Skip to content

The Boston Bruins are Stanley Cup Champions

June 16, 2011

It still hasn’t hit me yet. It probably won’t for a few days, maybe until the parade. It’s funny because I was welling up with emotion all day long thinking of what could be and what is. I guess it was the way the game unfolded. A first period lead turned into a three-goal advantage in the second period and from there it was all but sealed. There wasn’t a Nathan Horton overtime goal, or even a goal in the last 10 minutes to seal it. If there had been I would have lost it. Definitely. But the last 30 minutes were so decisive, so defensive, such Bruins hockey that it didn’t feel like anything beyond comprehension.

Let’s talk about the game before the fun stuff. In the first period the Bruins struggled mightily to match the Canucks in all aspects. The Canucks were threatening constantly, skating hard, and had the Bruins on the ropes but Tim Thomas played Superman once again and kept the Canucks off the board with some of his sharpest play in the playoffs. Really, the fourth line was the only line worth a damn in the first period. Luckily, something was said in between periods and the rest of the team matched the checking lines intensity.

The second line was dynamite tonight, scoring all four goals and keeping the Canucks top two lines off the score sheet. It was their best line in the regular season and it was their best line when it needed to be. Patrice Bergeron’s first goal was flukey but a great play that really changed the tide. Brad Marchand created the play along the boards, got the D scrambling, and put it in front. Marchand had a three-point night. Not bad for a guy who wasn’t expected to make the team in September. Patrice Bergeron, the guy who has best represented the Bruins this decade had a huge game as well. He potted two goals, the second one on sheer will and was tremendous all night, going a game-high +4. Then there is Mark Recchi. The ageless one went out on top with an assist and had 3-4-7 this series, in his final seven games. And oh my God what if he had scored on that breakaway. He showed legs I didn’t know he still had. That would have been awesome.

Honestly, I bet you the Sedin’s are already over this loss. They certainly played like they didn’t care a bit about the Stanley Cup. Disinterested, shut down, ghost-like all series long. I was a big fan of the Sedin’s before this series but they are two guys I wouldn’t want leading my team to the promised land. They can’t play outside of their game and when they go up against good defensemen they go silent.

Ryan Kesler on the other hand showed me something these last two games. He gets it. I mean he still only managed one point this series and was -6 this series but at least he was skating hard and going for broke. Rip the C off Henrik‘s sweater and put it on Kess’ immediately if you want to change the culture in Vancouver’s room.

You know, I really thought the cheap stuff would stop in Game 7 but it didn’t. Jannik Hansen took a run at Andrew Ference after getting high-sticked by Zdeno Chara, hammering the unsuspecting D-man miles away from the play. There was another hit on Chara by Chris Higgins, what should have been at least a two-minute interference after a huge collision at the blue line, but wasn’t called. Thankfully the Hockey Gods finally intervened and gave the Cup to the deserving team.

So that whole 3-0 collapse thing isn’t as bad in retrospect, huh? The collapse actually helped this team in a perverted way. If they don’t blow that lead they don’t get better, more focused, and better prepared. How good were the Bruins with their back against the wall this postseason with the same group of leaders? It’s pretty easy to see that they probably don’t win this Cup without the collapse of last year.

Also, you can no longer point the finger at Zdeno Chara and say, “he can’t win the big one”. Chara was a revelation all post-season long, posting a playoff high +16. He played through sickness and played against the opposing teams best players in four rounds and came out the resounding victor in each matchup. By the way, the pictures and videos of Chara celebrating are awesome. Maybe better then Sturm Face. Maybe.

Then there’s Dennis Seidenberg. Just as important a defensive asset as Chara. He got more minutes in the playoffs then he did all year and rose to the challenge. He was a force along the boards, sometimes having better games then Chara. I still can’t fathom how this guy bounced around so much before finding a home in Boston. He’s a beast. He’s so strong, so tenacious, so smart, and so hard-working. Along with Krejci, if he was healthy last season there’s no way that team collapses against Philly.

