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article imageOp-Ed: Why the Vancouver Canucks will win the 2011 Stanley Cup

By David Silverberg     Apr 12, 2011 in Sports
Vancouver - The NHL team that led the league in goals scored and fewest allowed goals will take home the Cup in 2011. Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo is playing with poise and the Sedin twins are shaping up to be a potent offensive force. Who can stop them?
Vancouver has enjoyed a stellar year: 117 points, making them the top NHL team by 10 points; their powerplay (at 24.3 percent) is the highest in the league; their forwards Daniel and Henrik Sedin were the goals and assists leader this year, respectively; and both Vancouver goaltenders (Luongo and Corey Schneider) enjoyed the third and fourth highest save percentages. Wow.
Those are all just numbers, but they tell hockey fans something important: Vancouver is ready to win a Stanley Cup. Every year, they tease British Columbia by working their pads off during regular season only to come out empty in the post-season. But their work ethic and excellent goaltending in 2010/2011 shade this playoffs differently; Luongo has tasted Olympic gold with his Canada win but he's hungry for NHL silver. That kind of drive and grit can't be manufactured, and he's bound to have an astounding series against the first round match-up Chicago Blackhawks, last year's Stanley Cup winner.
Tomorrow night's game one between Vancouver and Chicago will be a litmus test for Vancouver's season. Will the Sedin twins pepper Chicago's young 'tender with shots or play a more patient game to set up higher percentage shots? How determined will Vancouver's blue line play against Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa? Most importantly, will Vancouver forget the past failures and focus on the present potential?
Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo about to make a save against the Washington Capitals
Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo about to make a save against the Washington Capitals
Chicago beat Vancouver in the second round in each of the last two springs, so Vancouver has revenge on its mind. You can only guess how badly Vancouver wants to win this first round, so if they clobber Chicago in four games, that much-needed rest will be a huge plus for the squad come second round.
Looking at their Western competition, it's hard to see who can keep up with the speed and strength the Canucks boast. Detroit? If Zetterberg isn't 100 percent, where will their offense come from? San Jose? Many question their goaltending. Anaheim had a deadly first line but their goalie Dan Ellis doesn't have the same kind of talent as Luongo.
In the East, Canadians are dreaming up an all-Canada Stanley Cup if Montreal powers through its rivals, but realistically the Flyers are the favourite and could give the Canucks a solid seven-game series that will enthral hockey fans worldwide. But if the season's momentum continues into the playoffs, the Canucks will show off their deep talent and poise to finally hold the Cup high over their heads.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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