HNIC Star Selector - Conference Finals - Canucks vs Sharks

It will be a completely different looking San Jose Shark team tonight when the puck drops for Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals.  With an extra day of rest, some much needed preparation time, and a very effective up tempo practice yesterday San Jose is in a much better position to compete against the top seeded Vancouver Canucks.  San Jose appeared to run out of steam during the third period in their game 1 loss which isn't a surprise considering their tough seven game series against Detroit.  Given the importance of tonight's contest expect a very physical, emotionally charged effort led by centre, and best player, Joe Thornton.

Historically, game 2 has been Vancouver's playoffs Achilles heal.  Dating back to the 2002-03 season the Canucks have posted an underwhelming 4 - 7 game 2 series record including this years second round loss to Nashville.  Vancouver has the opportunity tonight to grab a stranglehold on the Western Conference Final and I expect them to play with a tremendous amount of energy and poise.  A key match up advantage for the Canucks comes from the lack of shut down defensemen on the San Jose roster and coincidentally the Sedin twins played their most effective playoff contests to date when not competing against the tandems of Seabrook & Keith or Weber & Suter.  Look for the back to back Art Ross trophy winning brothers to lead the Vancouver offensive attack.

Star Selector's should however look to load up with San Jose Sharks for the first period.  This isn't to suggest that I think the Sharks are going to win tonight (my call by the way is a 4 - 2 Vancouver) but rather my inclination that they will look to quiet the Rogers Centre Crowd with an aggressive first period effort.  Strategically, I would consider starting Roberto Luongo given the amount of shots I think he will face in the opening frame as well as adding a couple of multi star selector point producing players (those that do more than score points through goals and assists) to compliment Joe Thornton, my captain pick for tonight's game.  If and when Vancouver survives the first period adjust your roster accordingly by adding Daniel and Henrik Sedin.

Star Selector Starting Five:
Joe Thornton - Captain
Roberto Luongo
Ryan Clowe
Dan Boyle
Devin Setoguchi

Thanks for reading and I look forward to competing against you on Star Selector tonight!

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