Tim Thomas. What a story. They should make a movie about this guy and it should be narrated by Morgan Freeman. He was a 30-year-old rookie, kind of a sideshow for his incomparable style, then worked his ass off to become a Vezina Trophy winner at 35 and a Conn Smythe winner and Stanley Cup winner at 37. He’s had perhaps the best total season by a goaltender of all-time. Nah, screw that. He’s had the best total season by a goaltender of all-time. That probably sounds ignorant but if someone puts a better, more clutch, important one in front of me I’ll gladly shake their hand.

If there was a rule that the Conn Smythe winner had to go to the winner of the series who the hell would have gotten it in Vancouver? Henrik Sedin had 22 points but was -7, similar stats for Daniel. Ryan Kesler was 7-12-19 +2, so maybe him but none of them did a thing in this series. The three players combined for just six points in the seven-game series.

As my father predicted, the Bruins put The Jacket on the Cup in the room after the game. God, I love that thing. If whoever made the jacket re-released it it would rival the Belichick hoodie as most-coveted ugly sports apparel in New England.

It was also a nice touch to have all the players who didn’t dress to wear their uniforms, even the Black Aces and of course Nathan Horton. The Bruins understand that those players are just as much Bruins as the ones on the ice, whether it be busting their ass in practice, sitting on the 9th floor, or being injured. Lifting the Cup in a suit must just feel lame.

How awesome must it have been for Milan Lucic to lift the cup in his hometown. He got a nice ovation, which was a nice touch by the Vancouver fans, you know, until they burned their city to the ground. He had a good game too, tying together the first line well and skating hard and fast all night long. He’s a big game player folks and he’s two months older than me. I knew there was a reason I bought his Winter Classic jersey.

Speaking of big game players I love Rich Peverley. When Horton went down in Game 3 I was worried that the first line would dissolve into a hapless mix of players trying desperately to plug a big hole and I admit, I initially didn’t think Peverley was the solution. I thought Michael Ryder should have gotten that chance but boy was I wrong. Since Game 3 Peverley netted four points, including two goals in Game 4 when the Bruins turned the series around. His speed, skill and tenacity in all three zones are rare to find at the trade deadline but Peter Chiarelli did. Plus, he had an awesome playoff beard.

Pretty sure Tyler Seguin was one of the last players to lift the Cup and deservedly so. Not because he wasn’t a considerable part of the playoff run but because the damn kid is 19. He didn’t have to wait at all. Mark Recchi had a 15-year gap between cups to put that in perspective.

Bruins were 9-0 when Marchmont scored a goal. Oh yeah, he had 11 in the playoffs. And he’s a rookie. Beyond comprehension.

Just a little more believable, but not much was that David Krejci had 12 goals this playoffs, and was certainly the second best player in the playoffs. He had 13 goals the entire season.

Things that will live on together. The save. and the other save. Michael Ryder, if this is your last game as a Bruin, which it should probably be, I will always look back to that glove save and smile knowing you may have saved the Bruins season, you Newfie bastard.

Team who scored first in the Finals was 7-0.

Whoever shot the puck on Tim Thomas at the end of the game is kind of a jerk and kind of not at the same time. We’ve heard the tale of Chicago’s missing SCF puck but ASSUMING Timmy held on to that thing, the Bruins will have that puck forever. I can only hope that in all the excitement somebody took care of that tiny bit of rubber.

How spoiled am I? I’m 22 and have seen seven championships by Boston teams in my lifetime, all in the last 10 years. There are entire generations of sports fans who haven’t seen one for any of the team’s they love. I’ve seen six by my three most beloved teams. (I could care less about the Celtics, sorry folks)

Cam Neely has got to feel good about finally getting his Cup. He was cut down in his prime by cheapshots and got so close. It’s got to be validating for him (and Don Sweeney) and all the other Bruins who have stayed in the area but couldn’t win it themselves. Red Sox-esque in that fashion.

So how many ‘Fire Claude’ calls will the radio stations get tomorrow? I’m dead serious. I’ll be shocked if there isn’t one. People are that crazy. Someone, I think my Dad, made a great point tonight. Terry Francona wasn’t well liked UNTIL he won the World Series in 2004. It’s hard to think that now but it was. I remember everyone calling him FranCOMA and a lot of people calling for his head.

