For the second time in franchise history, the Vancouver Canucks will have a chance to skate the Stanley Cup with a win. Things didn’t go so well in 1994 as the Rangers won Game 7 on home-ice to snap their own prolonged drought. When Monday night rolls around, the Canucks hope they can end 40 years of frustration.
501 players have donned the Canucks jersey. 16 coaches have manned the bench. Over 25 million fans have gone through the turnstiles, between Pacific Coliseum and Rogers Arena. All of it boils down to 60 minutes. And if they can’t wrap it up in Game 6, then it boils down to 120 minutes.
A Canucks win on Monday or Wednesday, and the streets in Vancouver will explode with celebration. This is what that city has been waiting on for four decades. Think about that. Some of us weren’t even alive 40 years ago. A lot of Canucks fans have gone their whole lives without seeing their team experience the euphoria of winning Lord Stanley.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a team overcome so much scrutiny, or play under this tight of a microscope, and succeed like the Canucks have all year.
Back in August, this was the team that The Hockey News pegged to win the Stanley Cup. Since the beginning of December, this has been a team with a bulls-eye on their back, becoming the ‘team to beat’ in the NHL.
That microscope in Vancouver has been a lot tighter here in the playoffs. When the Canucks blew a three-game series lead to Chicago, the world was coming to an end. When Ryan Kesler single-handedly beat Nashville, pundits were criticizing the Sedins. When their doors were blown off in Games 3 and 4 in Boston, everyone once again doubted Roberto Luongo.
Yet, under all of this pressure, the Canucks are one win away from the Cup. And they are this close to Cup glory without their most important forwards being productive. Kesler and the Sedins have a combined three points through five games. Thanks to role players such as Raffi Torres and Max Lapierre, they have found ways to win in this series with Boston.
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