As the days pass, we get closer and closer to knowing who the two representatives in each conference will be with a chance to capture Lord Stanley's Cup for the 2010-11 season.
With two teams recently grabbing the third win in their respective conference finals series, it certainly looks like each has a stranglehold on getting a shot at Stanley Cup glory. On Sunday, the Vancouver Canucks took control of their series, going up 3-1 on the San Jose Sharks, while the Boston Bruins held serve at home on Monday, grabbing a 3-2 lead on the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Canucks will have a chance at putting away the Sharks for good on Tuesday night at home. Sunday proved to be quite the debacle for the Sharks, with penalties costing them mightily in the 4-2 loss at the Tank. To this point in the series, each game has been decided by the more mature team that can avoid the costly penalties, which they did not do on Sunday.
If the Sharks do want to win, along with avoiding penalties, they'll need a pair of key players to show up to stave off elimination.
Joe Thornton will be in the lineup, despite his shoulder injury that caused him to leave Sunday's loss. Thornton sustained the injury in a shoulder-to-shoulder hit by, who else, Vancouver goon Raffi Torres. The Sharks will need a strong showing from an injured Thornton, but will need even more from Dany Heatley, who has disappeared completely in this postseason for San Jose.
The former perennial All Star has just three goals in these playoffs for San Jose, and has just one point in this Vancouver series, with just a lone assist coming in Game 2. With the Sharks in a 3-1 hole, the odds are certainly against them, but we've seen Vancouver blow bigger leads in this postseason.
The Bruins, on the other hand, will have the day off Tuesday before taking a shot at clinching a Cup finals berth on Wednesday. After some less-than-impressive performances early from Tim Thomas in the postseason for Boston, it was Thomas that stole the show against the Bolts on Monday night.
The Vezina Trophy candidate made 33 saves, allowing just one goal, and made what is probably the save of this postseason on Tampa's Steve Downie, robbing the Lightning of the equalizer and sending Doc Emrick into a frenzy. Not that it takes a world class save to do that.
Be sure to stay tuned, as Versus brings you both of the possible elimination games, with two storied squads looking to clinch a berth into the Stanley Cup finals.