While we’re on cross-sports talk, how jaded are Boston fans going to be now? The Pats was a nice surprise and I was a little too young to really appreciate it in full (I think I was 12) and it was so unexpected. The Sox championship was perfect, I was 16, had suffered SOME heartbreak by that team and was a seminal moment for all of Boston. After those championships the Boston fan got jaded and expected championships every year. Except the Bruins fan. The only remaining pure fan base of the bunch. Now what the hell do we do now that we’ve lost that yearning? I don’t really care right now because wanting the yearning instead of the hardware is utterly insane but I do wonder how it will change us.

This team was perhaps the best ‘team’ in the purest sense of the word of all the Boston sports champions. At least since the 2001 Patriots who stressed team over all. Then again that’s the nature of hockey. They truthfully do it for the guy next to them just as much as for themselves. It’s what makes it the best sport in the world and the most admirable athletes in the world.

Game 7 preview; One game for all the marbles

June 15, 2011

One. More. Win.

Tonight will be the 107th and final game of the Boston Bruins season and the most important game in the last 39 years in Bruins history. A win tonight would elate the masses of Bruins fans and a loss, no matter the fashion, would be devastating. The story is the same for the Canucks. There is no in between. There is no tomorrow.

There’s also no reason to look back on anything and try to make a prediction. One thing we know about Game 7’s is that they are entirely unpredictable. Game 6 doesn’t matter in the context of tonight’s game, and really the other five games of the series don’t matter either, injuries aside. Styles and schemes are put aside in Game 7’s and will and intensity get pushed into the forefront. Alright, enough of the pre-game diatribe. If you don’t get waves of tonight’s importance randomly today then you might not quite get it. True fans of these two teams feel the nerves, the excitement, the emotion themselves and it isn’t easy to explain to those who don’t feel it. At random times today when thinking of heroic scenarios I’ve welled up with emotions to the brink of tears and with thoughts of a dream crushed I’ve felt the pit in my stomach swell up.

On to the teams taking the ice tonight. Vancouver’s depth has been further pushed to the limit with the Mason Raymond injury. Jeff Tambellini will return to the lineup for the first time since Game 3. Raymond was similar to Rich Peverley in that he got time on multiple lines and his combination of speed and skill make for tough match-ups. Tambellini is -5 with no points in five games in the postseason so it’ll be interesting to see who the Canucks plug in on the second line. If they bring Jannik Hansen up a line it disturbs their third line which has been their best line at home but clearly gives Ryan Kesler more fire power on the wing.

The Canucks defense is also banged up, pushing their depth to the limit. Both Alex Edler and Andrew Alberts were banged up in Game 6, Edler didn’t return in the final stretch of the game but Alberts only missed a shift or so. Both are in the lineup tonight but may not be at 100%. The Bruins aren’t thought to be harboring many injuries aside from Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci‘s concussions, which they’ve both rebounded from. One common thought is that Milan Lucic is playing with a foot injury. That may explain his lack of speed in some games but could also be debunked by his skating legs in other games, notably Game 6. All these injuries will come out to the public late tonight after the game of course but none are excuses.

The biggest matchup in tonight’s game is certainly between the pipes. Tim Thomas is expected to get the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP win or loss but Roberto Luongo is the game/series’ x-factor. In three wins he’s let up just two goals but in three losses he’s let up 15 goals. He plays a lot more comfortable in front of his hometown fans but those fans may be ready to turn on him if he gives up a soft goal early. We don’t yet know the length of Luongo’s leash but it can’t be more than two average-looking goals. In many ways this is the key to tonight’s game. Each team who has scored first has one in this series and as we know, getting in Luongo’s head early can only help the Bruins chances.

The other big factor is which team comes out more physical. As with most Game 7’s the expectation is for the referees to use their whistles sparingly and let the players battle to a resolution themselves. With that being said, the more physical and tenacious team should dictate play early. If the Canucks come out and use their speed to win puck battles they could get the Bruins on their heels early and keep them there but if the Bruins use their size to bang the Canucks and keep the puck pinned along the boards they could force the issue on the Canucks.

