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With the Boston Bruins winning the 2011 Stanley Cup, Bruce Allen looks back at all the coverage, and identifies the winners and losers from the wild playoff run.
Tim Thomas capped off one of the greatest postseason runs in Boston sports history on Wednesday night with a shutout in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, giving the Boston Bruins their first Stanley Cup in 39 years.
Thomas looked extremely polished throughout most of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but the 37-year-old netminder admitted that he was nervous in the final stages of the season in Games 6 and 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.
"Right off the opening face-off there was a guy that whacked it backhand from the outside blue line right off the opening face-off and I just lost it," Thomas recalled from Game 6. "It was up in the air and I went into full panic mode in my mind. Then Vancouver put the pressure on and whizzed the puck around the crease four or five different times, shot just wide. And I was on my heels there for a second, and that was the first time that I'd gotten nervous during the finals. So, yeah, I was scared. I won't lie. I had nerves yesterday and today. I faked it as well as I could, and I faked my way all the way to the Stanley Cup." (via WEEI)
Thomas had 798 saves and allowed 51 goals in 25 postseason games for Boston. In the regular season, Thomas had a 35-11-9 record with nine shutouts, a .938 save percentage and a goals against average of 2.00.
Cam Neely accomplished a goal on Wednesday night that he was unable to achieve in 13 seasons in the NHL - win a Stanley Cup. Neely, the president of the Boston Bruins, shared his emotions after his team won the Cup.
"It's been very special," Neely said after the Bruins took Game 7 of the finals over the Canucks. It's been extremely special. It's hard to really put into words, but it's so special to be able to say that you're involved with a Stanley Cup champion team." (via WEEI)
Neely played 10 seasons with the Bruins, totaling 344 goals. Neely played three seasons with the Vancouver Canucks prior to his time in Boston. On June 6, 1986, Neely was traded to the Boston Bruins,.
In 726 games, Neely scored 395 goals and had 299 assists for 694 points. Neely, a five-time NHL All-Star, was forced to retire early. He was part of the 1990 Bruins' team that reached the Stanley Cup, which lost to the Edmonton Oilers in five games.
Nathan Horton couldn't play in Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, but he provided a moment that will live on in Bruins' history. Horton, who traveled with the team to Rogers Arena for Game 7, poured ice from TD Garden in the rink at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.
"We wanted to put our ice on their ice and make it our ice," Horton told Channel 7. "I was trying to be sneaky." (via WEEI)
Horton was knocked out of the Cup Final by a vicious hit from Aaron Rome in Game 3 in Boston. Horton was carried off the ice and was taken to Mass General Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a sever concussion.
Rome was suspended four games for the hit, which held him out for the rest of the series.
The wait is finally over - after 39 years, the Boston Bruins have won the Stanley Cup.
Patrice Bergeron scored two goals and has one assists as Boston posted a 4-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday night in Vancouver, claiming its first Stanley Cup since 1982.
Tim Thomas, who recorded the shutout, stopped all 37 shots he faced. Boston was outshot 37-20 and outhit 47-29, but won 29 faceoffs while holding the Canucks to 26 faceoff wins.
Roberto Luongo was once again spotty, giving up three goals on 20 shots in the loss.
Bergeron netted the eventual game-winner 14:37 into the first period, assisted by Brad Marchand of the faceoff. Brad Marchand scored the game's second goal 12:13 into the second period, his 10th of the postseason, assisted by Dennis Seidenberg and Mark Recchi.
With 2:25 left in the period, Bergeron scored again shorthanded, assisted by Seidenberg and Campbell. Marchand put the icing on the cake, scoring with an empty net at the 17:16 mark in the third period. Both teams had 15 blocked shots.
There's still one period left, but the Boston Bruins may have already put the nail in the coffin.
Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron each scored a goal in the second period, giving the Bruins a commanding 3-0 lead after the second period in Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday night in Vancouver.
Marchand's goal came 12:13 into the period, assisted by Dennis Seidenberg and Mark Recchi. Patrice Bergeron netted the B's third goal 17:35 into the middle period, shorthanded, on assists from Seidenberg and Greg Campbell.
Vancouver has 21 shots through two periods while Boston has 13 shots. Both teams have won 19 faceoffs and have nine blocks. The Canucks have a 39-25 edge in hits.
Patrice Bergeron let millions of Bruins fans exhale after he scored to game's first goal 14:37 into the opening period, giving the B's a one goal lead over the Vancouver Canucks heading into the first intermission in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, B.C.
Bergeron's goal came right off the faceoff on an assist from Brad Marchand. Boston had just five shots on net in the first period while Vancouver registered eight shots.
Vancouver put the Bruins on the hot seat in the first ten minutes of the game, keeping the pressure on and the puck in the B's end of the ice.
Tim Thomas was ready, stopping everything he saw in the first twenty. Thomas turned away all eight shots he faced, continuing his streak of extremely hot netminding. Roberto Luongo was solid in the first period, only letting the puck past him once.
Any way you look at it, history will be made on Wednesday night.
Tim Thomas and the Boston Bruins will do their best to make sure that they're the one's making the history when the face the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final at 8 p.m. EDT on Wednesday night in Vancouver, .C. (TV/Radio: NBC/WBZ-FM 98.5).
Boston is playing in its third Game 7 of the playoffs - no team has even won three Game 7s in one postseason. The Bruins haven't won a Cup since 1972, either, and are hoping to erase the longest title drought in Boston pro sports.
Unfortunately, only three road teams in North American pro sports have won a Game 7 in the last four decades.
Vancouver is chasing it's own history - no Canadian team has ever lost a Game 7 in the Cup Final. In addition, every time Canada has hosted the winter Olympics, a Canadian hockey team has won the Stanley Cup the following year.
Yet it will take more than just showing up for the Canucks to win. After all, they have to deal with Tim Thomas.
Thomas and the Bruins have lost all three games in Vancouver in the Cup Final, but they've played quality games each time. Vancouver has only outscored the Bruins 5-2 in three games at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.
The series in Boston has been a completely different story. The Bruins, who outscored Vancouver 17-3 in three games at TD Garden, have terrorized Canucks' starting goaltender Roberto Luongo, who allowed 15 of those 17 goals.
However, the Canucks won't have to worry about TD Garden any more, and they will look to make home ice advantage pay off big time.
On the other end, Thomas and the Bruins want to make it into a living nightmare.
"[It was an] awkward collision between two players battling for space/room. [You] rarely see a player bumped when in the position Raymond was in (bent over forward)." - Mike Murphy, NHL's acting disciplinarian. (via WEEI)
Raymond was helped off the ice and transported to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a fractured vertebrae.
In 24 postseason games, Raymond has eight points (two goals, six assists) and 19 hits. Raymond, who had 15 goals and 24 assists - 39 points - in the regular season, did not recorded a point against Boston in the Cup Final.
Raymond is expected to miss between 4-6 months.
Daniel Sedin hasn't had a particularly great series, registering only four points, but that hasn't stopped the Canucks' winger from making a bold prediction about the outcome of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals.
Sedin had two assists in the Canucks' 5-2 loss to the Bruins on Monday. In addition, Sedin had one goal and an assist in Game 2 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals - a 3-2 win for Vancouver.
In 82 regular season games, Sedin had 41 goals and 63 assists, totaling a career-high 104 points. This postseason, Sedin is tied for the team lead in goals with nine and has 11 assists (20 points).
Henrik Sedin, Daniel's brother, is the Canucks' leader in points in the playoffs with 22 (three goals, 19 assists), but did not record a single point in the Cup Final until Monday night's loss, when he scored a goal.
Roberto Luongo has a fifty percent success rate when it comes to wins in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. The Vezina Trophy candidate has had three dandy games at home, yet has had three disastrous games on the road.
Despite Luongo's inconsistency, Vancouver Canucks coach Alain Vigneault is sticking with Luongo for Game 7.
"I haven't talked to him. He he knows he's going back in next game," Vigneault said. "He's going to be real good."
"I don't have to say anything to him. He's a professional," Vigneault said when asked what kind of message he might pass along to Luongo. "His preparation is beyond reproach and he's going to be ready for Game 7." (via WEEI)
Luongo was pulled from Game 6 nearly eight minute in and was replaced by former Boston College goalie Corey Schneider. Luongo made five saves on eight shots in the losing effort.
