This is short series of posts that together with the one I have written for InsideHockey about the cores of the two teams, will give the fans of all degrees and access to the teams a basic understanding of who is on the ice. I probably watched ten to twelve Vancouver regular season games and about as many post season games. For the Bruins, the regular season number is around seventy, and I did see all the post season games.
Team power matrix:
Vancouver: Fast moving, team with high end scoring talent, a goalie that is just starting to be recognized as a playoff producer, and a concentrated high end talent group with good role players. The defensive depth of this team is impressive, but has suffered various injuries
Boston: A hard working, physical team who excel when they stick to the system, scoring and defense have definite leader but the scoring burden is spread out over more shoulders and sticks than Vancouver.
Vancouver: Henrik Sedin, Ryan Kesler, Daniel Sedin and Alex Borroughs lead the Vancouver Canucks in scoring. Together they have combined for ten powerplay goals this post season, the rest of the roster has seven.
Boston: David Krejci, Nathan Horton, Patrice Bergeron, and Brad Marchand are the points leaders and they have about 2/5ths of the teams post season powerplay goals.
Vancouver: The Canucks defense is fueled off the time on ice leaders Kevin Bieksa and Dan Hamuis, who have each averaged a bit under twenty six minutes a game. A solid workload, but not crushing. Bieksa is a +10 and Hamuis is a +5 with a bit less scoring to go with it. Behind them are Ehrhoff and Edler as the next two most important defensemen, the two have combined for more points than the nominal top defenders, but have been less reliable defensively speed plays a big part in both of their games.
Boston: Norris trophy winning, player voted toughest to play against, and largest man to ever play the game Zdeno Chara leads the Bruins defense. He uses both the four “s’s” (smarts, speed, stick, strength) to keep himself in the game at all times. Frequently paired with him is Denis Seidenberg who has exploded this post season into one of the stories media types and fans alike love, he’s actually averaging more minutes this post season than Chara. Behind these two the picture is a little less clear. Adam Mcquad has very quietly picked up more hits than Ference or Kaberle who play more minutes, without a single penalty. Johnny Boychuck has had the highest of highs with a game winning goal and the lowest of lows in game 6 vs Tampa Bay where he was on the ice for all five goals against (and two for). Andrew Ference is fourth in total time on ice, and is the fastest of blue liners to suit up this post season. Thomas Kaberle has had more than one shakey game since arriving just ahead of the trade deadline but seems to shaking down into place. Kaberle leads the blueline in powerplay time.
Vancouver: Roberto Luongo is the starting goaltender for the Canucks, and has started all but one game this post season. He’s been chased twice in favor of backup Cory Schneider who started one game. In 18 games they have allowed 48 goals on 523 shots on goal. Luongo is a more traditional goaltender than his Bruins counterpart, but is is a bit more likely to move the puck and to drop his stick to make a save.
Regular season numbers: Luongo 60GP .928 sv% and 2.11 GAA, Schnieder: 25 GP, .929 sv% 2.29 GAA.
Boston: Tim Thomas spent played all 18 games of the Bruins post season allowing just 43 goals on 603 shots. Any goalie coach putting together videos of unorthodox goalies in the hockey world today will probably begin and end their video with Tim Thomas. Often criticized for his scambly, acrobatic style, he’s got one Vezina trophy to say it’s not a fluke, and a second one is likely to be awarded this summer to punctuate that statement.
Regular season numbers: Thomas 57 GP.938 sv% and 2.00 GAA.