I like how Claude Julien purposely didn’t match Zdeno Chara with the Sedins late in the game, preparing as many defensemen as possible for what could happen tonight. The Canucks will still be able to dictate tonight’s match-ups which has been the key in each of the six previous games but with six games in the books these teams know each other extremely well so it’ll be interesting to see if the match-ups are magnified or nullified.

I’ll cut this short because I could ramble on and pontificate all day long but nobody knows what will happen tonight. The most we can do is to hope. Also, I won’t be doing a game story tonight. I’m going to take in tonight in full. Sometime tomorrow I’ll likely do a Random Thoughts post and series/game/season reflection. I hope it’s a happy one.

Horton’s tribute video and ovation from Game 6

June 14, 2011

I don’t know how Nathan Horton didn’t well up and cry after that, I almost did watching this video 16 hours after the fact.

Random Thoughts from the Bruins 5-2 win in Game 6

June 13, 2011

As usual, the key was getting goals early and rattling Luongo. Marchand’s goal was an absolute pea that not many would have saved but it was enough to creep in his head. Lucic’s goal was a soft squibber and Ference’s was horrible goaltending, sliding for no reason. Luongo has played great at home, boasting two shutouts but the Bruins have to love what they saw tonight. He looks like a goalie who is ready to implode.

Lost in the shuffle of the goals will probably be Tim Thomas monster game. If you didn’t think Timmy should win the Conn Smythe despite the result of the series before tonight’s game then you probably do now. Thomas had huge saves throughout that helped: keep it tied early, keep the momentum rolling, keep the lead, and demoralize the Canucks. The two goals were in garbage time. Sedin’s nice one came on the power-play without the Bruins best D pair on the ice and Lapierre’s came very late. Everything else was dynamite. Great puck control, tracking, net coverage. Everything you could want out of a goalie (yes, even playing out of the paint).

Tomas Kaberle played like the guy we were all expecting tonight. Tremendous in the offensive zone, 2 apples and 4 shots and very involved in all aspects of the offense. He also wasn’t shabby on defense, breaking up passes and playing in the corners well. If he strings together one more great game like this and the Bruins win the trade will go from epic failure to a win in my mind.

Love him or hate him Andrew Ference has as many goals in the playoffs as he did in the regular season. David Krejci is one shy of his season total with his 12th of the playoffs tonight.

Mark Recchi had a great game, showing his experience and leadership in the biggest game of the season, getting three assists, two on the PP. Recchi has responded very well since people have beckoned to have him off the PP earlier this series.

Big moment in the game was Mason Raymond leaving the game early. He was tremendous in Game 5, speedy, skilled, physical. He was a player I really feared every time out there and he’s one of the few Canucks I still like after six games. Hope he’s okay but being taking to the hospital in a stretcher doesn’t bode well for his chances in Game 7. Crazier things have happened though.

The wacky ride for Roberto Luongo continues. He’s gotten pulled twice and had two shutouts in a six game span. He’s responded well to adversity once but was terrible another time. He’s the ultimate X-factor for Game 7 and he’s entirely predictable. The Canadian Olympic team won Gold despite him but he has big game success at the same time. I can’t figure him out, hopefully the Bruins do Wednesday night.

Ryan Kesler skated with more purpose tonight but still played a disappointing game. Embellishing, frustration penalties, bad body language. This is a guy that I thought should be Captain (hell, he still might be) but he’s not making a good case for himself yet.

Bruins are now 8-0 in the playoffs when Brad Marchand scores. They now have 15 wins. That’s insane for a rookie. God, I hope he scores in Game 7.

Patrice Bergeron had some uncharacteristic penalties, four in total. Bruins had good kills despite that but not something they want to happen again.

Cory Schneider hasn’t given up a soft goal this series, has played very, very well, but it’s Luongo’s Cup to win or lose in Game 7. It’s always interesting when you have such a dichotomy but there’s no way the Canucks go to a backup in the biggest game in franchise history.

Sneaky big thing was the Bruins shutting out the Canucks on that 5-on-3/6-on-3 towards the end of the game. That’s got to demoralize the Canucks PP a little bit.

