The Vancouver Canucks have been Stanley Cup favorites on the futures through their entire playoff run, and they'll get the chance to finally prove they deserved those odds when the Stanley Cup final against the Boston Bruins begins on Wednesday in Vancouver.
When the playoffs began the Canucks were a +300 favorite on the Stanley Cup futures. Heading into Wednesday's opener of the Cup final Vancouver is a -235 favorite in the series at 5Dimes. The Bruins are the underdogs at +195.
In Game 1 the Canucks are also heavily favored at 5Dimes at -200. Vancouver was perfect at home against the Sharks in the Western Conference final at 3-0 and they're 7-3 at Rogers Arena in the postseason. The Bruins have lost their last two road games, losing Games 5 and 6 of the Eastern Conference final in Tampa Bay, but they're 5-3 on the road in the playoffs so far.
The Canucks and Bruins met up only once during the regular season in Vancouver on February 26. The Bruins won that game 3-1 behind a three-point effort from Milan Lucic and a strong game in nets from Tim Thomas. Lucic had a goal and two assists, while Thomas made 27 saves. Manny Malhotra scored the Canucks' only goal that day, while the Sedin twins were both held pointless.
To win Game 1 and the series the Bruins will likely need to keep the Sedins from lighting up the scoresheet again. After a lackluster start to the postseason the Sedins finally started to show some real life against San Jose, especially Henrik who had 12 points in five games against the Sharks.
Keeping the Sedins from beating them hasn't been a problem for the Bruins in the past. In 11 career games against the Bruins Henrik has only four assists, while Daniel has four goals and an assist. Thomas will be essential in keeping the Sedins from beating the Bruins. Thomas has been a beast in three career games against the Canucks with a 3-0 record and an 0.33 goals-against average and a pair of shutouts. By comparison, in 25 career starts against the Bruins (most with Florida) Luongo is 11-10-3 with a 2.40 goals-against average and four shutouts.
With both the Canucks and Bruins having a few days off between series injuries won't be much of an issue in the series opener. In fact, the Canucks are expected to have a couple injured players back in the lineup. Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff should be in the lineup after missing the last two games with an injured shoulder, and fellow d-man Aaron Rome is expected to return from a concussion that sidelined him in Game 5. Also expected back is Malhotra; he was expected to miss the rest of the season with a career-threatening eye injury, but after getting medical clearance this week he should be ready to go on Wednesday night.