Published June 15, 2011
VANCOUVER – What will happen in the final game of the 2010-11 season, Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final?
As they say, it is anybody's guess -- especially given the up-and-down nature of this best-of-7 series. And that is what NHL.com is doing here, providing the best guesses of what will happen Wednesday night at Rogers Arena from its five-man writing staff that has covered this series.
Will Roberto Luongo have another bounce-back performance on home ice? Will the Bruins finally bring their road game across the continent? Can the Canucks' power play finally make a difference? Can Boston get the defensive matchups it wants often enough despite not having last change?
The story will be told during 60 minutes -- perhaps more -- of frenetic action Wednesday night. Until then, here is NHL.com's best guesses at how things might transpire.
Bob Condor -- Vancouver 2, Boston 0
The X factor of which team wins Game 7 seems like anyone's guess. Which Roberto Luongo shows up? Can Tim Thomas remain basically flawless? Is it possible Henrik Sedin can go 0-for-the-Final in the assists category? No question the home crowd helps the Canucks. In the end, what throttles Boston yet again is Vancouver's ability to wipe clean a mental slate that should be nicked, shattered and marred by now -- but isn't because the Canucks (especially the stars and the coach) equate home ice with playing their tempo and having last call on who matches up against the Sedins. Look back to the post-game interviews from Game 6; the Sedins were already erasing the third Boston wipeout from their minds before taking off all of their gear. Call it 2-0 Canucks with Alexandre Burrows getting the first and maybe the other coming by the empty net.
Dave Lozo -- Canucks 3, Bruins 2
After six games of struggling to solve Tim Thomas, the Canucks will finally break through for a bevy of goals in Game 7. Maybe three goals isn't a bevy, but against the likely Conn Smythe winner, who has been nearly unbeatable in this series, it's a flood of offense. Home ice has meant everything in this series, and that's not changing at Rogers Arena. It might not make much sense that Roberto Luongo can be so brilliant at home and so terrible in Boston, but it's time to accept it. The Canucks' power play showed signs of life in Game 6, and it will carry the day and give the franchise its first Stanley Cup. Alexandre Burrows will become the most hated man in Boston when he's credited with the Cup-winning goal.
Corey Masisak -- Vancouver 3, Boston 2
Tim Thomas will be spectacular again and leave no doubt about who deserves the Conn Smythe Trophy, but Boston's desire to ramp up the physical play will lead to more power plays for Vancouver than it has at TD Garden, and it says here the Canucks' power play will spring to life for two goals, including a tie-breaking and Cup-winning tally by Daniel Sedin early in the third period.
Shawn Roarke -- Bruins 3, Vancouver 1
In the end, goalie Tim Thomas proves to be too much for these Vancouver Canucks, making 30-plus saves yet again and finishing his Conn Smythe-winning campaign by allowing just 9 goals in 7 games. At the other end of the ice, Boston uses just enough timely offense to come all the way back in a series in which it faced a two-games-to-none deficit and earns the only road win of the seven-game series at the most critical time. Third-line winger Michael Ryder, who has been quietly efficient this whole Stanley Cup Playoffs, strikes again in the second period to give Boston a 2-0 lead before the teams trade third-period goals.
Dan Rosen -- Boston 2, Vancouver 1
The prevailing opinion is that Tim Thomas has already won the Conn Smythe Trophy. He'll lock it up with another stellar performance in Game 7. The Canucks strike first, but Boston answers quickly and hometown boy Milan Lucic wins it with a goal in the third period. Thomas shuts the door on the Canucks' hopes for their first Stanley Cup by making another 30-plus saves to set the record for most saves in a Stanley Cup Final. He will finish the Final allowing only 9 goals in seven games. All that gets left to the imagination is what Lucic will do with the Cup when he brings it back to Vancouver for his day of glory this summer?