Bruins explode for four in the first, chase Luongo and get 5-2 win in Game 6

June 13, 2011

Roberto didn't much like it tonight. (AP)

In a win or go home Game 6 the Bruins exploded on Roberto Luongo and the Canucks for four goals in a five minute span in the first period before taking Game 6 5-2 and forcing a decisive Game 7 in Vancouver. Mark Recchi had three assists, Tim Thomas had 36 saves, and Tomas Kaberle and Michael Ryder added two-point nights in the victory. Roberto Luongo was pulled after giving up three goals, two of the soft variety, on eight shots. Cory Schneider played well in relief, making 30 saves, many great ones.

In the first minute play was stopped when Mason Raymond was taken out of a play in the corner by Johnny Boychuk on an awkward physical engagement. Raymond stayed on his stomach as the trainer came onto the ice. Raymond eventually was helped off the ice by his linemates and helped gingerly down the tunnel by staff.

When play resumed Henrik Sedin and Zdeno Chara were sent off when Chara was called for interference and Sedin was called for diving behind the Bruins net. The teams would go on to skate 4-on-4 and the Bruins would get their first sustained possession after an early shift for the Canucks almost netted a goal by the Canucks.

Brad Marchand would score the game’s first goal on a quick breakout by Dennis Seidenberg‘s chip up the boards. Seidenberg’s chip to space hit Marchand in stride. Marchand raced up the boards and curled off a wicked wrister top corner glove side beating a helpless Roberto Luongo. Just a few shifts later Milan Lucic would ad to the lead when the Canucks got caught in a bad change, creating a 3-on-2 for the Bruins. Rich Peverley would create a drop pass to Lucic who then had space to cock and fire and then beat Luongo five-hole on a squibber for the early two-goal lead.

Peverley would beat out an icing a few shifts later and get boarded by Alex Edler in the process, getting the Bruins their first power-play of the game. Andrew Ference would get a shot off a play off the faceoff and beat Luongo for a third goal that would chase the Vezina finalist less than 10 minutes into the contest. Ference’s shot was good and low and benefitted from a Mark Recchi screen but Luongo got caught sliding to his left for no good reason, making for an easy goal.

Cory Schneider would get put into the fire when a Tomas Kaberle shot from the point was tipped up and in by Michael Ryder. Kaberle got the puck and fired a rare one-timer towards goal. At the same time Ryder went across the net without much hindrance and tipped it home with his shaft, Schneider didn’t have much of a shot at all.

The Bruins would get a second power-play when Ryan Kesler took a frustration penalty and the Bruins power-play continued to look decent but yielded no results. Tim Thomas would come up huge against the Canucks first line late in the period, stoning multiple chances on the same shift with the Bruins defense scrambling in their own zone and some nifty passing leading to Grade A scoring bids.

The Bruins would get a third power-play with under three minutes left when the Canucks were caught with too many men on the ice, a sign of confusion. The Bruins had a good power-play going, filled with movement high and low but couldn’t find that final pass. As the penalty expired Jannik Hansen had a breakaway, went right but Thomas covered the post on his stomach and Hansen hit the outside of the net.

++

The Canucks would get their first power-play of the game when Patrice Bergeron was called for goalie interference in the opening minute of the second period, appearing to shake up Schneider but the BC product would stay in. The Bruins were lucky to kill off the penalty with the Canucks pressuring often, even hitting a pipe and Chara making a save with his stick on a Kesler rebound bid. The Canucks would soon after get a 2-on-1 but Victor Oreskovich couldn’t settled the puck and the bid went to the end boards.

The Bruins would respond with good spurts of play but the Canucks carried play more often in the first half of the period, the Bruins looking sound to play defensively and counterpunch. Bergeron would be sent off for a wishy-washy interference call during a battle with Kesler, a call that probably should haven’t been called. The Bruins would respond with a great kill, getting better pressure on the Canucks goal than the Canucks did to the Bruins during the two minute span.

Patrice Bergeron would be sent off for a second time in the period when he was called for elbowing. The Bruins would kill off the first half of the penalty but the Canucks would carry most of it into the third period on fresh ice.

