Five reasons why Canucks will win Cup

As the playoffs have progressed, the Canucks have improved with each and every series. (Eric...

As the playoffs have progressed, the Canucks have improved with each and every series. (Eric Bolte/QMI Agency Files)

Mike Zeisberger, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:44 PM ET

VANCOUVER - Five reasons why the Vancouver Canucks can bring the Stanley Cup back to Canada for the first time in 18 years.

1. HOME-ICE ADVANTAGE

Under normal circumstances, it could be argued that home-ice advantage is negligible in the postseason, a time when home players often press too hard in order to please their rabid fans. But, given the fact that three of the past four Canadian participants in the Stanley Cup final stretched their respective series to a seventh game, only to lose the decisive tilt on the road, well, at least the Canucks know a potential Game 7 would take place at the friendly confines of Rogers Arena.

If you ask members of the '94 Canucks, '04 Flames and '06 Oilers -- all teams that watched their opponents hoist the Cup on home ice -- it is a definite advantage for the 2011 Canucks to hold the home-ice hammer.

2. LIKE A FINE WINE, GETTING BETTER WITH AGE

As the playoffs have progressed, the Canucks have improved with each and every series. In the first round, they needed overtime in Game 7 to finally upend the defending-champion Blackhawks. In the second round, they disposed of the feisty Predators in six. And, in the Western Conference final, just five games were required to bounce the Sharks. Given that they've needed one less game to advance with each series, does that math mean they'll sweep the Bruins in four? Not necessarily. But it does suggest the Canucks are peaking at the right time.

3. LOUIE FINALLY WON SOMETHING

No, Roberto Luongo has never won a Stanley Cup ring. At the same time, he knows what it's like to shoulder the pressure of an entire fan base -- not to mention an entire country -- when everything is on the line. Fifteen months ago, Luongo was the winning goalie for Canada at the Olympics, playing in the same rink where the 2011 Stanley Cup final will begin Wednesday evening. Luongo was shaky at the Olympics, but he managed to avoid committing the huge gaffe that would have transformed him into one of Canada's most notorious scapegoats, like Tommy Salo was for Sweden in 2002. That's got to count for something.

4. SWEDE SENSATIONS

After two stinky rounds, the Sedin twins finally showed up in the Western Conference final against the Sharks. If they show the same dominance against the Bruins, Boston could be in trouble.

5. SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE

Yes, the Canucks have come up short in their only two visits to the big dance. But that's nothing compared to the Stanley Cup final struggles of the Bruins, who have lost their previous five appearances in the final. That is the type of stat Canucks coach Alain Vigneaut will be preaching to his players.

Besides, 18 years without a Canadian team bringing the Cup to Canada is long enough, don't you think?

mike.zeisberger@sunmedia.ca


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