Writers from around Tribune Co. discuss the Canucks-Bruins series. Check back throughout the day for more responses, and feel free to weigh in with a comment of your own.
Harvey Fialkov, Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
Despite the last five Stanley Cup champions going 14-2 at home in the finals, unless the Rogers Arena ice morphs into an extra skater, this 2-2 series is over after Boston’s utter domination of Vancouver at TD Garden. Even with that extra skater, Vancouver’s top-ranked power-play unit has vanished under Boston’s smothering penalty kill, going 1-of-22.
Because a gimpy Ryan Kesler has gone from MVP to MIA.
Because the Sedin twins, the last two NHL scoring champions, have a combined two points.
Because Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo has snatched LeBron James’ shrinkage tag to such an extent he’ll need a shrink after allowing 12 goals in five-plus periods.
Conversely, fellow Vezina finalist Tim Thomas is a flopping, stick-flailing wall in giving up five goals in four games.
Finally, the spirit of a concussed Nathan Horton has rallied the Bruins, who since 2004 will give Beantown a four-sport championship sweep.
[Updated at 1:27 p.m.
Chris Kuc, Chicago Tribune
After what transpired in Games 3 and 4 in Boston, conventional wisdom would point to the Bruins riding the wave of momentum and capturing their first Stanley Cup championship since 1972. Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo is a mess after yielding 12 goals in the last two games and has a wobbly .887 save percentage in the series while his counterpart, Tim Thomas, has been rock solid and is threatening to win this series practically on his own.
The Canucks found themselves in a similar situation in the Western Conference quarterfinals when the Blackhawks got into Luongo's head and set up residency for three games and nearly pulled off a startling comeback before the Vancouver netminder and his teammates righted the ship. Expect more of the same as the Canucks will take advantage of home ice in Game 5 and regain control of the series against a Bruins squad that is motivated by the loss of Nathan Horton to injury, but will also miss his offense when the games again tighten defensively.
It won't be nearly as easy as it appeared following the first two games, but the Canucks will turn things around and, when the dust settles, celebrate their first Stanley Cup.]
[Updated at 1:37 p.m.
Helene Elliott, Los Angeles Times
If the Boston Bruins go on to win the Stanley Cup -- and it's tough to pick against them now after they outscored the Vancouver Canucks, 12-1, in Boston to tie the finals at two games each -- they should send a thank-you card to Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome. It was Rome's hit on Bruins winger Nathan Horton in Game 3 that turned this series around, giving the Bruins emotional fuel, casting the Canucks as the bad guys and jumbling the Canucks' error-prone defense. Horton's season-ending concussion was expected to hurt the Bruins more than Rome's four-game suspension was supposed to hurt the Canucks, but instead the inspired Bruins swamped the Canucks in a 4-0 victory Wednesday. Boston goalie Tim Thomas has hugely outplayed Vancouver's Roberto Luongo and has brought a feistiness that fits with the Bruins' style. Bruins fans chanted, "We want the Cup" near the end of Game 4, and they just might get it if their team can play as well in Vancouver on Friday as it did at home in Games 3 and 4.]
Photo: Vancouver Canucks left wing Daniel Sedin and defenseman Kevin Bieksa battle for the puck with Boston Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg during Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals at TD Garden. Credit: Greg M. Cooper / US Presswire