+++

The Canucks would start with over a minute of power-play time and Henrik Sedin would get a quick goal. Sedin raced down the left side before slinking back towards the middle, going backhand and beating a diving Thomas with a roofed backhander. It was a great individual effort by Sedin but was allowed because of a breakdown in the neutral zone by the Bruins, leaving Henrik with a lot of room to roam.

The Canucks would then respond with some great shifts and thought they had a second goal when Hansen ripped one off the far post. Hansen and the Canucks immediately celebrated, leading to a rare stop in play with the referees unsure. After a quick look it was deemed that there was no goal but the Bruins had a lot to worry about after a great few opening minutes by the Canucks.

The Bruins would get a power-play when Raffi Torres was sent off for tripping. The Bruins would get a 4-on-3 when Andrew Alberts was sent off for interference when he took down Tyler Seguin on a net drive giving the Bruins nearly 75 seconds of a two-man advantage. After some very good saves by Schneider the Bruins would get a backdoor goal when David Krejci potted a goal off an across the crease pass by Recchi. After the goal both Bergeron and Alex Burrows would go to the box after slashing each other but the Bruins would retain the rest of their power-play. Nothing would come of the remainder of the power-play.

Mark Recchi would get sent off for tripping with under nine minutes left, giving the dynamic Canucks power-play another chance. The Bruins would stop that power-play as well with Thomas freezing rebounds and the Bruins defense making several clears.

Max Lapierre would score an essential empty-netter with under three minutes left when Daniel Sedin got a pass out front, Thomas bit, and Sedin fed it back against the grain to Lapierre who potted the easy one. Brad Marchand nearly got a sixth Bruins goal on a 2-on-0 but Schneider made a big save, then corralled the rebound in a scrum, leading to some pushing and shoving. Max Lapierre would be sent to the room and Krejci would be sent to the box. At the same time the Canucks would pull their goalie with 90 seconds left making for a 6-on-4. Dennis Seidenberg would be sent off for a cross-check creating a rare 6-on-3 man-advantage. Nothing would come of that and the Bruins would put an exclamation on the win by keeping the puck out of the net. The Bruins and Canucks would battle for it all in Game 7.

Game 6 preview; Bruins on the brink in Boston will try to force Game 7

June 13, 2011

If you had told me in September that the potential last game of the NHL season will happen in Boston I would have been ecstatic. As the season and playoffs go on our expectations change. Not many people saw this team reaching the final echelon before the season started so it’s important to remember how this team has overachieved. At the same time this team has been mostly great in the postseason, changing our reasonable expectations.

After five games of keeping the Canucks best three players under wraps and outscoring the Canucks 14-6 it’s difficult to look at the series with anything less than dejection. If the Bruins could have scrapped together any one of the three one-goal losses in Vancouver they’d be looking to end the series tonight. Instead they are fighting to extend their season to a one-game winner takes all scenario.

We all knew coming in that the Canucks were more talented but the most frustrating part of the series for the Bruins has been the fact that they have rendered the Canucks killers nearly invisible. Instead it’s been the grinders who’ve made the difference, and unlikable ones at that. Noted headhunter Raffi Torres had the lone goal in Game 1, Alex Burrows, who could have been suspended for Game 2, had two goals in Game 2 including the OT GWG, Max Lapierre, who I can’t even imagine Canucks fans liking, had the lone goal in Game 5.

Still, the Bruins have been at their best in these playoffs with their backs firmly planted against the wall. When facing elimination they are 2-0, both being Game 7 victories. The Canucks are 3-4 in chances to eliminate their opponent, three of those losses coming in the first round. Most of their leaders, Ryan Kesler excluded, have lacked that killer instinct that it takes to close out series. The Bruins, almost against comprehension after last year’s choke, embrace the adversity and play up to the moment. Both of those things make for an interesting end to the series.

There are so many questions that still need to be answered. Can the Bruins really keep the Sedins down for an entire series? Can the Canucks continue to win despite their power-play? Can Roberto Luongo escape his legacy? This series has begun in many unexpected ways that looking forward has often been an impossible task. I have no idea what tonight will bring.

The Bruins have clearly had success at home do the matchup factor but in their losses the third and fourth lines have come up with huge goals as well. The Bruins can match up all they want but the Canucks depth makes it difficult because anyone can score.

