April 30, 2013 by The Hockey Daily.
This matchup is interesting for so many reasons. For starters, both of these franchises have spent the last half decade being favourited to win the Cup, with neither being able to close the deal. The Canucks came very close in 2011 only to lose in game seven of the Stanley Cup finals on their home ice to the Boston Bruins. Has their time passed? Both teams will give it another try beginning with a first round war against each other.
Two Very Different Goalie Situations Could Play A Role In This Series.
The Canucks have been dealing with goalie controversy and unwanted media attention all season regarding their two goaltenders Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo. Bobby Lou, who helped lead the Canucks to the finals two years ago, has found himself in the backup roll for most of this season. The Canucks prefer Schneider going forward. The only problem is Schneider is suffering from an injury and may not be able to play in game one. This opens up many possibilities. What happens if Lou plays the first two games of the series and does very well? Do you go back to Schneider? Or what if Lou does terribly and Schneider isn’t ready yet? Do you bring him back to early or play these important games with a struggling goalie? The Sharks have it much easier. Antti Niemi is a Cup winning goaltender who had an excellent season this year. He’s the guy and the Sharks have every reason to believe he will be very strong in the net for them this playoffs.
Art Ross Winners Galore In This Series.
The Sharks C Joe Thornton, and Vancouver Canucks forwards Henrik Sedin and his brother Daniel are all former Art Ross winners. There is a lot of supreme talent in this series that is getting overlooked. Both teams can score beyond their top lines too. These two teams have done a good job of infusing youth into their veteran lineups which gives them a good balance of energy and experience. Joe Thornton has often been criticized for not winning a Stanley Cup but the pressure isn’t on him the way it used to be. The former scoring champ doesn’t have to carry the team offensively anymore. Now he can just be that guy who comes through here and there while maintaining the steady brand of defensive play he has become known for as a Shark. The Sedins have been close to a Cup but they’ve faced their share of playoff criticism as well. I guess close doesn’t count.
The Canucks Should Win This Series.
With all the playoff experience they have the Vancouver Canucks should prevail over the Sharks and that’s nothing against San Jose. The Sharks are a great team, but the Canucks are probably better. They have a well balanced group forward depth that competes with the best teams in the league. The Canucks also have a very strong group of playoff hardened defensemen. But how will they deal with the goalie situation? It seems like 50/50 it works in their favour or against them.
Sharks in 6.
Since one team has to be chosen it’ll be the Sharks. Although this one is very tough and a Canucks win would not be surprising in the least. Every year some of the low seed teams win in the first round and simply based on the expectancy of that happening again, the Sharks seem like a good pick to do it.