This isn't a post to depress you or bemoan the past, its a call to arms.
The Boston Bruins have accomplished a major psychological victory. Boston felt challenged in the first two games, and rightfully so as their players except one man did not play hockey. However the Canucks were no better really. A reliance on lucky moments to turn the tide marked both efforts. Now the series has taken a whole new flavour. The Bruins are a chippy (cheap?) team whose skill players often are nowhere to be seen but one thing they have is a hot goalie. One which Vancouver has taken great pains not to challenge effectively. What Thomas has done cannot be underestimated, or underplayed. He has been the man to rally round, he kept them in the first two games, and kept the Canucks out of the last two. Much like an old infantry regiment in battle line, he's held the centre from falling, and kept the colours raised when everyone else was breaking and confused.
The Canucks strategies leave much to be desired in countering the Bruins. Thomas is aggressively playing against Vancouver's forwards, challenging them and cutting angles down with Eulicidian precision. Vancouver simply does not use traffic and presence close to the net effectively enough to negate Thomas' aggressive style of play. Rebounds Thomas leaves to fall or ricochet around are often surrounded by black and yellow quicker then Vancouver's forwards can get in to dig and Vancouver is losing the physical battles for puck possession down low too often. The Bruins have realized time and space for Vancouver's talented forwards is certain death to them but a rough style which denies them space, and keeps pressure on them to prevent easy or pretty plays holds them off, and unbalances them. Quite simply, the Bruins have used their muscle to best effect The Sedins especially it seems do not know how to handle a physical opponent who is prepared to play mean and dirty, they often seem to be appealing to higher authority when slew foots, cheap shots or cross checks ensue. God does not call penalties, and Vancouver's reputation among the league as a team of acrobatic divers means referees are often sharing the same opinion as the divinity. Kesler, for his consistent Superman status through the last three series has appeared to become all too human at the exact moment the Man of Steel he can be is most needed. I admit to my man crush on Kesler, but his drop in play as a dominant force leads me to believe the injury sustained in Game 5 was more serious than is being let on. Without his example of courage, skill and leadership the team seems to be adrift. Relying on the Sedins for leadership in a physical game is like trusting chickens to scare off foxes.
The series is now a best of three. Vancouver has in the words of the Joker "had their balls drop off" and Boston has like all good underdogs learned to win because they've been given their storyline of losing to a superior foe for so long they have nothing to lose by fighting. The city after Game 2 was as close to full on insane energy as Vancouver can be, after Game 3 you could tell people were still counting on deliverance in five, now it feels like a critical moment has hit for the team and her fans in the city. There will be no easy breaths for 48 hours. If there was ever a time to rally and push back the black and yellow, it would be on Friday in Rogers Arena. Maybe the Canucks would benefit from considering themselves the underdogs from here on in, because in this fan's eyes, they are.
So the question is Canucks, do you got enough left to fight the future, to fight your fate? To exorcise the demons again? Canucks, I can see your apocalypse written on the ice you skate now. You got any heroes of the present around who want to become legends? Who want to be immortalized in silver? Who want to turn the tide, and stand with glory and victory? I want to see some real life heroics. The stage is set, your enemy has just taken two of your close wins and made them simply count to equal his advantage, they've battered your skill players into submission and out fought your fighting lines. You've made every heart on Granville Street stop beating, prevented many a drunken hookup by giving us nothing to kiss about and made the city remember the cold sweats we had during the Chicago series. You wanted to feel fear and desperation? Here it is in spades, learn from it. Earn your glory Canucks, it will not be given to you. The choice to fight and claim that prize is yours. Game 5 could have been one of those madness celebrations. Now it's about staying alive. Knife fight is on boys, bring your blades!