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Posted by Ryan Porth Labels: 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, Boston Bruins, Stanley Cup Playoffs, Vancouver Canucks
Like past Stanley Cup Champions, the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins have faced adversity at one point or another in their run to the final. And two games into the Cup final, the Bruins once again have their backs against the wall.
At the beginning of the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Carolina Hurricanes faced an 0-2 first-round deficit to the 7th-seeded Montreal Canadiens. Martin Gerber was dreadful in the first two games, as the ‘Canes lost 6-1 and 6-5, respectively.
Without having a goaltender that could stop the puck to save their life in those two games, how were the 2nd-seeded Hurricanes – one of the best teams all year long – going to battle back from that early deficit? Well, in came Cam Ward and the rest was history! Those Hurricanes went on to skate the Cup after taking Game 7 in the final over Edmonton.
That Carolina team is just one of many to battle through adversity on their way to glory in recent years.
Pittsburgh went through a coaching change in the middle of 2009 (mid-February, no less) and were sitting outside of a playoff spot. They came away victorious in two Game 7’s on the road and overcame a pair of 0-2 deficits (including in the final) to win the Cup.
Four years ago, Anaheim had to play crucial Game 4’s in the last two rounds without Chris Pronger, due to two separate one-game suspensions. They won both, which were defining wins on their path to the title.
It may not seem like much, but the 2010 Blackhawks and 2008 Red Wings had to fend off a pesky Predators club in the first round by making lineup changes when they had lost all momentum. Even if you look back earlier in the decade, the 2004 Lightning and 2001 Avalanche had to battle back from 3-2 deficits in the final to ultimately win the title.
Shifting back to present-day; the Bruins are currently trailing 0-2 to heavy favorite Vancouver. In the history of the Cup final, teams are 4-42 when facing such scenario. Everyone outside of Boston has counted them out in this series. Does this sound like Round 1 to you?
Montreal escaped Beantown with two wins in their pocket to start that series. It was panic time in the Hub as their rivals had a 2-0 series lead going back home. The B’s eventually won four of five, including Game 7 in overtime, to advance.
Then, after each loss against Tampa Bay in the conference final (all three were bad), pundits were uncertain if they’d bounce back. They did. Each time.
A wise man once said “adversity doesn’t build character – it reveals it.” What kind of character will this adversity reveal for the Bruins?
As for the Canucks, they’ve faced adversity, too, this spring. Up 3-0 against postseason nemesis Chicago in the first round, the series was in the bag. It was over. But the Blackhawks proceeded to win the next three games and make every soul in Vancouver sweat… just a little bit.
Going into that Game 7, the Canucks had the weight of the world on their backs and the pressure of a tense city on them. I don’t know how the Canucks, the Presidents’ Trophy winners, or the city would have recovered. Thanks to Alex Burrows, they didn’t have to worry about that.
While the Canucks got over the hump with that victory, and controlled Nashville and San Jose thereafter, they still have work to do. It’s not time to start planning a date and time for that parade. Claude Julien’s Bruins have the ability and more than enough leadership to get back into this series. They have been right there in both games in this series; the breaks haven’t gone their way when the game is on the line.
Adversity. Every team faces it, whether it’s in October, January or May. The teams who overcome it are usually the ones better off. Whichever team is the first to four wins, whether it’s Vancouver or Boston, they will join the long line of Cup champions that have overcome adversity in their path to Lord Stanley.
Photos credit: Getty Images
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