UPDATE: Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis has announced that Raymond has sustained a vertebrae compression fracture and will be out of the lineup for three to four months, meaning he will miss Wednesday's Game 7.
There has been plenty of physicality between the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks through the first six games of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals. There have also been plenty of casualties - Nathan Horton, Patrice Bergeron's finger - but now the Canucks can add Mason Raymond to the injured list.
Raymond left Boston's 5-2 Game 6 win Monday just 20 seconds in after Johnny Boychuk drove him backside-first into the boards. Raymond could not get up on his own and was taken off the ice with help from Ryan Kesler and Chris Higgins. Vancouver has not announced anything other than the fact that Raymond was transported to the hospital with an undisclosed injury, but via Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos, Raymond could be out for four to six months, which would mean that he would miss the pivotal Game 7 Wednesday.
Told the #NHL will not further review #Boychuk hit on #Canucks Raymond. Early speculation is Raymond out 4-6 months with back/hip injury.less than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® Favorite Retweet ReplyNick Kypreos
Kypreos also reports the NHL will not review Boychuk's hit, which did not warrant a penalty Monday. Sportsnet's Dan Murphy reported on the specific nature of Raymond's injury Tuesday morning:
Source close to Raymond family saying he suffered a fractured vertebrae from Boychuck hit. Not sure if he can travel with team today.less than a minute ago via UberSocial Favorite Retweet ReplyDan Murphy
Raymond has two goals and eight points in 24 games this postseason. Alex Bolduc and Jeff Tambellini are two possible replacements for Raymond in Vancouver's lineup.
Roberto Luongo imploded in the first period of Game 6, surrendering three quick goals before being pulled and the Boston Bruins rolled to a 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night at TD Garden, forcing a Game 7.
Luongo was on the ice for eight minutes and 35 seconds, stopping only five of eight shots. Corey Schneider, who replaced Luongo in the first period, was solid in net, allowing two goals on 32 shots. Tim Thomas stopped 36 of 38 shots in nearly 59 minutes of ice time for Boston.
Boston outshot Vancouver, 40-38, and both teams converted on one power play opportunity. The Bruins registered 36 penalty minutes while the Canucks racked up 32 minutes in the box. Boston dominated the faceoffs, winning 46 of 74.
Brad Marchand put the Bruins on top in the early going, scoring on an assist from Mark Recchi and Dennis Seidenberg 5:31 into the opening period. Milan Lucic scored his fifth goal of the playoffs 35 seconds later, assisted by Rich Peverley and Johnny Boychuk.
Andrew Ference scored Boston's third goal 8:35 into the period on a power play, assisted by Michael Ryder and Mark Recchi, and Ryder scored the Bruins' fourth and final goal of the period at the 9:45 mark (assisted by Tomas Kaberle).
Neither team would score in the second period, but Vancouver registered its first score of the game 22 seconds into the third period on Henrik Sedin's power play goal - his first point of the series.
David Krejci got the goal back 6:59 into the period on a power play, giving Boston a 5-1 advantage.
Maxim Lapierre, who scored the game-winning goal in Game 5, scored the Canucks' final goal at the 17:34 mark.
Boston and Vancouver will meet in decisive Game 7 on Wednesday night.
After outshooting Vancouver 19-11 in the first frame and outscoring them 4-0, it wasn't exactly surprising to see the Bruins go into a defensive shell and let their opponent control the play in the second period.
What was a little surprising was how passively they did it.
A couple of bad penalties by Patrice Bergeron let Vancouver start getting some flow offensively, and even though they were only playing with eleven forwards after Mason Raymond was taken to Mass General on a stretcher after falling awkwardly into the boards early in the first, Vancouver was able to generate a respectable attack.
They just couldn't do it on the power play, where the Bruins managed to possess the puck more than the Canucks did, punctuating the kill of the second penalty with an icing against Vancouver.
Vancouver outshot Boston, 11-5, in the second frame, but it was exactly the way Boston drew it up; the Bruins are 11-4 when being outshot in the playoffs for a reason, and that's largely their ability to get an early lead and force the opposition to take bad-angle shots the rest of the way out.
On the occasion or two that Tim Thomas needed to be, he remained strong; a couple of Vancouver odd-man rushes were pushed to the side before the puck could get close enough to the net to be dangerous and the Bruins carried their commanding advantage into the third period.
Little did anyone expect, the Bruins would net two goals before they did.
Raymond had to be helped off the ice, looking very much like he wouldn't return as he struggled to stand up on the long trek to the bench, and the Bruins took advantage of a stunned Vancouver team - and a sleepy Roberto Luongo - en route to two early goals.
The first was another highlight reel beauty from Brad Marchand, who gobbled up a loose puck at the blue line and beat Luongo high on the short side with a beautiful wrister. The one goal would have been enough to get under a shaky Luongo's skin, but just 35 seconds later, Milan Lucic fired a shot at his pads which squibbed through and trickled into the net behind him.
After Alexander Edler went for going high on Rich Peverley, the Bruins power play worked the puck around the zone and Andrew Ference found a wide-open lane to shoot into, and shoot into it he did. The puck deflected above Luongo's glove for Boston's third goal in 3:04, chasing the gold-medal winning goaltender just 8:35 into the first game after he claimed that his style was superior to that of his opponent, Tim Thomas.
Cory Schneider came into the game to a collection of muted cheers, but it mattered little, as just 70 seconds later, Michael Ryder deflected a Tomas Kaberle blast past the former Boston College Eagle, giving the Bruins a 4-0 lead just 9:45 into the game.
Vancouver managed to tilt the ice a little bit as the period wore on, at one point getting five straight shots on Thomas, but the Bruins' netminder was up to the task, aided briefly by Alexandre Burrows whiffing on a wide open side.
With three minutes remaining in the period, Vancouver got tired of being pushed around and decided to skate a sixth man. They did, and for about ten seconds, got away with it before they were finally whistled for having too many men on the ice.
The Bruins failed to convert, but Thomas stopped Jannik Hansen on a breakaway to end the power play by pushing the winger outside and forcing him to shoot at the apron.
Shortly after they boarded their charter from Vancouver to Boston on Saturday morning, Boston Bruins rookies Steven Kampfer and Brad Marchand discovered something disturbing: a fake twitter account created using Marchand's name.
Marshy has a Blackberry and it doesn't work in the plane @bradmarshy63. "People wanna be me" - @SteveKampfer47
Kampfer and the con artist traded a few tweets back and forth, with the rookies even putting a picture of themselves with a sign that told the impostor to get lost.
"You gotta stay loose in these situations, especially when times can get uptight," said Kampfer of the situation. It's fun to mess around on Twitter, especially when you find a fake account."
For the Bruins, trailing the Vancouver Canucks three games to two in their best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final, staying loose is imperative. Teams that are too tight run the risk of making mistakes on the ice that can cost them a game - or, in this case, cost them their season and their shot at glory.
Because Vancouver's just a win away from hoisting the esteemed chalice, Lord Stanley's Cup will be in Boston tonight for game six. But despite being so close to the relic, the Bruins aren't planning on changing their game.
"I don't know if we're thinking about that now," said winger Daniel Paille, who's been a revelation in the series, especially on the penalty kill, which has only allowed one Vancouver goal in 25 tries, and none in the last 17 opportunities. "It's great that it's gonna be here, but it's not here for us, so our main focus is just to come out with a win and go back to Vancouver."
In spite of that, Paille admitted that the importance of defending home ice "doesn't change for us tonight."
Michael Ryder, who scored a back-breaking goal in game four, admitted that he hadn't even thought about the Cup being at TD Garden. "We just have our minds set on winning this game tonight. We're not really worried about being the hero, we're just trying to win the game."
Boston, to be sure, has taken a long road to get here. From losing their franchise center in Marc Savard to battling through a minor goaltending controversy when Tim Thomas emerged over Tuukka Task to losing Nathan Horton just a week ago, it hasn't been easy. Yet, in the fact of adversity, they're confident that they'll be at their best.
"Our team has been extremely confident, especially in these types of situations," said Paille, who acknowledged that the team's two game seven experiences should benefit them in game six.
The goal was clear: the Bruins aren't here to play spoiler tonight. They're here to win one and then win another.
"I don't know if you really ever want to win one game more than you want to win another," said defenseman Andrew Ference, who knows a thing or two about how to handle the pressure of the Stanley Cup Final, having been there in 2003 with Calgary.
