Game two of the Stanley Cup Final goes tonight. I suspect both teams will be free of the layoff rust and will up there games. I suspect Boston in particular will be looking to show all of British Columbia just how good they are.
- Manny Malhotra took 4th line rushes with Jeff Tambellini and Victor Oreskovich in practice on Friday. I suspect the doctors will make the call on Saturday morning. Alex Bolduc only play a minute and a half in game one as the 4th pivot. I suspect Malhotra may be used more than that, if only to take key face-offs and then to head immediately to the bench.
- Dan Hamhuis was not at practice on Friday and almost certainly will not be in game 2. Aaron Rome moved up to pair with Kevin Bieksa, although that’s a scary thought if Rome is on the shutdown pairing. Perhaps Alex Edler will see more important minutes on game 2.
- Former Bruin Andrew Alberts, not Keith Ballard (or Chris Tanev) appears to be heading into game 2. Alberts has barely played in these playoffs, so I’m worried about his long layoff.
- Moreover, it’s curious that they went with Alberts over Ballard strictly based on style of play. Ballard approaches the game much like Hamhuis, but clearly coach Vigneault does not trust him. It’s too bad, as his inclusion would make for a more seamless transition and contribute to Vancouver’s defensive strength of mobility and puck movement. Big Alberts may add a nice physical component, but at the same time he will be far more likely to engage with the exact game plan Boston wants to play, as opposed to counteract it.
- While we debate Coach Vigneault’s decision of Alberts over Ballard or even Tanev, I think the bigger picture here is just how blessed the Canucks are to have such depth. Most teams would not have much of a choice at all.
- The Bruins, meanwhile, are making no lineup changes if their practice lines are any indication.
I know all of British Columbia is ready to party. But I suspect the Bruins will bring them all back down to earth yet. If Vancouver can get their PP untracked, they could take advantage. A 2-0 series lead would be tremendous. A 1-1 series tie is more likely.