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Game 1 Preview: Five keys to victory

June 1, 2011

David Krejci during media day yesterday at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.

The emotions will be running high, the jitters will certainly be there. Both teams appeared convivial and relaxed in yesterday’s sweeping rounds of interviews. The pleasure of actually playing in the Stanley Cup final was evident, and all parties seemed relieved of some of the pressures that had weighed them down for the last six weeks. The finals are upon us.

Predictions abound, with some corners even talking the Bruins. or least admonishing others that they ought not be dismissed. Ryan Dixon and the Canadian Press are among them. But the Canucks are clearly the favored team, by most estimations. Still, when two squads have made it to the last tango, it seems unjust to pick sides like that. Predictions are great and they provide a meaningful way of tracking progress and assessing play from an historical perspective. But eventually it’s all too much. Let them play.

Simply, this is why we play the games.

Five keys to the Bruins’ play tonight…

1) Shot on Luongo, from all angles. Rattle him. Get under his skin. Grab those rebounds. Luongo made significant adjustments to his style of play last summer, and returned a better and stronger goaltender. But he still has the ability to enter long funks, and he still struggles with rebounds, and struggles when he’s not in control. The Bruins need to exploit this.

2) Tag team the Sedin twins. It would appear Boston’s second line will take duty against them. This is smart. Though, handling Kesler will be a challenge, I think squaring off against the Sedins and Burrows is advantageous for the second line, for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the ability to have more scoring opportunities.

3) Top line firing on all cylinders. The top line, though streaky at times, has proven its ability to score at will and at big moments. They have spent nearly the entire season as a unit, powering forward. All three players elevate themselves during big games. Consistently. All any unit, forwards or defense, this crew does it most often. They’re the top line for a reason, yes. But they elevate.

4) Tim Thomas. Just those two words. Tim Thomas. He must come up big in every save.

5) Stay out of the box, for heaven’s sake. The Canucks’ power-play has been converting at over 25% or something during this post-season. As much as Burrows and Kesler might mess with Horton or Marchand, these two and others should take notice: going to the penalty box could be a dire mistake. The penalty-less performance of game seven against Tampa proves that it’s possible, but I have a feeling that game one excitement might ignite passions in less fortunate ways.

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