"Even when we were up 3-0 against Philly, the emotions here were pretty much the same: we have to get it done. There wasn't any less motivation then."
The Bruins, to be sure, aren't letting themselves get wound too tight heading into what could be the last game of their season. And they're definitely not planning on giving anything less than their all.
"No such thing [as being tired]," said Shawn Thornton when asked if the players were feeling fatigued. "There's no such thing this time of year. I'll be tired a week from now.
"Tonight, be ready."
Aaron Rome spoke to reporters for the first time since his season-ending hit on Nathan Horton on Sunday, telling the press that while he didn't want to hurt Horton, he wouldn't go back and change the hit.
"I've got to play on the edge, and I guess that was a little bit over the edge," Rome said. (via WEEI)
Horton was carried off the ice on a stretcher and was diagnosed with a sever concussion, forcing him to miss the remainder of the series. Rome, who was suspended for four games following the hit, sent a text message to Horton but has not yet heard back from him.
"It's a split-second decision," Rome said. "There's no intent to hurt anybody. If I could go back, obviously I'd wish he didn't get hurt, but I don't think I'd change the decision on the play." (via WEEI)
Boston hosts Vancouver in Game 6 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals on Monday night.
Alexandre Burrows quickly became the villain in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals after biting Bruins' center Patrice Bergeron in Game 1. Burrows, who has also been accused of diving, was asked about the accusations on Sunday.
"I don't read you guys, so I could care less," he said. (via WEEI)
Burrows, who has three points through five games in the series - all of which came in Game 2, was also asked about his thoughts on the referees potentially ignoring him on the ice.
"The refs have a tough job to do already. It's the Stanley Cup final," Burrows said. "It's not easy to make calls, and obviously my focus is if they call it, great. If they don't call it, that's their decision. I am supporting their decision. I'm going to forget about it and get ready for my next shift." (via WEEI)
"It's not hard if you're playing in the paint," Luongo said of the difficulty of the play. "It's an easy save for me, but if you're wandering out and aggressive like he does, that's going to happen. He might make some saves that I won't, but in a case like that, we want to take advantage of a bounce like that and make sure we're in a good position to bury those." (via WEEI)
Luongo had 31 saves en route to his fourth shutout of the playoffs. In the series, Luongo has 141 saves on 155 shots (14 goals allowed). Luongo gave up eight goals in Game 3 and four goals in Game 4, both of which were in Boston.
Lapierre scored his goal 4:35 into the third period, ruining the shutout for Thomas, who finished with 24 saves.
"I was actually going backdoor for a tip," Lapierre told Versus in a postgame interview, referring to a pass he was expecting from Kevin Bieksa in front of Thomas. "That was a good play. We got a little lucky but we'll take it." (via WEEI)
Perhaps the most telling statistic in the loss came in the hit department, where the Bruins were outhit 47-27.
"We played with a little more confidence and were more patient," Lapierre said on his postgame TV interview. "It was good for us." (via WEEI)
Vancouver was only able to score on 0.04 percent of its shots, yet that was all the Canucks needed to win and take a 3-2 series lead over Boston in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals.
Maxim Lapierre scored the game's only goal 4:35 into the third period as the Canucks bested the Bruins, 1-0, in Game 5 on Friday night at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, B.C.
Boston outshot Vancouver, 31-25, and outshot the Canucks10-7 in the final period. Vancouver had four power play opportunities while Boston had three, but neither team could convert on the man advantage.
Vancouver won 34 of 65 faceoffs and outhit the Bruins severely, 47-27, in sixty minutes. Both teams finished with 19 blocked shots.
Tim Thomas was strong in net, letting in just one goal on 25 shots (24 saves). Roberto Luongo bounced back well from his struggles in Games 3 and 4, recording his second shutout of the series with 31 saves.
Boston hosts Vancouver in Game 6 on Monday night at TD Garden.
Vancouver came out playing faster and stronger than they had in the first, but the Bruins were able to weather the storm and eventually got a strong counter-attacking shift from the Michael Ryder - Chris Kelly - Tyler Seguin line to turn the tables back in their favor. But Vancouver waited out the Boston attack and went to work wearing down the Bruins as the period wore on.
Chris Higgins had the puck entering the attacking zone and Adam McQuaid was forced to trip him to prevent a partial breakaway. The ensuing Vancouver power play was able to get the puck deep, but could only generate a couple shots on Tim Thomas, both of which the Boston netminder handled easily.
Vancouver got what was probably their best chance of the game shortly after the power play ended, but Thomas moved quickly left to right to hold the side and stop the puck from getting past him.
The Bruins seemed to gain some life from the save, as they spent a series of shifts afterwards in the Vancouver zone. The Canucks' counterattack produced a great chance when Chris Tanev threaded a beautiful pass to Tanner Glass at the bottom of the right circle with a wide open side, but Glass - looking at a wide-open net - couldn't settle the puck quickly enough to get it in, and Thomas was able to cover it up.
After the Glass miscue - which spawned a "Glass, you suck!" chant from the Vancouver crowd - the Canucks set up shop in the Bruins' zone and spent quite a few shifts there. After controlling the puck for some time with about 4 minutes to go in the period, Vancouver wore down the Bruins' backcheck and earned themselves their second power play of the period when Patrice Bergeron hooked Henrik Sedin.
The power play generated a number of good looks, but Boston held stayed with their defensive assignments and got some timely work from Thomas to kill it off.
Vancouver dominated play through most of the period, but Boston was able to weather the storm. There's no denying at this point that whoever scores first is probably winning this game.
SOG Boston 9 (21) Vancouver 12 (18)
Penalties Boston: McQuaid (Holding), 7:22; Bergeron (Hooking), 15:56. Vancouver: Kesler (Goaltender Interference), 4:18.
The Boston Bruins found success in games three and four of the Stanley Cup Final when they played a physical game that neutralized Vancouver's speed and created space for their scorers.
At the beginning of game five, Boston struggled to find that game as the Canucks started the game with a ferocious attack. But as the first period wore on, Boston found their legs and started skating downhill, drawing three Vancouver minor penalties and dominating the pace of play.
The Bruins habitual power play struggles continued on each of the opportunities, however, as the Vancouver penalty killers were quick to the puck and Roberto Luongo came up big when the puck got between the circles.
Tim Thomas was forced to make a couple big saves on the Vancouver attack early on, but stood tall in the face of the early adversity, giving his team a chance to counterattack and turn the ice in their favor, which they did.
Still, the Vancouver faithful - who cheered the removal of Luongo from game four - weren't given much to boo about in the period.
Alexandre Burrows, looking to cause problems late in the period, took an embellishment call when he tried to get Milan Lucic sent to the box. Lucic went as well, but it will be 4-on-4 hockey for 90 seconds to start the second period.
SOG Boston 12 Vancouver 6
Penalties Boton: Lucic (Tripping), 19:27. Vancouver: Torres (Tripping), 1:39; Sedin (Interference), 6:54; Alberts (Roughing), 14:13; Burrows (Embellishment), 19:27.
Patrice Bergeron and the Boston Bruins have overcome a lot in the 2011 postseason, coming back from an 0-2 series hole twice and beating both the Montreal Canadiens and the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7.
Bergeron and the Bruins, who lost the first two games of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, are confident in their abilities, but remain humble, and they know that there's still work ahead.
"We've done it against Montreal, when were down 2-0 [in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals], so we knew we could do it, but with that being said, we haven't done anything yet," Bergeron said Thursday at Rogers Arena. "Yes, we came back, but we need to make sure we're not stopping there." (via WEEI)
Vancouver hosts Boston in Game 5 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals on Friday at 8 p.m. EDT.
Roberto Luongo hasn't exactly been on top of his game as of late, surrendering 11 goals in the last two games of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals. Despite Luongo's struggles, he will still be in net when the Canucks face the Bruins in Game 5 on Friday night at 8 p.m. EDT.
"My gut at that time told me that putting Schneids in was the right thing to do, but it was just a one-[time] thing," Vigneault said. "Roberto is the guy. He's my guy, and he's playing. It's that simple." (via WEEI)
Luongo was benched in the third period of Game 4 in favor of backup Corey Schneider, a native of Marblehead, MA and a graduate of Boston College. Schneider recorded nine saves on nine shots in 16 minutes.
