x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Boston and Vancouver leagues ahead of rest

Game 7 between the Boston Bruins and the Vancouver Canucks will be the decider. There is also a reason they are in the finals — the two simply have the best players in the NHL.

There is little argument that the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks deserve to be battling for the NHL championship.

Between the two teams, they have the scoring leader in the regular season (Vancouver's Daniel Sedin) and play-offs (Boston's David Krejci or Vancouver's Henrik Sedin), the post-season MVP as well as the potential regular-season MVP (Daniel Sedin), the Vezina Trophy winner (Boston's Tim Thomas or Vancouver's Roberto Luongo), the Norris Trophy recipient (Boston's Zdeno Chara) and arguably the best coach (Vancouver's Alain Vigneault).

That is an impressive amount of hardware for two teams to have cornered in a 30-club league.

And behind each cast of stars is a stellar support group.

For the Canucks, there is Alex Burrows, Mason Raymond and Manny Malhotra, and the best and deepest defence corps in the league, led by Dan Hamhuis and Kevin Bieksa.

The Bruins have the two-way excellence of Patrice Bergeron, and young forwards such as Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton, Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin are mentored by 43-year-old Mark Recchi.

There is a reason the Bruins and Canucks won their respective divisions, survived the play-off gauntlet and battled each other to a do-or-die Game 7.

It is almost a shame it all comes down to one contest, that one team's season will not be given a full grade, because of the outcome of one, final game.