No. 3 (East) BOSTON BRUINS (46-25-11) vs. No. 1 (West) VANCOUVER CANUCKS (54-19-9)

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Boston beat No. 6 Montreal 4-3, No. 2 Philadelphia 4-0 and No. 5 Tampa Bay 4-3. Vancouver beat No. 8 Chicago 4-3, No. 5 Nashville 4-2 and No. 2 San Jose 4-1.

PLAYOFF HISTORY: First meeting.

REGULAR SEASON: The Canucks hosted the lone meeting between these teams and lost 3-1 on Feb. 26.

BOSTON: Vancouver native Milan Lucic scored the go-ahead goal in the Bruins’ win over the Canucks this season. If the Bruins win the Cup, the Boston area will have claimed the championship in all four major North American sports leagues since 2005: New England Patriots (2005); Boston Red Sox (2007); Boston Celtics (2008). … The Bruins are in the finals for the first time since 1990 and are seeking their first Stanley Cup title since 1972. Boston is 0-5 in the finals since its last championship, losing to Canadian clubs four times — twice each against Edmonton and Montreal. … Nathan Horton keeps showing that he’s quite comfortable in the NHL playoffs despite making his first career appearance. Horton had three goals and four assists in the East finals, and eight goals and nine assists overall in 18 postseason games. David Krejci has a team-high 10 goals and is tied with Horton for the club lead with 17 points. … Tim Thomas carries a 2.29 goals-against average into the finals, the same number as Vancouver counterpart Roberto Luongo. Thomas’ save percentage over the Bruins’ 18 playoff games is .929, slightly higher than Luongo’s .922. Thomas has been Boston’s only goalie in this postseason.

VANCOUVER: Making their first finals appearance since losing to the New York Rangers in 1994, the Canucks are shooting for their first Stanley Cup title in their third trip. Vancouver is also carrying the hopes of a country. No Canadian club has won the Stanley Cup since Montreal in 1993, going 0 of 4 since. … The Canucks could get a huge boost if faceoff specialist and noted penalty-killer Manny Malhotra rejoins the lineup. Malhotra was medically cleared to play this week, 10 weeks after a deflected puck struck his left eye March 6 and almost cost him his vision. … Defenseman Kevin Bieksa emerged as a key yet unlikely, offensive star in the West finals with four goals and an assist, including the winner in overtime of Game 5 that sent the Canucks to the Cup finals. … Roberto Luongo allowed 13 goals in the five-game series against San Jose and will be looking to win the Cup in the same arena in which he backstopped Canada to Olympic gold last year.

PREDICTION: Canucks end long wait for themselves and all of Canada. Boston’s title drought marches on. Canucks in 7.