All I know is that I really don’t want to see a Cup lifted tonight. It would be absolutely devastating. These chances don’t come along too often.

Max Lapierre’s lone goal gives Canucks 1-0 win in Game 5, 3-2 series lead

June 10, 2011

Sometimes the hockey God's are cruel. Max Lapierre, one of the series villians, got the only goal tonight. (Getty)

In similar fashion to Game’s 1 and 2 the Canucks would get one goal late to get a win in a low-scoring game. Max Lapierre was the hero for the Canucks, scoring on a behind-the-net rebound past an out of position Tim Thomas in the 1-0 win. Roberto Luongo made 31 saves for his second shutout of the series, Tim Thomas would make 24 saves but made a single mistake that bit the Bruins.

Both teams were held scoreless on the power-play but the Bruins were outhit and beat on the dot. The Canucks dictated the matchups well but the grinding line made the difference with the goal.

After an energetic start to the game for the Canucks Raffi Torres would take a penalty just 1:39 into the game when he was sent off for tripping. The Canucks would kill off the penalty with an aggressive defensive system, the Bruins had a good chance down low late but couldn’t connect. Chris Kelly would lead out a 2-on-1 and rang the pipe with a hard shot that beat Roberto Luongo clean but not the goal frame.

The Canucks would find a lot of open ice thanks to the last change, matching up favorably. The Bruins would avoid giving up the first goal on a huge blocker save by Tim Thomas on Mason Raymond going left-to-right. Once again the Canucks would stop their own momentum when Henrik Sedin was sent off for hitting from behind. The Bruins would set up a bit more in the first minute but couldn’t get much pressure on Luongo and the Canucks killed off the penalty fairly easily.

The game would even out in terms of chances and possession but the speed of the game and north-south nature favored the Canucks brand of play. For the third time the Bruins would stop the momentum by getting a power-play, this time when Andrew Alberts was sent off. Once again the Canucks would kill it off as the Bruins used grinders to try to spark the power-play, it didn’t work at all.

Towards the end of the period Milan Lucic and Alex Burrows would both get sent off, creating a 4-on-4 after a pre-whistle battle resulting in coincidental minors, Burrows for diving and Lucic for tripping.

++

The 4-on-4 would expire to open the second period and the Canucks would once again look like dominant team 5-on-5 early in the second period. The Bruins would get a fourth power-play early on in the second period when Ryan Kesler was called for interference on Thomas. This too went by the boards as the Bruins got set up but couldn’t threaten Luongo, instead shooting high shots that were easily snared.

The Canucks would get their first power-play when Adam McQuaid was called for taking down Chris Higgins on a 1-on-1. The Bruins would kill it off with great board play, keeping the Sedin’s at bay and following up with a monster shift in the Canucks zone. Tanner Glass had a Grade A opportunity to break the scoreless tie with Thomas out of position but whiffed on the bid and Thomas eventually covered.

The Canucks would get a power-play late in the period with a long shift in the Bruins zone that ended with Patrice Bergeron was sent off after battling on the backcheck. The Bruins would kill off the penalty, stymying the Canucks momentum with the late kill. The teams would skate off the next minute or two without a goal and the game would go to the second intermission in a scoreless tie.

+++

After a back-and-forth start to the third period Max Lapierre would open the scoring, catching Tim Thomas out of position on a shot that went behind him, hit the boards and came out the other side. Lapierre was camped out at the other side of the net and put it past Thomas before he could get back into the net.

The Canucks continued to play aggressively through the middle of the period and the Bruins looked uncomfortable when trying to bring the puck up ice. Many of the Bruins rushes were started by dump-in’s but the Canucks speed let them get to the puck first.

Rich Peverley was sent off with under eight minutes left for tripping along the boards. The Bruins killed the penalty off but were only left with 5:30 left to tie the game up. The Canucks would play along the boards, knowing where the Bruins like to pass it upon entry and would keep the Bruins at bay during some critical moments.

With just around a minute left the Bruins would pull their goalie. The Bruins would get a faceoff with 42 seconds left but couldn’t make anything of the extra man and the game would go by the wayside. The Canucks would win on a lone third period goal to take a 3-2 series lead.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.