Five Burning questions

RYAN PYETTE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:24 AM ET

1. WHO HAS THE BEST GOALTENDING?

Heading into the series, it's London. Trevor Cann has wins in eight of nine playoff games and outdueled Erie's Jaroslav Janus in Round 1 and highly touted NHL prospect Eddie Pasquale of Saginaw in Round 2. Windsor's netminding has been under fire, especially in a six-game semifinal against Plymouth. Big over-ager Andrew Engelage won a league-record 46 regular season games and closed out the series against the Whalers. If Engelage can't do it, Windsor turns to Chicago prospect Josh Unice. He backed the Kitchener Rangers to the Memorial Cup final last spring after Mason was hurt.

2. WILL HOME ICE EVEN MATTER?

London captain Scott Aarssen has known nothing but the security blanket of home-ice advantage in every OHL series he has played. In fact, the Knights haven't been the lower-ranked team in any series since the 2003 playoffs. "We know we have to steal one in Windsor no matter what to win the series and why not the first one? If we get it early, we put the pressure on them," Aarssen said. The only time London beat Windsor this year it was at the WFCU Centre. The Spitfires won all three tilts at the JLC.

3. WILL THEY PLAY THE FIGHTING GAME?

Everyone knows it -- this could get ugly. In the first round, the Knights found an Erie team ready to roughhouse and everybody went bonkers in Game 3. The league brass had to issue a warning about hits from behind. Windsor, the OHL's most penalized team, just finished playing Plymouth, No. 2 in time served in the sin bin. There were line brawls, running the goalie penalties and suspensions. The Knights counter with the league's penalty king -- hardhitting Zac Rinaldo. Big Mike Yovanic and Garett Hunter are back skating in practice. Windsor will miss heavyweight Richard Greenop for the first four games of the series. He received a stiff suspension for bullying. "There's probably going to be more fireworks," Aarssen said. "We're expecting a physical series. They have some more fighters on their team. Erie played physical but they (Saginaw) weren't really that kind of team. (After the Leigh Salters-Ryan Schnell marathon bout in Game 2) that was it for that stuff."

4. WHOSE EX-RANGERS ARE BETTER?

The Knights wouldn't be where they are right now without trading Steve Mason last year for Nazem Kadri, Phil Varone and Steve Tarasuk. Varone leads the team with eight goals and 16 points. Kadri has eight goals and 15 points on the same line. Tarasuk adds critical depth to London's back end. The Spits added former Kitchener goalie Josh Unice, two-way guy Scott Timmins and defenceman Ben Shutron at the trade deadline. That gave Windsor three guys who had just won an OHL title and added serious depth to their roster. Of course, the Knights responded with a blockbuster deal with Oshawa for John Tavares (who Timmins will no doubt see a lot of in this series), Michael Del Zotto and goalie Daryl Borden, who can spell Trevor Cann up to seven games before his Brantford Golden Eagles finish up their Sutherland Cup pursuit.

5. WHO WILL GET OUTCOACHED?

Bob Boughner doesn't have eight seasons of experience behind an OHL bench like Dale Hunter does and he's 10 years younger, but he has the hardware. The Spits boss is the reigning Canadian Hockey League coach of the year. Hunter won it in 2004 -- the season before the Knights captured the Memorial Cup. Right away, Hunter thrived with an underdog Knights squad, winning playoff rounds no one expected. He's an underdog again -- at least for one round. He's not afraid to try unique approaches, like sitting out star forward Kadri to get the team's attention. Boughner's rise, meanwhile, has been meteoric. Since buying in with GM Warren Rychel and Peter Dobrich three years ago, the Spits have gone from non-factor to league power thanks to shrewd drafting and development. They might even be better next season. But this is new territory for the club. Windsor hasn't been to the conference final since 2002. London has been there five times in that same stretch.


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