Boston Bruins or Vancouver Canucks Will (Most Likely) Set NHL Record In Game 7

With the Boston Bruins tearing through the Vancouver Canucks (yet again) at TD Garden Monday night, it sets up a textbook Game 7 on Wednesday night at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. On the line: the Stanley Cup.

But regardless of who wins, a record will most likely be set — which record that is, however, will vary based on the final score. As of the end of Game 6, the goal differential is plus-12 for the Boston Bruins (Bruins: 19 GF, Canucks: 8 GF).  If the Boston Bruins win the Stanley Cup by at least two goals in Game 7, they will have a goal differential of at least plus-13, which would tie the record for largest goal differential for a Stanley Cup champion. Ironically, the team they would tie is the 1970 Boston Bruins, who defeated a terribly inferior St. Louis Blues squad, one who was still struggling after 1967 NHL Expansion. That Bruins team outscored the Blues 20 to 7.

If the Vancouver Canucks win, they will become just the fourth team in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup while having a negative goal differential (unless they happen to win Game 7 12-0). However, they will most likely become the Stanley Cup champion with the lowest goal differential, after the 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins were outscored 18 to 14 by the Detroit Red Wings, whom they would defeat in Game 7 by one goal.

For your statistics pleasure, here is the list of smallest and largest goal differentials for Stanley Cup champions in NHL history, and even beforehand in Stanley Cup challenges (for all your hockey history nuts out there)!

Smallest Goal Differentials for Stanley Cup Champions

2009 Pittsburgh Penguins – outscored 18-14 by the Detroit Red Wings

2004 Tampa Bay Lightning – outscored 14-13 by the Calgary Flames

1928 New York Rangers – outscored 6-5 (in a five-game series) by the Montreal Maroons

Biggest Goal Differentials for Stanley Cup Champions

1970 Bruins outscored the St. Louis Blues 20-7 (13)

1990 Oilers outscored the Boston Bruins 20-8 (12)

1991 Penguins outscored the Minnesota North Stars 28-16 (12)

1996 Avalanche outscored the Florida Panthers 15-3 (12)

Others (Pre-NHL):

1900 Montreal Shamrocks (CAHL) outscored Halifax Crescents (HCHL) 21-2 (two games)

1904 Ottawa HC (CAHL) outscored Toronto Marlboros (OHL) 17-5 (two games)

1905 Ottawa HC (FAHL) outscored Dawson City Nuggets (FAHL) 32-4 (two games)

1906 Ottawa HC (ECAHA) outscored Queen’s University (OHA) 28-14 (two games)

1906 Montreal Wanderers (ECAHA) outscored New Glasgow (Amateur) 17-5 (two games)

1908 Montreal Wanderers (ECAHA) outscored Ottawa Victorias (FAHL) 22-4 (two games)

1908 Montreal Wanderers (ECAHA) outscored Winnipeg Maple Leafs (MHL) 20-8 (two games)

1912 Quebec Bulldogs (NHA) outscored the Moncton Victorias (NHA) 17-3 (two games)

1915 Vancouver Millionaires (PCHA) outscored the Ottawa Senators (NHA) 26-8 (three games)

1917 Seattle Metropolitans (PCHA) outscored the Montreal Canadiens (NHA) 23-11 (four games)

1918 Toronto Maple Leafs (NHA) – outscored 21-18 (five games) by the Vancouver Millionaires (PCHA)

Alan Bass, a writer for The Hockey News and THN.com, is the author of The Great Expansion: The Ultimate Risk That Changed The NHL Forever. He has worked for the Philadelphia Flyers’ Fan Development department, going to schools throughout the tri-state area to teach about fitness and the importance of teamwork. He is the General Manager of the Muhlenberg College Division II hockey team as well. You can contact him at Alanbasswriting@aol.com.

2011 NHL Draft Prospects: No. E1 Adam Larsson

It’s not often that a defenseman goes first overall in the NHL Entry Draft. After all, forwards are often more valuable to a team than defensemen, specifically when there is a possibility of a player like Sean Couturier or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins becoming a perennial 90-point scorer.

