Are Canucks Championship-Bound?

"Burrows quickly goes after the puck, the Sedins are coming with him. He shoots, he scores! Alex Burrows, with 19 seconds left in overtime, sends the Vancouver Canucks to the second round of the playoffs!"

Thanks to Alex Burrows' overtime heroics, the Vancouver Canucks completed a first-round sweep of the St. Louis Blues.

The Canucks will now get a chance to sit at home and rest their injured players while waiting for their second-round opponent, who will likely be either the Red Wings, Blackhawks, or Flames.

After neatly dismantling a young Blues team, the question now is, do the Canucks have what it takes to win the Stanley Cup?

There is little doubt that the Canucks have the most potential of any Canadian team left. Montreal, of course, has been eliminated by the Boston Bruins, and Calgary is locked in a close series with the Chicago Blackhawks. While the Flames did win their two games at home to even the series, they have been playing sloppy, most recently blowing a three-goal lead only to narrowly escape with a win. Calgary may not have the discipline to win a championship, making Vancouver the odds-on favorite.

Vancouver is built perfectly for the playoffs. They have a solid defense, and their offense, led by the Sedin twins and Alex Burrows, have already proved that they can get it done when the pressure is on. And, of course, one of the biggest reasons the Canucks have a chance to win it all is Roberto Luongo.

Luongo had another impressive regular season, tallying 33 wins, 9 shutouts, and maintaining and solid save percentage of .920%. If anything, Luongo has raised his play during the postseason. He has yet to lose in the playoffs and boasts a save percentage of .962% and has a goals against average of 1.15. Luongo never allowed more than 2 goals in the series, registered 1 shutout, and carried the Canucks on his back as they easily won the first two games at home and then battled hard to take the next two in St. Louis. If Luongo maintains his high level of play, the Canucks will have a chance to win every night.

However, the biggest challenge for the Vancouver Canucks on their quest to win the Stanley Cup may come from the Detroit Red Wings. If Vancouver wants to make it out of the West, they will likely have to go through the Red Wings to get there. This may prove to be a daunting task as Detroit not only has a potent offense, but Chris Osgood has been playing amazing for the Red Wings in net. For the Canucks to compete with a top-tier team like the Red Wings, they will need not only solid play from Roberto Luongo, but they will also need the Sedin's, along with Alex Burrows, to continue producing goals.

Winning the Stanley Cup has not been easy for Canadian teams. From the 2003-2004 season to 2006-2007 season, one Canadian team made the Stanley Cup Finals. But as we all know the Calgary Flames fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Edmonton Oilers fell to the Carolina Hurricanes, and the Ottawa Senators lost to the Anaheim Ducks. The Canucks will undoubtedly be trying to change this recent trend that has seen Canadian teams fall after coming so close. Vancouver will try to break the "Canadian" curse.

So, do the Canucks have what it takes to win the Stanley Cup?

If Roberto Luongo maintains his high level of play, and Vancouver's suddenly solid offense doesn't stutter, the Canucks should be able to give any team a run for their money in a quest to claim the coveted Stanley Cup.

Jonathan Hamelin contributes articles mainly on the NBA and NFL. Being an avid fan of the Canadian Football League, Jonathan writes two columns on the CFL, Rider Report Card and CFL Buzz.

Comments and Conversation

April 24, 2009

Robert Cheater:

Luongo the best goalie- 4 solid lines- depth on D— How can Canucks not win the Stanley Cup?—-They will in 2009!

April 24, 2009

Jonathan:

I agree. It would be good to see a Canadian team finally win it.

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