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Tampa Bay Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) (Chris O'Meara/AP)
Tampa Bay Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) (Chris O'Meara/AP)

JAMES MIRTLE

Rating the NHL conference finalists Add to ...

BOSTON

Offence (3.5): A goals-by-committee cast that will miss the contributions of centre Patrice Bergeron (concussion) but can still be a handful at even strength.

Defence (4.5): The key is captain Zdeno Chara, who is plus-11 after 10 games and will log close to 30 minutes a night.

Special teams (2.5): With Tomas Kaberle struggling to make an impact, the power play has been an abysmal 5.4 per cent. Boston's penalty kill is only average.

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Goaltending (5): Tim Thomas put up an NHL record .938 save percentage during the regular season and has kept that up in the playoffs.

TAMPA BAY

Offence (4): The Lightning boast three elite offensive players in Steve Stamkos, Marty St. Louis and Vinny Lecavalier but have advanced in large part due to unexpected contributions from their depth.

Defence (3.5): Big but not particularly mobile, they rely on coach Guy Boucher's stifling 1-3-1 system to shutdown the opposition.

Special teams (4.5): One of the top teams in the East on both special teams all year, they've been dominant in the postseason.

Goaltending (4): Dwayne Roloson, 41, has been incredible to date, but can he maintain this pace? He's outperformed his regular-season numbers considerably.

VANCOUVER

Offence (4): An elite offensive team when firing on all cylinders, the Canucks need more from the Sedin twins in Round 3.

Defence (4.5): Showed during their second-round series against the Nashville Predators they can play and win tight games.

Special teams (5): Finished the regular season first on the power play and tied for second on the penalty kill.

Goaltending (3.5): For all his credentials, Roberto Luongo remains a bit of a wildcard. He could win or lose the series for Vancouver.

SAN JOSE

Offence (4.5): The deepest group of forwards in the league, the Sharks are led by a suddenly very different and determined Joe Thornton.

Defence (4): An underrated top four that relies heaviest on the top pairing of Dan Boyle and the big, mean Douglas Murray.

Special teams (4): Five Sharks forwards had nine or more power play goals this season, but the penalty kill struggled at times this season and could be vulnerable.

Goaltending (3.5): Antti Niemi won the Stanley Cup a year ago behind a powerhouse Chicago Blackhawks team but has been only average in these playoffs.

Follow on Twitter: @mirtle

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