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Sunday June 5, 2011 10:34 pm

Canucks go up 2-0 in Stanley Cup Final

Ryan KeslerThe Vancouver Canucks seem to have found their stride in the postseason. After winning the Presidents Trophy and being the regular season’s top-scoring team, they carried that momentum in taking the first three games against the Chicago Blackhawks in Round 1, but then stubbed their collective toe, almost blowing the series to the Hawks before winning Game 7. It took them six games to finish the Nashville Predators and five games to clinch against the San Jose Sharks, and now hold a 2-0 series lead against the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final.

Unlike “traditional” Stanley Cup contenders, the Canucks haven’t been nearly as dominate as you may expect. Contributions have come from perilously few members. Certainly all four lines haven’t been dependable throughout the last two months. The Sedin twins were a non-factor for much of the first two rounds, while Roberto Luongo has been shaky at times and certainly not as good as his numbers may indicate. However, when he’s on, he’s been the best goalie in the world, and Henrik Sedin has come on to lead all skaters in assists and points.

The only guys you can say have been truly consistent among the Canucks’ roster are Alex Burrows and Ryan Kesler. Burrows had the dramatic OT winner in Game 2 on Saturday night, his ninth goal and 17th point of the postseason, and Kesler was a one-man show against Nashville and leads all forwards with 10 or more games played with an average of 23:17 time on the ice. Their contributions are directly responsible for where the Canucks sit right now; poised to win the first Cup in the history of their franchise.

One of the key factors in a winning team is the ability to last more than 100 games on the way to a championship, and at 102 games each neither Vancouver nor Boston are taking their opponent lightly, despite the stranglehold the Canucks have right now. Both teams have been in this situation these playoffs, so despite all the stats you’ll see and hear about a 2-0 lead, don’t think this series is over yet.



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