In four games this series, Luongo has 110 saves on 124 shots (14 goals allowed). Luongo has 597 saves on 652 shots (55 goals allowed) in 21 games in the 2011 postseason.
Tim Thomas and the Boston Bruins battle the Vancouver Canucks with the series lead on the line in Game 5 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals at 8:00 p.m. EDT on Friday night at Rogers Arena (TV/Radio: NBC/WBZ-FM 98.5).
With the series tied 2-2, both teams are running out of time. Vancouver opened the series with two straight victories, a 1-0 win in Game 1 and a 3-2 overtime win in Game 2, but was flattened in two consecutive games in Boston, losing 8-1 and 4-0 in Games 3 and 4 at TD Garden.
As expected, the goaltending has been the storyline of the series. Thomas has been consistent in all four games and now has 141 saves on 146 attempts (five goals allowed) for a stellar .965 save percentage in the Cup Final.
On the other end of the ice, Roberto Luongo hasn't been as dominant. While Luongo held the Bruins' scoreless in Game 1 and gave up only two goals in Game 2, he appeared completely lost in Games 3 and 4, allowing eight and four goals, respectively. Luongo has 110 saves on 124 shots (14 goals allowed) through four games in the Finals.
Boston clearly has the momentum heading into Friday's tilt, and has a prime opportunity to take control of the series and have a chance to clinch their first Stanley Cup title since 1972 in front of their home fans in Game 6 on Monday.
Tim Thomas isn't the only one who's had enough of Alex Burrows shenanigans. Late in the third period of Game 4, with the Boston Bruins leading 4-0, Thomas acted on some frustrations that had been building up for the entire season, planting his stick in the back of Burrows leg.
"They'd been getting the butt end of my stick," Thomas said. They did it a couple of times on the power play in the first period also. I don't know who it was, I was focused on the puck. That was like the third time that he'd hit my butt end on that power play. They were on 6-4 [power play], we were up 4-0, the game was getting down toward the end, so I thought I'd give him a little love tap and let him know, I know what you're doing, but I'm not going to let you do it forever." (via WEEI)
Boston, which tied the best-of-seven series at two, was outshot by Vancouver, 37-29, and both teams had four power play opportunities, but neither could convert. The Bruins have now outscored the Canucks 12-1 in the last two games.
Tim Thomas recorded yet another shutout, turning away all 37 shots he faced. Roberto Luongo struggled once again, giving up four goals on 20 shots (16 saves), and was pulled in the third period. Boston College graduate Corey Schneider entered for Luongo and turned away all nine shots he faced.
The Bruins tacked on two goals in the second period, with Michael Ryder scoring his seventh goal of the postseason at the 11:11 mark in the second period (assists from Tyler Seguin, Chris Kelly). Brad Marchand put the Bruins up 3-0 with his eighth goal of the playoffs 13:29 into the period, assisted by Patrice Bergeron.
Peverley netted his second and final goal 3:39 into the third period, sealing the victory.
Boston travels to Vancouver for Game 5, which takes place at Rogers Arena on Friday night at 8 p.m. EDT.
With the Bruins leading 1-0 after 20 minutes, both teams entered the second period looking for the all-important next goal.
Vancouver controlled play for a majority of the first half of the period, keeping the puck in the attacking zone and getting a lot of shots on Tim Thomas, each of which the Boston goaltender had no problem seeing and keeping from getting past him.
But after the Canucks managed to kill an interference penalty on Mason Raymond, they found a new gear and started skating downhill. The Bruins' counter-attack produced a couple of opportunities, but Roberto Luongo was strong in net, stopping everything that he saw.
Everything he saw until Michael Ryder calmly gained the zone shortly after the halfway mark of the period and calmly wristed a puck high above Luongo's glove and into the mesh. The puck appeared to deflect off the stick of Sami Salo before getting to Luongo, but the Canucks all-world netminder still had time to adjust and couldn't reach it.
It was crash city for the Canucks after that, as coincidental minors to Rich Peverley and Andrew Alberts caused both teams to play 4-on-4 for two minutes. In a scrum behind Luongo's net, Patrice Bergeron emerged with the puck and found Brad Marchand who put it high and made it a 3-0 Bruins lead.
From there, the Bruins dominated the period, keeping the Canucks out of the attacking zone, putting more pressure on Luongo and pummeling the Canucks in the corners. As the game heads to its second intermission, there's still a lot of hockey left to play. But the Bruins are playing it on a completely different level.
Before game four, the NHL came down with an iron fist: any player caught putting their fingers near the mouth of another player after the whistle would be given an unsportsmanlike conduct minor and a ten-minute misconduct.
Vancouver took the body early and often, but it was Boston that responded by upping their physical play to try to knock the Canucks off of their game. In doing so, each team created a lot of open ice for their opponent, and Tim Thomas was challenged early by a couple of good looks from the visitors, but stood up to the task.
The back-and-forth play continued, with the Bruins best chances coming when the counterattacking Brad Marchand skated the puck through the legs, around the feet, or simply past the Canucks' defense.
The period went at a fairly even pace until Rich Peverley got the puck from David Krejci to start a partial breakaway in the Canucks zone. When he got there, there was nothing to stop him from beating Luongo five-hole to give the Bruins the early lead.
A phantom cross-checking call sent Brad Marchand to the box with 3:50 to play in the period. The once-potent Vancouver power play stumbled for the second time in the period, however, dropping to 1-for-18 on the series,
Vigneault was mostly upset with Thomas' hit on Henrik Sedin in the crease, but was also upset about Thomas' initiating contact with Canucks' player behind him in the crease when he skates forward.
"We've asked the league, obviously," Vigneault said. "Part of Thomas' way of playing is playing out of the blue paint, initiating contact, roaming out there. He seems to think that once he's out, he's set and makes the save, that he can go directly back in his net without having anybody behind him. That's wrong. He's got the wrong rule on that. (via WEEI)
Thomas and the Bruins host the Canucks in Game 4 on Wednesday evening.
Distant like a freshly vanquished boss in the latest release of Super Mario, maybe.
After scoring just two goals in six-plus period in games one and two, it looked like the Bruins offensive woes would continue in game three, after Nathan Horton was rolled off the ice on a stretcher and Boston failed to tally a goal in the first period. But then the fireworks started.
Andrew Ference scored just 11 seconds into the second period. Mark Recchi followed with a power play goal minutes later. And Brad Marchand scored what he called the "prettiest goal of my life," a short-handed tour de force in which he beat all but one of the Canucks on the ice before beating Roberto Luongo, too.
Boston would score five more goals after that, another on the power play and another on the penalty kill, ultimately upending Vancouver 8-1 before a sellout crowd of 17,565 that witnessed its first Stanley Cup Final game since the team moved to the TD Garden in 1995.
"It's certainly nice to have the offensive output that we did," said Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid, who was a plus-one with two hits in game three, "but a win's a win and it doesn't matter if it was 8-1 or in overtime.
"Today's a fresh start, and we want to try to do some of the things that we did well but we also need to eliminate some of the mistakes because Timmy (Tim Thomas) had to make a lot of big saves."
McQuaid's point is a good one; the Bruins accumulated 75 penalty minutes in game three, not a tactic that's likely to increase their chances for success against an attack as consistently strong as Vancouver's.
While nobody in the Boston room expects their eight-goal ways to be replicated, for a Bruins team that struggled to bury the puck in the first two games, putting up an 8-spot against one of the league's best goaltenders is definitely something that they can build off of.
The high-octane offensive output may not continue, but if the Bruins keep getting strong efforts on special teams, they should be able to continue the success they had in game three.
"The penalty kill's doing a great job right now," Marchand said. "Guys are blocking shots and taking chances away, and Danny Paille's been a huge part of that and not too many people are giving him credit. He's one of the best penalty killers in the league."
That penalty kill, which struggled to an anemic 79.4% success rate in the Bruins' run through the Eastern Conference, has killed all but one of 17 Vancouver chances in this series - good for a 94.1% success rate. Its more impressive, considering Vancouver had been converting on 25.8% of their man-advantage chances heading into the series. The power play, which had been an eyesore in the first three series (5-for-61, or 8.2%) has broken through in the last two games, going 3-for-12 (25%) on the series.
