The Vancouver Canucks were the NHL's best team during the regular season. They're giving the San Jose Sharks, the second-best team in the West, a good look at why.
The Canucks are halfway to their first visit to the Stanley Cup Final since 1994 after pummeling the Sharks 7-3 on Wednesday before a gleeful crowd of 18,860 at Rogers Arena. Offense, defense, special teams, discipline -- you name the area and the Canucks were better.
The teams take Thursday off to travel to Northern California for Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals, and the Sharks know they'd better improve their game in all areas if they want to avoid coming up short of the Final for the second year in a row.
The Boston Bruins, who haven't been to the Final since 1990, got even with Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference Finals with a 6-5 win Tuesday. The series moves to Tampa for Game 3 on Thursday (8 p.m. ET, Versus, TSN, RDS).
In the meantime, here's your daily NHL.com Reading List, a set of quick links to some of the stories you won't want to miss:
Bieksa comes up big
Kevin Bieksa is the proud owner of a Gordie Howe hat trick -- a goal, an assist and a fight, with Patrick Marleau, in Vancouver's Game 2 win. But as Dan Rosen reports, big nights are something coach Alain Vigneault has come to expect from Bieksa, especially during the playoffs.
Higgins turns into a big contributor
The trade that brought Chris Higgins to Vancouver from Florida at the trade deadline was one of those deals that tend to fly under the radar -- but it's paying big dividends for the Canucks during the playoffs. Dan Rosen was among those who spoke with Higgins after he scored a goal and added a pair of assists in Vancouver's big win in Game 2.
Scrap causes stir
Patrick Marleau hadn't had a fight in more than three years. But there he was, throwing (and catching) them with Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa. Dhiren Mahiban reports on the fight, its aftermath and how it affected Game 2.
Thomas rewards Bruins' faith
Boston goaltender Tim Thomas won't win any style points for his play. But as he showed in the Bruins' 6-5 win against Tampa Bay in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, he usually finds a way to keep more pucks out of the net than his opposite number. Shawn P. Roarke looks at how Thomas' willingness to battle has reaffirmed the Bruins' faith in him, while David Kalan gets some insights on Thomas from Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick, Thomas' teammate on the U.S. Olympic Team last year.
Lightning has to regroup
After winning eight games in a row, the Tampa Bay Lightning are entering Game 3 against Boston coming off a loss. Corey Masisak looks at how the team is regrouping after its first loss in nearly a month as it prepares to host Game 3.
Roloson getting better with age
At 41, Dwayne Roloson has carried the Tampa Bay Lightning into the Eastern Conference Finals with some of the best play of his career. So how does a 41-year-old do it? Emily Kaplan gets some insights on Roloson from Matt Moulson, who was Roloson's teammate with the Islanders until a midseason deal sent Roloson to Tampa Bay.