It doesn't matter how you got here; it just matters that you're here.
For the Vancouver Canucks, the proverbial "here" is one game away from the Stanley Cup, after their Game 5 win over the Boston Bruins in the Finals on Friday night. And the last time they came this close, the New York Rangers derailed their dream. The difference is that this time, they hold the upper hand.
And yet, this series is still defined by their opponent, the Bruins. They're still the team that's dictating the pace of play. They're still slowing down the vaunted Canuck attack, including nullifying Daniel Sedin (this year's likely MVP) and Henrik Sedin (last year's MVP). They're still shutting down the Vancouver power play, and the inept Boston power play is probably what has cost them the series to this point.
Vancouver's wins all featured third-period or overtime heroics in one-goal victories. Boston's wins were both blowouts -- in fact, Vancouver could theoretically win the Stanley Cup and not come close to Boston's goal total.
But it doesn't matter how you got here; it just matters that you're here.
In each series, both teams usually throw in at least one stinker of a game. It's just the nature of a long series, and that sometimes comes from anywhere: a goaltender having an off night, weird bounces working against a team, or just a total team collapse. IF you like to play the odds, then you have to say that in a twisted way, Boston's steady play actually works in Vancouver's favor. In terms of pure series numbers, if you're assuming that each team usually has one brain-cramp game in a series, then Boston's due -- and Vancouver only has to win one of two.
At the same time, we still haven't seen the best of the Canucks. Can we play the entire series with Vancouver being totally shut down while Boston plays near-perfect defense? Probably not, which means that Vancouver's got to be feeling pretty good about themselves right now.
Of course, things don't always go according to script, and the last thing the Canucks can do is relax. There was a lot of talk at the end of the San Jose series about the hockey gods being on the side of the Canucks. Considering just how Boston's tough defensive play has held the Canucks in check each game, perhaps there is a little bit of hockey mojo smiling down on the boys in blue and green.
Or perhaps it's as simple as Boston's power play failed them when given the chance, as it's done during the entire playoffs. Whatever the case, it doesn't matter how you got here; it just matters that you're here.
The NHL loves to say that history will be made. If the Vancouver Canucks win one of the next two games, then history will be more than made -- the history of 1994's heartbreaking loss to the New York Rangers will also be erased.
The Stanley Cup Finals are ongoing, as the Vancouver Canucks battle the Boston Bruins. Stick with this StoryStream for full coverage of Game 5. For coverage on the Finals, stick with our Stanley Cup Finals hub, our Canucks blog, Nucks Misconduct, and our Bruins blog, Stanley Cup of Chowder.