The boost the power play has provided Boston is evident, but their success 5-on-5 continues to be what they pride themselves on. Half of their eight goals were scored at even strength, but it was their work to draw penalties while playing at full strength that helped them earn the chances they got.
"It does help," said winger Daniel Paille, who had five hits to accompany a short-handed goal and assist in the game three win, "but we know that every game is different and they're going to want to bounce back from that and we need to realize that it's not going to be that easy."
Boston will continue to need to bring a physical game to the ice to neutralize Vancouver's speed and skill through the neutral zone. The continued presence of Shawn Thornton in their lineup should help with that; it was Thornton's strength that drew a hooking penalty on Jeff Tambellini early in the second period of game three which Recchi converted into a goal with an attempted pass that went off Ryan Kesler's stick and into the Vancouver net.
Tyler Seguin will also be back in the lineup with Nathan Horton out for the rest of the playoffs. The Bruins lineup is sure to look a little bit different on account of all the personnel moves, but nobody in the room believes that this team isn't capable of winning three of their next four games.
That's not to say that any of them think it will be easy. Vancouver has voiced their concern over the Bruins - and especially over Tim Thomas' - aggressive play, and the officials are sure to be on alert after chippy play dominated the second half of game three.
But the Bruins are less concerned about that than they are the team across from them in the white sweaters.
"We definitely expect a better game from them," said Paille. "I'm sure that they've looked at some things that we've done well to change their game, so I'm pretty sure that they're going to be ready to go for us."
If the Bruins were hoping to stick around for more than four games, they needed to come out with an overwhelming performance on Monday night.
Considering the outcome, they exceeded expectation.
Mark Recchi scored two goals and Boston lit the lamp eight times en route to an embarrassing 8-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks in Game 3 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals at TD Garden in Boston, MA.
Boston, which trails the series 2-1, was held scoreless through twenty minutes, but erupted for four goals in the third period and tacked on four more in the final period, all while giving up one goal.
Tim Thomas was outstanding between the pipes, recording 40 saves in sixty minutes. Boston was outshot, 41-38, and had a 50% power play conversion rate, scoring on two of their four opportunities.
Roberto Luongo, on the other hand, was downright terrible - allowing eight goals on 38 shots (.789 save percentage).
Recchi scored his first goal on a power play 4:22 into the period, assisted by Michael Ryder and Ference. Recchi passed the puck to Peverley in front of the net, but the Canucks' Ryan Kesler tipped the puck into his own net.
Brad Marchand scored the game's third goal, shorthanded, at the 11:30 mark in the period. David Krejci found the back of the net at the 15:47 mark, putting Boston up 4-0.
Yet the Bruins weren't done, far from it in fact. Daniel Paille scored 11:38 into the period, marking the Bruins second shorthanded goal of the evening.
For good measure, the Bruins scored three more goals to close out the game - Recchi scored again at 17:39, Chris Kelly scored at 18:06 and Michael Ryder scored the Bruins second power play goal of the night at 19:29.
The game featured 125 penalty minutes, with the Bruins racking up 65 minutes in the penalty box.
Vancouver won 38 faceoffs and had 31 hits while the Bruins won 27 faceoffs and had 39 hits. Both teams finished with 11 blocked shots.
Boston will look to even the series when it hosts Vancouver in Game 4 on Wednesday.
Andrew Ference, Mark Recchi, Brad Marchand and David Krejci all lit the net in a momentum-shifting second period, and the Boston Bruins hold a 4-0 after two periods in Game 3 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals at TD Garden.
Ference netted the game's first goal 11 seconds into the period, assisted by Rich Peverley and Krejci.
Recchi put the Bruins on top 2-0 at the 4:22 mark with his power play goal, passing the puck to Peverley in front of the net, but Vancouver's Ryan Kessler tipped the puck into his own net.
Marchand scored an unassisted, short-handed goal 11:30 into the period and Krejci put the icing on the cake with his goal at the 15:47 mark in the second period.
Boston was outshot 17-14 by Vancouver, which has had five power-play opportunities but has failed to convert on all of them. The Bruins have won only 13 of 36 faceoffs, but have 33 hits to Vancouver's 21. Both teams have 18 blocked shots.
Boston Bruins forward Nathan Horton was knocked out of the game after receiving a vicious hit from Vancouver Canucks' defenseman Aaron Rome nearly five minutes into the first period of Game 3, which ended without a goal for either side.
Horton was taken off the ice on a stretcher and transported to Mass. General Hospital, where he was reportedly moving all of his extremities. Rome received a five-minute major for interference and a game misconduct.
Unfortunately, the Bruins were unable to convert on the extended power play, squandering away a perfect opportunity to take an early lead in a crucial game (Boston trails the series, 2-0, to Vancouver).
Tim Thomas had 12 saves in the opening period for the Bruins, who were outshot by the Canucks, 12-7. Both teams had one power play opportunity, but neither could convert. Boston won nine of 13 faceoffs in the period.
Roberto Luongo turned away all seven shots he faced for Vancouver.
Boston Bruins forward Nathan Horton took a vicious hit from Vancouver Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome in the first period of Game 3 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals on Monday night at TD Garden. Here's a look at the hit (click the image to animate).
Horton laid motionless on the ice for several minutes, but was speaking to trainers, and was eventually carried off the ice on a stretcher.
Rome, who received a five-minute major penalty for interference as well as a game misconduct, left the ice immediately after the hit and headed to the Canucks' dressing room.
Boston was unable to convert on the power play, squandering away a perfect opportunity to take an early lead. The Bruins trail the Cup FiInals two games to one against the Canucks.
Boston and Vancouver are currently scoreless with nearly six minutes left in the first period.
The Boston Bruins have trailed the Vancouver Canucks for just 18.5 second in the third period of the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final. And yet, after those two games, they find themselves in a hole, down two games to none.
"I think if you try to re-invent the wheel at this point, you're just defeating yourself," said Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference.
As the series returns to Boston, the Bruins are optimistic that they can draw on past experience in these playoffs. In the conference quarterfinals, Boston spotted Montreal a two game lead before heading on the road and winning games three and four. This time around, their task is a little bit easier.
"We definitely played good games (in Vancouver)," said winger Daniel Paille, "but we need to play great games (at home).
Some of the Bruins have hinted that Shawn Thornton will be making a return to the lineup, meaning that either Seguin or Paille are likely to be the odd men out. Thornton's presence would allow the Bruins to be a bit more physical in an attempt to create space for their shooters, but it's highly unlikely that anybody - especially Maxim Lapierre or Alexandre Burrows - is going to be willing to drop the gloves with the Bruins' enforcer.
Whatever the lineup looks like, the Bruins are going to need to play at a higher level to have any chance at success against a stronger, faster Vancouver team. They're confident that they can do it, but as Tim Thomas said yesterday, now is the time to stop talking about it and start doing it.
"Obviously, it's a tough position right now,' said Paille. "But we realize that we can come back. It's nice to be at home to have the opportunity to cut it in half."
Tim Thomas has been a goalie for a long time - that being the case, he doesn't need any advice on how to play the position, especially since the 37-year-old netminder has made it to the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals.
"I have a pretty good idea how to play goalie," Thomas said at the beginning of the press conference. "I'm not going to take advice or suggestions at this time. I'm just going to keep playing the way I have." (via WEEI)
Thomas, who gave up the game-winning goal to the Vancouver Canucks' Alexandre Burrows 11 seconds into Game 2 on Saturday night, had 30 saves on 33 shots in the game and now has 63 saves in the series.
This postseason, Thomas has recorded 623 saves on 670 shots (47 goals allowed) in 1,244 minutes in 20 games, all of which he has started. Thomas was 35-11-9 with a .938 save percentage and a goals against average of 2.00 during the regular season.
Alex Burrows netted the game-winning goal a mere 11 seconds into overtime, giving the Canucks a 3-2 win, as well as a 2-0 series lead. Julien's team has now been outscored in the Cup Finals 4-2 through two games, and the B's head coach believes that his team has not played its best hockey.
"In the last two games here, we've lost by one goal and still I don't think we've played the way we can," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "We're a better team than we've shown. We've got to go back home and start showing that and get ourselves back in this series. We didn't come here just to roll over. We're definitely going to go back home and regroup and bounce back." (via ESPN)
Boston hosts Vancouver in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals at 8 p.m. EDT on Monday evening at TD Garden.
