Three keys to Game 1

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks will take to the ice tonight for Game 1 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Arena. The wait is over. The Bruins are in the final for the first time in 21 years and have a chance to win the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1972.

The Black and Gold enter the series as heavy underdogs but if they want to prove the critics wrong they must start by following these three keys in Game 1:

Set the tone early: The Canucks have been off for a week after clinching the Western Conference with a 3-2 double overtime win over San Jose in the wee hours of May 25. Yes, they’re rested, but they could be rusty as well and the Bruins must find that out by setting the tempo early. Boston must dictate the game to the Canucks and try and take what will be a raucous crowd out of the equation as soon as possible. If they can head to the first intermission with a lead or even tied, they will be in good shape. Setting the tone early will drain the energy out of the Canucks and their fans.

Stay disciplined and control emotions: The emotions and excitement level will be high when Game 1 begins and the Bruins must do their best to stay in control. Of course, they can channel that emotion into motivation and energy. But the Bruins must be sure to keep their emotions in check and not be too aggressive and end up in the penalty box. They don’t want to give Vancouver any chances on the man-advantage where they are scoring at a 28.3 percent clip. The Bruins need to make sure they don’t get carried away in the excitement and spotlight of the game and just play hockey.

Don’t get too caught up with the Sedin twins: Henrik and Daniel Sedin are the most dynamic and talented tandem in the NHL. It would be very easy for the Bruins to just focus their whole game plan around the Sedins and forget about the rest of what is a very deep and skilled Canucks lineup. The Bruins must play their game and not let the Sedin twins determine how they play. There is also Ryan Kesler and plenty of other players in the Canucks’ lineup to worry about, so just revolving your plans around the Sedins won’t beat the Canucks.