But when scouts are mentioning the possibility of a certain prospect becoming the next Nicklas Lidstrom, teams are going to stop and reconsider.

“I don’t remember anyone at his age coming into the Swedish elite league and moving right onto the first line, playing so much and so well,” said Hakan Andersson, head European scout for the Detroit Red Wings, of Skelleftea HC star defenseman Adam Larsson. “And that he did it as a defenseman is so much tougher. I don’t know that he’s better with the puck than [Erik] Karlsson or [Oliver] Ekman-Larsson, but he’s a notch above them with his physical game. I like him [as a prospect] even more than Hedman. And everything I hear from people who know him is that he’s a first-rate character guy.”

Although his offensive statistics don’t blow anyone away (nine points this season in 37 games, 17 points last season in 49 games), it’s his all-around game that impresses the scouts. After all, Pavel Datsyuk scored just eight points in 24 games in his draft year in Russia’s Elite League, yet has risen to become one of the best players in the world.

“This guy’s puck game, power play-type game, is way ahead of Hedman’s at this age,” one scout from an Eastern Conference team told NHL.com. “His puck game has always been the same. He’s a cool customer again out there. That’s his forte. He just never panics. He is just such a big, thick kid already at his age.”

“He is a leader on and off the ice,” NHL Director of European Scoring Goran Stubb told NHL.com. “A big, strong, all-round top prospect who we will most probably rank as No. 1 in Europe. He has excellent hockey sense, size and strength. He is dominating the game when on ice. He has a very high overall skill level, is a great playmaker and uses his size and strength very well. In other words, a more or less complete package and a new Hedman.”

The 6-foot-3, 200-pound right-handed shooter is a safe bet to at least be drafted third overall, at worst. His skating is among the best in the world, while his size and hockey sense contribute to his amazing defensive play. He’ll never be leading NHL defensemen in scoring, but he’s solid enough to confidently lead a power play unit, in addition to challenging NHL superstars for the annual plus/minus lead. He could be a franchise defenseman for any team that drafts him.

“He’s real smart,” said former teammate Magnus Paajarvi in an interview with NHL.com. “One time he’s there, the next time he’s another way. You can’t (predict) him, he’s all over the place. He’s very good with the puck, never makes a mistake. Great on the power play, great in (the penalty kill) box, as well. I think he’s going to be a real good defenseman in the future.

“I believe Adam Larsson is a little bit better with puck handling, but Victor Hedman has the physique, he’s bigger and he uses that to take the puck away from the opponents. Adam is a little bit better on the power play, better with the puck, but Victor is better defensively.”

“I like him for the completeness of his game,” NHL Network analyst Craig Button said. “He’s a guy that can play defensively. He’s got the size and poise defensively, but offensively, he knows how to create chances. He’s got a great shot, he can pass the puck and jump into the attack. He can make good decisions and, for an 18-year-old defenseman, sometimes you’re looking for that player who has to make better decisions. I really like the way he gets himself into position defensively and offensively, and he can control the game. Those types of players, who can play a lot of minutes, are hard to find.”

“Physically, he’s there, he’s very mature for his age. Mentally, if he made mistakes, he understood and got better,” said Edmonton Oilers prospect Brad Moran in an interview with Edmonton Journal writer Jim Matheson. “He’s a really good kid. He’s pretty quiet, but he loves to play. He’d practice with us in the morning and at night he’d be on a sheet playing shinny. That’s something, as a pro, you don’t see a lot of.”

Fortunately for the Edmonton Oilers, they might be seeing a lot of him over the next decades if he becomes the league’s next first overall pick.

Alan Bass, a writer for The Hockey News and THN.com, is the author of The Great Expansion: The Ultimate Risk That Changed The NHL Forever. He has worked for the Philadelphia Flyers’ Fan Development department, going to schools throughout the tri-state area to teach about fitness and the importance of teamwork. He is the General Manager of the Muhlenberg College Division II hockey team as well. You can contact him at Alanbasswriting@aol.com.

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