Alexandre Burrows scored the game-winning goal 11 seconds into overtime, sending the Vancouver Canucks to a 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins in Game 2 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals on Saturday night at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, B.C.
Vancouver, which now leads the series 2-0, outshot Boston 33-30. The Bruins held a 24-21 advantage in faceoffs and Vancouver hat 40 hits to Boston's 31. Both teams finished with 18 blocked shots.
Roberto Luongo recorded his second win of the series, turning away 28 shots. Tim Thomas recorded 30 saves in his second loss in the Cup Finals for Boston.
Daniel Sedin potted the equalizer 9:37 into the third period, assisted by Burrows and Alexander Edler. Neither team was able to find the back of the net in the final ten minutes, forcing overtime, where Burrows sent the Canucks to victory in a matter of seconds.
The series now moves to Boston, where the Bruins will host the Canucks in Games 3 and 4. Game 3 is scheduled for Monday night at 8:00 p.m. EDT (TV/Radio: Versus/WBZ-FM).
Daniel Sedin netted the game-tying goal 9:37 into the third period, forcing overtime with the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks tied 2-2 heading to overtime in Game 2 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals.
Boston is 4-0 in overtime games in the 2011 postseason.
The Bruins weathered the Vancouver forecheck for a couple of shifts in the first period before getting a gift of a penalty when Kevin Bieksa was sent off for delaying the game even though his clearing attempt hit the glass on its way out of play.
The Bruins power play, however, struggled to create momentum of any kind on the man-advantage, with Michael Ryder generating the only chance when he beat Manny Malhotra off the half-wall and found Mark Recchi in front of the net. Recchi wasn't able to beat Roberto Luongo, however, and the Canucks killed the penalty.
The Bruins started to mix-and-match their lines a bit following the power play, with Tyler Seguin moving up alongsit Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, but it was again Boston's first line that generated their best chance of the game when David Krejci and Nathan Horton worked a strong cycle down low and Krejci found Horton in the low slot for a shot that Luongo barely turned aside.
Johnny Boychuk had struggled mightily of late, having been on the ice for the last eight goals against, but midway through the period, he launched a bomb from the left point that Luongo stopped, but left a rebound on the doorstep that Vancouver native Milan Lucic picked up and snuck under the extended right leg of Luongo to tie the game.
Two shifts later, Aaron Rome was whistled for holding, and the Bruins power play went back to work. This time, Zdeno Chara was back in his usual spot on the point, with Lucic down low in front of the net. But it was a Chara wrister that was tipped in by Mark Recchi - he who so many Bruins fans had been clamoring to get off the power play - that gave the Bruins their first lead of the series.
The goal, which was Recchi's 59th career playoff goal, gave the Kamloops, BC native sole possession of first place in the all-time postseason goals race, breaking a tie that he'd been in with Mike Modano, Luc Robitaille, Guy Lafleur and Boom Boom Geoffrion.
A strong Canucks' counterattack was countered by the Bruins as the period wound down, and Boston earned themselves another power play after Rome went for interference with just a minute to play in the period. They didn't convert, but they'll have a minute of man-advantage time to start the third period.
In game one, Boston played a very strong road game - essentially, played fundamentally sound, created chances when they presented themselves, didn't make a lot of mistakes and made Vancouver beat them. At no point in the four prior period in this series had the Bruins really generated a consistent offensive attack. They started to in this period, showing Vancouver and - more importantly - themselves just how good they can be when they want to.
But this game's a long way from being over, and they know that. They'll need to up the effort even more in the third period if they want to maintain their lead and take home-ice advantage away from Vancouver.
SOG Boston 14 (25) Vancouver 10 (21)
Penalties Vancouver: Bieksa (Delay), 1:03; Rome (Holding), 10:26, Rome (Interference), 18:59.
Goals Boston: Lucic (4): Boychuk, Krejci, 9:00; Recchi PPG (3): Chara, Bergeron, 11:35.
Much like early in game one, both the Bruins and Canucks traded early chances, but this time around, the officials kept their whistles at their sides and allowed the game to take its own course. The result was an inspired offensive effort from Boston and a strong counterattack from Vancouver, which got a huge burst from the return of Manny Malhotra from an eye injury in mid-March.
There was lots of open ice, thanks mainly in part to a much more physical presence from both teams - Johnny Boychuk laid an early hit on Ryan Kesler that left the Vancouver centerman to skate to the bench in obvious pain. Kesler stayed in the game, but was shaken up for a bit after the contact. Dennis Seidenberg was on the receiving end of a couple of big hits in his own zone, but also had the biggest play of the early going, batting a loose puck that had crept past Tim Thomas out of the crease, ending Vancouver's best chance of the first seven-plus minutes.
Andrew Alberts, playing in place of the injured Dan Hamhuis, made his presence felt when he laid a big hit on Mark Recchi in the neutral zone a little later in the period, but Recchi also remained in the game.
A strong checking game from Vancouver in the middle of the period kept Boston from gaining the attacking zone with any regularity, as the Bruins spent a lot of time trying to pass their way through the Canucks' trap.
An Alberts' miscue led to a great chance for Michael Ryder in a 2-on-1 with Tyler Seguin midway through the period. After Alberts left his lane to attempt a hit on Chris Kelly, the ice opened and Ryder kept the puck, wristing it at Roberto Luongo and knocking the Vancouver netminder's mask off in the process.
On the next shift, Zdeno Chara attempted to shut down Kesler gaining the Boston zone, but it was ruled that he stopped moving his skates to do so, putting Vancouver on the game's first power play. The Canucks power play immediately set up in the Boston zone, creating much more space than they had at any point in the first game.
After a couple strong shifts by Rich Peverley and Brad Marchand in the attacking zone while on the kill, the Canucks got the puck back low and got back to doing what they're best at when Alexandre Burrows got a no-angle shot from the goal line past Andrew Ference and through Thomas' legs and into the net.
Both Boston and Vancouver seemed to settle in after the first goal, with each team getting some possessions in the attacking zone before Vancouver's forecheck again isolated the Bruins from their offensive end. Boston generated a couple looks in the waning minute of the period when they caught Vancouver pinching, but the Bruins certainly have their work cut out for them if they hope to leave Vancouver with the series tied.
SOG Boston 11 Vancouver 11
Penalties Boston: Chara (Interference), 10:24.
Goals Vancouver: Burrows (8), PPG: Higgins, Salo; 12:12.
"You know what, I'm over it. To be honest with you, I'm looking forward for next game. We have to get back in the series," the Bruins' center said when asked about the incident on Thursday, the first of two days off between games one and two.
"Yeah, obviously we want to get back in this series. It's very important," he said on Friday.
His team mirrors his enthusiasm and focus, at least to hear them say it. The Bruins, who are 4-1 in games following a loss this postseason, will have their work cut out for them, however. And they know it.
Vancouver's likely to be without Dan Hamhuis, who left game one in the second period with what appeared to be a lower-body injury and didn't return. But they may get back center Manny Malhotra, who's missed the playoffs while recovering from eye surgery.
It's unlikely that either the Bruins or Canucks will receive the level of goaltending which they got in game one; of 70 shots on goal in that game, only one puck - Raffi Torres' tally with 18.5 seconds to play in regulation - found the back of the net.
That means that both the Bruins and Canucks will need more from their defenses, both of which were suspect in game one. If they don't get it, they'll again look to Tim Thomas and Roberto Luongo to handle business.
Don't be surprised to see Claude Julien mix his forward lines up a little bit if the Bruins struggle to generate offensive chances in the first period - the Mark Recchi - Bergeron - Brad Marchand line and the Michael Ryder - Chris Kelly - Tyler Seguin lines each had chances in the series opener, but weren't able to do much with them.
The key to Boston's success will be their special teams play. If the referees are filling up penalty boxes like they did in game one, the Bruins will need to convert their man-advantage chances and continue to shut down the dominating Vancouver power play. Boston had some success with Zdeno Chara in front of Luongo on the power play in game one, but they're likely to benefit more from his presence back on the point, especially since the Canucks are likely to leave him alone in front of the net.
Zdeno Chara and the Boston Bruins will have their work cut out for them when they take on the Vancouver Canucks in Game 2 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals at 8:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday night at Rogers Arena (TV/Radio:NBC/WBZ-FM).
