The Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks are set to open the Stanley Cup Finals tonight in British Columbia. The game is slated for an 8 p.m. EST start and will be aired on NBC.
Each team comes into this game with some substantial time off, especially Vancouver, who hasn't played since May 24 when they knocked out the San Jose Sharks. Fully expecting this to be a great series with two great goaltenders. This year's Finals will be the first time since 1989 when the starting goaltenders were first and second in the NHL in goals against average during the regular season.
Obviously with two great goaltenders in Vancouver's Roberto Luongo and Boston's Tim Thomas taking a look at the total is very important. Currently the number is sitting at 5.5, which is fairly normal for NHL games and for the NHL Finals. Problem with this number is that it's extremely juiced, ranging from -140 to -150 on the UNDER. I think with the UNDER being so pricey there actually is some value on the OVER in this game. It wouldn't be that big of a stretch to see each of these goalies come out a bit rusty, especially being off for a week apiece. As of now there's really no way playing the UNDER at such a high price is worth it.
If history is any indicator of what happens today, the Bruins might be in trouble. Boston hasn't played in the Stanley Cup Finals since 1990 and the Bs have lost five straight trips since Bobby Orr led them to
their last title in 1972. Boston is a very physical team and that could make a major difference in tonight's game. If the Bruins dictate the style of play and continue to rough-up the Canucks for the entire 60 minutes, this game could easily end up in the Bruins' favor. Patrice Bergeron is going to give it a go tonight, even though he isn't fully 100% just yet. However, with the 7-game-series win over Tampa Bay, Bergeron has had a bit of a rest. Captain Zdeno Chara and the Boston blue line players will have to step up to slow down the Canucks' offensive attack tonight. Boston has gone 5-3 on the road in the postseason so far.
The Vancouver Canucks have never won a a Stanley Cup and they've only had two appearances in the championship series during their tenure. The Sedin brothers have never been closer to winning it all and a matchup with the Boston Bruins might just be their ticket to hoisting the Stanley Cup. The Bruins are big and physical while Vancouver has extremely fast players and moves methodically around the ice. They also take advantage of their speed by averaging over 3 goals per game in this postseason. They also dominate on the power play, connecting on more than 24 percent so far as well. Henrik Sedin put up nine total points in their final two wins over San Jose in the Western Conference Finals. Expect him to show up big tonight for Vancouver as the Sedin's have a lot of pressure on them to produce.
The captain of the team that wins the Stanley Cup this year will join some rare company. Whether it's Henrick Sedin or Chara from Boston, the winning captain will be just the second European born and trained player to win the Stanley Cup. Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom is the only other player to have done so.
Boston Bruins +190
Vancouver Canucks -230
The series price is way too high to play, in my opinion, but that number does give us an idea that Vancouver should be the team to win the opening Game 1 tonight.
Official play — OVER 5.5 (+125)
With some rusty goaltenders and a lot at stake for both teams, I think going OVER in tonight's game is a value bet that could bring back a nice return. Sure, neither team has played in a week so legs might be an issue but I fully expect Vancouver to come out firing and Boston will need to stick around tonight.
Comments — What are your thoughts on tonight's contest?