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Reading List: Waiting game for Bruins and Canucks

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The Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks are like the rest of us -- they’re taking it easy for the weekend. Both teams are taking a break before they lace up the skates Wednesday night for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

The Bruins might find the rest a little more welcome -- they had to go the full seven games before eliminating Tampa Bay 1-0 on Friday night to earn their first trip to the Final since 1990. The Canucks have been off since completing a five-game victory over the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.

So while you enjoy the weekend (a long holiday weekend in the U.S.), here is your daily NHL.com Reading List, a set of quick links to some of the stories you won't want to miss:

Matching up
The Canucks and Bruins rarely see each other – they played just once this season and only five times in the last seven years. Dan Rosen and Shawn P. Roarke combine to look at how the teams match up offensively, defensively, in goal, on special teams and behind the bench.

Malhotra gets the OK to play
Two months ago, the Vancouver Canucks were telling everyone that Manny Malhotra wouldn’t play again this season after taking a puck in the eye during a game on March 16. But Malhotra began skating couple of weeks ago -- and on Saturday, the Canucks announced that he’s been cleared to play. As Dhiren Mahiban reports, coach Alain Vigneault isn’t saying whether Malhotra will play in Game 1 -- but the Canucks are delighted to have him ready to go.

Canucks ready to face unfamiliar opponent
Like everyone else, the Vancouver Canucks didn’t know who they’d be facing in the Stanley Cup Final until late Friday night. Dhiren Mahiban reports on their reaction to seeing the Bruins, a team they’ve historically struggled against.

Thomas took long route to the Final
Vancouver fans aside, it’s hard not to root for Boston goaltender Tim Thomas. The 37-year-old has taken a circuitous (to say the least) route to the Stanley Cup Final, with stops in three minor leagues, three hitches in Finland and another in Sweden -- and even after winning the Vezina Trophy in 2009, he began this season as a backup. John Kreiser looks at one of the few players who seems to be getting better as he gets older.

Lightning disappointed but proud after playoff run
The Tampa Bay Lightning progressed by leaps and bounds in 2010-11 -- after all, coming within a game of the Stanley Cup Final is pretty good for a team that hadn’t made the playoffs since 2007. Corey Masisak looks at the Lightning’s season, the disappointment of missing a trip to the Final by a single goal -- and some of the moves they’ll need to make to keep going forward.

Nugent-Hopkins is No. 1 -- again
NHL Central Scouting has already anointed Red Deer center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as the top North American prospect in next month’s Entry Draft. On Saturday, the CHL agreed -- Bill Hoppe reports that it named him as the top draft prospect in junior hockey.
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