Boston, which trails the series 1-0, held Vancouver in check for 59 minutes and 41 seconds, but a late-goal from Raffi Torres gave the Canucks a thrilling 1-0 victory in the first game of the series.
Despite the loss, Bruins goalie Tim Thomas was tremendous for the majority of the game, turning away 33 shots, yet it was the 34th that beat the Vezina Trophy candidate.
"It's obviously a nice goal by them," said Boston head coach Claude Julien. "They kind of took the game over in the third period and obviously found a way to win it with a late goal." (via Sports Network)
The Bruins will need to do everything in their power to avoid falling in an 0-2 series hole. While a huge setback, the Bruins have emerged the victors after trailing 0-2 in a series once already this postseason, doing so against the Montreal Canadiens in the opening round.
However, the Canucks are a clear step up from the Canadiens, and a 2-0 lead for Vancouver may be insurmountable.
The Canucks will be down at least one defender in Dan Hamhuis, who injured himself during a check in Game 1. Vancouver will most likely be without the services of Manny Malhotra, who was hit in the eye with a puck and has not played since March 16.
Vancouver is 8-3 in games player at Rogers Arena in the 2011 playoffs, while Boston sits at 5-4 in road contests this postseason. This is the first time the Bruins and Canucks have ever met in a postseason series.
What's done is done - that's the mentality that Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien and veteran center Patrice Bergeron are taking following the NHL's decision to not suspend Alexandre Burrows after he allegedly bit Bergeron during a scrum in Game 1.
"As far as I'm concerned, the league has made a decision on it, and we move on," Julien said. "I think what's more important for us is to prepare for the next game more than put all our attention on something that's already been ruled on. We're not the type of team that whines and cries about things like that. We just move on, and that's what we're going to do." (via WEEI)
Bergeron echoed Julien's sentiments, saying that he's put the entire incident behind him.
"Like I said last night, it's the league's decision," Bergeron said. "I let them make the call and make the decision. It's there's, so I have nothing else to say about it, I guess." (via WEEI)
For more Boston Bruins coverage, visit our team blog, Stanley Cup of Chowder.
Per a NHL release, the league will not suspend Vancouver Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows for biting Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron at the end of the first period of Wednesday's Game 1 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals.
After the first period horn sounded in Vancouver's eventual 1-0 win, Burrows and Bergeron began pushing and shoving each other. As on-ice officials attempted to pull them apart, Burrows bit Bergeron's hand and served a four-minute double minor for roughing at the start of the second period.
Despite several replays showing that Burrows did indeed bite down on Bergeron's hand, NHL Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations Mike Murphy did not find enough evidence to deliver a suspension:
"After reviewing the incident, including speaking with the on-ice officials, I can find no conclusive evidence that Alex Burrows intentionally bit the finger of Patrice Bergeron."
With no suspension coming, Burrows will be in the lineup for the Canucks as they attempt to grab a 2-0 series lead over the Bruins Saturday at Rogers Arena.
Much has been made about whether or not Vancouver Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows will or should be suspended after biting Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron at the end of the first period of the Canucks' 1-0 Game 1 win in the Stanley Cup Finals, but now it looks like the NHL might discuss it, too.
Via TSN's Bob McKenzie, the NHL will hold an informal meeting with Burrows and that a decision regarding supplementary discipline should come at some point Thursday.
I would be shocked if Burrows is suspended for having too much bite, but NHL is going to talk to him today. Not a formal hearing, I am told.less than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® Favorite Retweet ReplyBob McKenzie
If the NHL decides to suspend Burrows, it will be interesting to see how many games he will have to sit. Considering that it took place during the Stanley Cup Finals, a one-game suspension would be just as detrimental as a several-game suspension in the regular season. Game 2 is not until Saturday, so the NHL does not necessarily have to make a decision Thursday like McKenzie said.
The Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks brought plenty of drama and excitement to their Stanley Cup Finals Game 1 matchup Wednesday as Raffi Torres scored with 18.5 seconds left to give the Canucks a 1-0 win and a 1-0 series lead. And NBC reaped the benefits.
Last night's Stanley Cup Gm 1 did 3.2/6 overnight, best overnight for a Gm 1 in 12 years & up 14% vs. last year, which featured Chi-Phi #nhlless than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet ReplyNBCSportsPR
NBC drew a 3.2/6 overnight rating during Game 1, making it the best overnight for a Stanley Cup Finals Game 1 since 1999 (Buffalo Sabres vs, Dallas Stars), a number that is 14 percent higher than last year's Game 1 between the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers. The city of Boston drew a huge rating as well with a 25.5/39 and nearby Providence, Rhode Island, drew an impressive 16.7/24 rating.
The network's ratings peaked at 3.8/6 in the game's final half-hour, which Torres capped off with the game's first and only goal. And with such a cliffhanger like Torres' goal, NBC is sure to see plenty of viewers for Saturday's Game 2.
Wednesday's Game 1 between the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals featured some incredible defensive hockey from both sides. Unfortunately for Boston, it could not find any sort of offense to compliment its defensive prowess as Vancouver held on for a 1-0 win thanks to Raffi Torres' late-game heroics and grabbed a 1-0 series lead. It did not have to be that way for the Bruins, however, as they missed on six power play opportunities throughout the game.
To say the Bruins' power play during the postseason has been anemic is an understatement (in fact, saying that it needs to be quarantined might do it justice). Boston is now just 5-for-67 on the power play in the playoffs (7.5 percent), a steep decline from 16.2 percent during the regular season. Not only that, but the Bruins have just one power play goal on the road this postseason.
The Bruins spent a total of 8:07 on the power play during the game, including a 5-on-3 for 1:32 that saw several good chances, but no goals to show for them. Yet, the Bruins should look to their first power play of the game, one that lasted 4:00 after Daniel Sedin caught Zdeno Chara with a high stick, for inspiration on how to fix their "man-disadvantage."
Via ESPN's John Buccigross, the 6-foot-9 Chara spent 1:30 of the four-minute power play in the crease as the Bruins attempted to screen Roberto Luongo. On that power play, the Bruins put five shots on goal with Chara in front, including a deflection chance from Chara that Luongo was able to stop . Yet, according to Buccigross, Chara spent just five seconds in front of Luongo on Boston's last four power plays and it only got one total shot on goal in those five seconds.
The Bruins have the luxury of having the NHL's tallest player on their roster and putting him in front of goalies who obviously cannot see over him is something that should be taken advantage of.
The video above perfectly illustrates what the Bruins must do. Dennis Seidenberg fires the puck from the right faceoff circle and Chara is in front, making Luongo work harder for the save. Having Chara in the crease gives him a chance for a possible deflection or rebound if Luongo cannot control the puck.
Chara is six inches taller than Luongo, a tall order for the goaltender to compete with (no pun intended). The Bruins' best chances were with Chara in front and if they plan on rattling Luongo, that is the best possible option.
As the third period began, the referees swallowed their whistles and let the Bruins and Canucks play their games. Early in the frame, the result was what it had been all game, anyway: a back-and-forth game highlighted by superb goaltending on both ends.
As the period wore on, Vancouver was able to take control of the pace of the game, setting up their attack deep in the Boston zone, winning puck battles and controlling the neutral zone whenever Boston was able to clear. The relentless Canucks' attack wore down Boston, and Alexander Edler had the best chance either team had at a goal to that point when, around the 5:30 mark of the period, he beat Thomas high on the blocker side, but was denied by the goalpost.
Just when the Bruins had settled on playing for overtime, Johnny Boychuk turned the puck over at the blue line and Ryan Kesler found Raffi Torres for Torres' third goal of the playoffs, scored with just 18.5 seconds remaining in the period.
It's the sort of game that gives Boston a lot to build off of, but it would've been a lot easier to take the win after the performance that Thomas gave them.
SOG Boston 10 (36) Vancouver 14 (34)
Goals Vancouver: Torres (3): Kesler; 19:41
After Alexandre Burrows gave the Bruins a power play to start the second period after biting Patrice Bergeron at the end of the first period, Kevin Bieksa tried to make it even easier when he got whistled for a high stick 28 seconds into the second. The Bruins power play continued its struggling ways, despite 94 seconds of 5-on-3 play, but when Dan Hamhuis upended Milan Lucic in front of the Bruins bench, David Krejci put the Canucks back on the man-advantage when he cross-checked Hamhuis.
