Best of one
It's generally acknowledged that the Stanley Cup is the most difficult trophy to win in professional sports. For a team to hoist the Cup, they have to play an 82-game season and finish no lower than eighth in the conference standings. They must then win four best-of-seven series.
Playoff hockey is almost like a different game. It's faster and more intense. Sudden death overtime periods are up to a full 20 minutes long, with no shootouts. Hits are harder, and thus often injuries are more serious. And any injury might deprive a team of a key player. There is little margin for error. Skill tends to win World Cups and Olympic gold medals. To win the Stanley Cup takes skill plus seemingly superhuman endurance.
Teams that finish well in the standings don't necessarily do well in the playoffs. Some teams have that "extra gear" and some don't. Some can shift into playoff mode, whereas others seem not to be able to. That was the Canucks in recent years—doing very well during the regular season, but surviving one round, if that, of the playoffs.
This year was different. In typical Canucks fashion, they let the Chicago Blackhawks take the series all the way to seven games after beating them in the first three. These lads always like to do things the hard way, but in the end they advanced. They played more solidly against a grinding Nashville Predators team, and then looked like winners as they dispatched the San Jose Sharks.
Now it's down to one final game in Rogers Arena. Despite kicking Canuck ass all over TD Garden (ironically, named for a Canadian bank that is making inroads into the United States), the Bruins have not had much traction in Vancouver, and the Canucks have looked strong. Tim Thomas had some bad nights against Tampa Bay, but we haven't seen that in this series. Roberto Luongo, however, in contrast to the embarrassments in Boston, has led the Canucks to two shutouts at home and given up only two goals in three games.
This entire crazy metropolitan area hopes it will be "two Sedins, one Cup." Whatever happens, I think I'm done writing about hockey for a while.