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VANCOUVER (Reuters) - The Vancouver Canucks will have to shake some rust off their skates when they finally take to the ice on Wednesday against the Boston Bruins in the NHL's Stanley Cup championship.
It will have been eight days since Vancouver won the Western Conference title against San Jose as they had to wait for Boston to win the Eastern Conference and for the NHL to accommodate television schedule demands and arena conflicts.
Boston last played on Friday when they beat Tampa Bay.
"It definitely was a long stretch between games," said Vancouver defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, who used the break to recover from an injury he suffered against San Jose.
"We tried our best to stay focused. We had some good practices, and we've got to be ready once the puck is dropped tomorrow," Ehrhoff told reporters on Tuesday.
The Canucks and Bruins rarely play each other in the regular season, with Boston winning the only contest they had this year.
Both teams admit the first game will be a learning process.
"Maybe early in game one you will see it from both teams, a little bit of a feeling-out process where will try to get our legs under us and get a feel for them because we really don't know a lot about each other," said Cory Schneider, Vancouver's backup goaltender.
Vancouver features a high-powered offense with Swedish twins Henrik and Daniel Sedin, but the Canucks also face major obstacles in Boston's veteran goaltender Tim Thomas and Boston's tough defense.
Alex Burrows, who is matched with the Sedins on the top line says they know Thomas will make plenty of dramatic saves, so the key to beating him will be to put traffic in front of the net.
"We just have to keep getting pucks on net and going to the net to make sure he stays in blue paint so it is tougher for him to stop pucks because he likes to challenge a lot," Burrows said.
Vancouver had the best record of the regular season, but the franchise has never won a Stanley Cup in their 40 years in the NHL. Their last trip to the final round was 17 years ago.
Editing by Ian Ransom