The Vancouver power play continued to struggle against the Bruins penalty kill, even when Boston gave them a 5-on-3 for extended time that Burrows promptly negated by taking a penalty for tripping Tim Thomas. It was clearly a flop by Thomas, but in a game when everything was being called, it was hard to blame him for taking the fall.
The referees finally put their whistles away when Henrik Sedin embellished a cross-check from Andrew Ference in the middle of the period, and as soon as they did, the ice opened up and Tim Thomas began to elevate his game.
Hamhuis didn't return after being at the bottom of the scrum following his hit on Lucic, and his absence was evident as Boston's top line was able to more easily gain the zone and get pucks to Luongo.
It took Vancouver nearly ten minutes to get its first shot on goal in the period, but once they did their offense began unloading. Thomas responded, making a number of strong saves and moving very well laterally throughout the latter half of the period.
SOG Boston 9 (26) Vancouver 8 (20)
Penalties Boston: David Krejci (Cross-Checking), 4:00; Dennis Seidenberg (Kneeing), 9:28; Rich Peverley (Hooking), 9:54; Patrice Bergeron (Tripping), 17:50. Vancouver: Kevin Bieksa (High-Sticking), 0:28, Alexandre Burrows (Tripping), 10:02.
It didn't take long for the Bruins' defense to abandon Tim Thomas, who calmly turned away a number of early Canucks' chances - 4 of them in the first two minutes alone - before the Bruins' offense was able to generate some chances, getting pucks right to Robeto Luongo without much objection from the Vancouver defense.
When Daniel Sedin caught Zdeno Chara with a high stick behind the Boston net, it gave the Bruins a four-minute man-advantage, most of which saw Chara in front of Luongo. Boston was able to get a lot of pucks to the net, but struggled to really make Luongo work and didnt' score, despite 8 shots.
Chris Kelly later returned the favor with a high-sticking penalty of his own, but the Bruins penalty kill came out covering their lanes with sticks moving the entire time, before Andrew Ference drew a holding penalty on Alexandre Burrows to cancel out the Vancouver advantage.
The second Bruins power play was fruitless, too, as the Canucks' physicality started to pick up with the Bruins spending a lot of time around Luongo. Not long after killing the penalty, Vancouver went back to the power play when Brad Marchand went to the box for holding the stick.
Boston killed that penalty, as well, and when the two teams returned to full strength, both showed the effects of their extended special teams play, struggling to get any flow going.
Pushing and shoving punctuated the end of the period, with Patrice Bergeron and Burrows going at it and Chara fending off two Canucks on his own as the rest of their teams headed for the locker room. Bergeron seemed to indicate that Burrows bit his finger during the scrum, which had a linesman in the midst of it the entire time. Both received minors for roughing, with Burrows getting two extra in a double-minor.
SOG Boston 17 Vancouver 12
Penalties: Boston: Chris Kelly (High-Sticking), 8:47; Brad Marchand (Holding the Stick), 13:25; Patrice Bergeron (Roughing), 20:00. Vancouver: Daniel Sedin (High-Sticking), 4:03; Alexandre Burrows (Holding) 10:18; Burrows (Roughing) 20:00; Burrows (Roughing), 20:00.
Via Ben Kuzma of The Vancouver Province, Canucks foward Manny Malhotra will not play in Wednesday's Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Boston Bruins as he continues to recover from an eye injury.
#Canucks management confirms Malhotra (eye) won't play in Stanley Cup final opener. Fourth line is Bolduc between Tambellini and Oreskovich.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet ReplyBen Kuzma
Malhotra has not played since March 16, when an errant puck hit him in the left eye in a game against the Colorado Avalanche. The 31-year-old underwent two surgeries on the eye and still has one more to go this offseason. Last weekend, Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault cleared Malhotra to play, but he is apparently still not ready to return. Malhotra did not skate with his teammates Wednesday and is listed as "day-to-day."
Before being injured, Malhotra had 11 goals and 19 assists in 72 games this season and led all Canucks centers with a 61.9 percent success rate in the faceoff circle. Despite a highly-skilled roster, the Canucks sorely miss Malhotra, who compliments the finesse of players like Henrik and Daniel Sedin with a gritty tenacity that helps on the checking line and the penalty kill.
With the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals between the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks set to begin Wednesday, it is time to look back on how the Bruins got to this point. But not in terms of who they beat to get to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Since the 2000-01 season, the Bruins have missed the playoffs three times, won the President's Trophy, blew a 3-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Semifinals and are playing in their first Stanley Cup Finals since 1990. These peaks and valleys have facilitated several changes within the organization, most notably the roster. Current general manager Peter Chiarelli and his predecessor, Mike O'Connell, spent the last nine seasons making the necessary moves to build a champion and the Bruins are just four wins away.
Let's take a look at the players that have made the most impact for the current Bruins that joined the team within the last decade:
As you can see, Chiarelli and O'Connell built the 2010-11 Eastern Conference champion Bruins without giving up anyone or anything of incredible value. Timely trades, smart draft picks and steal-worthy free agent signings have made the Bruins one of the most formidable teams in the NHL. And even if they do not win the Stanley Cup this year, the Bruins are sure to compete for years to come.
The 2011 Stanley Cup Finals features two teams -- the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins -- that haven't reached this point in a long time. But despite the similarities, they couldn't be more different in how they got to where they are.
Claude Julien and the Boston Bruins have made a remarkable run in the 2011 postseason, one that's landed them in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Vancouver Canucks. It's been a surreal experience, but Julien knows that there is still work to be done.
"It sunk in that we're there," Julien said to reporters. "It's also sunk in that we're not done. We realize that there's a lot of work ahead of us."
The Bruins' punched their ticket to the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals with a 1-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Friday night. While the team celebrated the win, it didn't last for long.
"We were done celebrating the next day," said Julien. "That night was an opportunity for us to enjoy the moment, rightfully so. But next day, it was about getting our rest."
For more Boston Bruins coverage, visit our B's blog, Stanley Cup of Chowder.
The Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks will battle for the Cup when they face off in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, with Game 1 set for Wednesday night at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia (8 p.m. EDT; TV/Radio: NBC/WBZ-FM 98.5 The Sports Hub).
Boston is making its first trip back to the Stanley Cup Finals since losing to the Edmonton Oilers in five games in 1990. The Bruins last won a Stanley Cup title in 1972 and have won a total of five championships in franchise history.
The road to the Cup Finals has not been an easy one for the Bruins, which were pushed to the brink in the opening round of the playoffs, beating the rival Montreal Canadiens in overtime of Game 7 in Boston.
Boston proceeded to sweep the Philadelphia Flyers in the conference semifinals before defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals on Nathan Horton's game-winning goal in the third period.
Vancouver, which has never won a Stanley Cup, is making its third appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals and first since the 1993-94 season. The Canucks have won three conference titles in franchise history, advancing to the Cup in 1981-82, 1993-94 and 2010-11.
The Canucks' path to the Cup Finals has also been bump at times, with Vancouver being pushed to Game 7 in the first round by the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks before winning 2-1 in the clinching game.
This year's Stanley Cup Finals will be broadcast on NBA and Versus and the entire series can be heard on the radio on WBZ-FM 98.5 The Sports Hub. Here's a look at the series schedule (all times eastern).
2011 Stanley Cup Finals - Boston Bruins vs. Vancouver Canucks
Game 1: Boston at Vancouver - Wed., June 1 (8 p.m.; TV/Radio: NBC/WBZ-FM)
Game 2: Boston at Vancouver - Saturday, June 4 (8 p.m.; TV/Radio: NBC/WBZ-FM)
Game 3: Vancouver at Boston - Monday, June 6 (8 p.m.; TV/Radio: Versus/WBZ-FM)
Game 4: Vancouver at Boston - Wed., June 8 (8 p.m.; TV/Radio: Versus/WBZ-FM)
*Game 5: Boston at Vancouver - Friday, June 10 (8 p.m.; TV/Radio: NBC/WBZ-FM)
*Game 6: Vancouver at Boston - Monday, June 13 (8 p.m.; TV/Radio: NBC/WBZ-FM)
*Game 7: Boston at Vancouver - Wed., June 15 (8 p.m.; TV/Radio: NBC/WBZ-FM)
* if necessary
For more Boston Bruins coverage, visit our Bruins blog, Stanley Cup of Chowder.
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