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Who'll win the Cup and in how many games?

Canucks take it in 6

Helene Elliott

Los Angeles Times

It's incredible to think that no team based in Canada has won the Stanley Cup since 1993, when a certain illegal stick carried by a certain member of the Kings reversed the tide after the Kings had won the opener and launched the Canadiens to a five-game series win.

The drought is about to end. Lord Stanley's trophy will take up residence in Canada within the next two weeks, after the Canucks defeat the Bruins in six games in this year's Cup finals.

It could be close. Each team survived a seven-game challenge in the first round and each has had to play 18 games to get to the finals. Each team's goaltender, Boston's Tim Thomas and Vancouver's Roberto Luongo, has compiled a 2.29 goals-against average over the course of the playoffs.

But the Canucks are too deep, too balanced and too skillful for the Bruins, whose weak special-team play is likely to finally catch up with them and cost them.

helliott@tribune.com

Balanced Bruins in 6

Ron Fritz

Baltimore Sun

Vancouver has been one of the popular choices since the start of the season to win the Stanley Cup. But right now it's Boston's Cup to lose.

The Bruins will win in six games because they are balanced offensively, they have Zdeno Chara on defense and they have Tim Thomas in net.

The Canucks are loaded on offense, but defensively they don't scare you. Goalie Roberto Luongo has had shaky moments.

I like a Bruins team that swept the Flyers and shut down the high-scoring Lightning in Game 7, 1-0, to advance to the finals. They are physically more imposing than the Canucks. The one flaw Boston has is on the power play. It's just awful right now.

But the Bruins will get it done. Someone in New England will be eating clam chowder out of the Cup.

rtfritz@tribune.com

Game 7 heaven for B's

Harvey Fialkov

Sun Sentinel

If the finals were being played on paper instead of ice then Vancouver would be hoisting Lord Stanley for the first time in their 40-year history.

They're not.

Despite Boston's far-from-special units, including a toothless power play that has lit the lamp just five times in 62 attempts, the B's have a few secret weapons that will help them end their own 39-year Cupless drought.

Their names are late-blooming goalie Tim Thomas and Panthers escapee Nathan Horton, who after six years of golfing in May has flourished in his first playoff run with eight goals, including three game-winners, two coming in Game 7s.

With towering defenseman Zdeno Chara blanketing the Sedin twins, and his partner Dennis Seidenberg blocking Conn Smythe candidate Ryan Kesler's forays to the net, the Bruins will score enough soft goals to win in seven.

hfialkov@tribune.com

Vancouver prevails in 6

Chris Kuc

Chicago Tribune

The Canucks were the best team in the NHL during the regular season and haven't missed a beat in dispatching the Blackhawks, Predators and Sharks en route to the finals.

With a potent offense led by the Sedin twins — Henrik and Daniel — along with Conn Smythe Trophy candidate Ryan Kesler, a lethal power play, Manny Malhotra's possible return from a serious eye injury and a steady Roberto Luongo in goal, there's little reason to doubt the Canucks won't cap their run with their first Stanley Cup.

The Bruins, who are seeking their first Cup since 1972, will put up a fight as long as goaltender Tim Thomas continues his remarkable play and Zdeno Chara remains a force along the blue line.

When the dust settles, Vancouver will be party city. Canucks in six.

ckuc@tribune.com

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