully tactics that won them the Stanley Cup in 2011. The hatred for the Boston Bruins from the Canucks’ fan base and players alike runs deep. If you don’t believe me, this is what happened the last time the Canucks and Bruins got together:
Sestito, Alberts and Lack were the only players on this ice this morning, indicating that they will be tonight’s scratches. Expect the lines to stay the same:
D. Sedin – H. Sedin – Hansen
Higgins – Kesler – Santorelli
Kassian – Richardson - Booth
Welsh – Dalpe – Weise
Hamhuis – Tanev
Stanton – Bieksa
Garrison – Weber
The pretend Larscheid report…
1. Hack, Wack, & Smack
- I have brought back a classic “Tommy-ism” to describe how the Canucks need to play vs the Bruins in order to be successful. The Canucks need to continue to play their aggressive style and play with emotion in order to topple the hated Bruins.
2. Special Teams
It is hard to not envision a game with the Bruins where special teams are not key. We will very likely see a parade to the penalty box in game which involves two teams that hold such hatred for each either. The Canucks penalty kill needs to stay solid and they need to cash in on the power play to win this game.
3. Control Emotion
There is positive emotion and negative emotion. Personally I welcome any type of emotion in a regular season NHL game, however, the Canucks need to ensure that they channel their emotion in a positive direction. I think of players like Zack Kassian when I write this. The last thing the Canucks need is an early run of penalties against them and a multi-goal deficit in the first period because that line was crossed. That being said, I wouldn’t mind seeing Kassian unleash some fury on this idiot:
Those of you that follow my predictions know that I usually do not let emotions effect my prognostications. The two exceptions to this would be any game involving the San Jose Sharks and the Bruins. I hate the Bruins with a passion and still have not gotten over watching the Canucks lose Game 6 live in Boston. Contrary to what people believe, the 2011 Final was lost in Game 6, not Game 7. I may write an article about this some day, but for now let’s just say that I won’t get over that loss until the Canucks win the Cup. I predict another epic Canucks-Bruins battle and a 5-3 win for Vancouver.
Follow Ian Lusher on Twitter at @IanLusher