Playoff Game of the Night

2011 Stanley Cup Finals
Game 1: Boston Bruins vs. Vancouver Canucks @ Rogers Arena
0-1 Final; Vancouver leads the series 1-0

Both of the teams have gone through the hurdles of their conferences to get to where they are now.  But today they play their biggest hurdles yet - each other.

The Bruins have Tim Thomas; the Canucks have Roberto Luongo. Two Vezina trophy nominees, both having previously won it in the last few years. These two teams have crazy line-ups that could make many jealous! And not to mention the chemistry between them all is magical. But all that only amounts to so much.

Who will deliver? Who will perform? What is on the plate tonight: bear or whale?

After winning the opening face-off against Patrice Bergeron, the Canucks were the ones to get the early pressure and the good scoring chances early into the game. The pressure burner was on early for the "big, bad bruins" and it was key for them to survive just the first 5 minutes of the game.

Just four minutes into the game, the Bruins received the test of the playoffs: a four-minute power-play against the #1 penalty-killing team during the regular season and one of the bests in the playoffs. But despite having four minutes, the Bruins got only six shots but no goals to show for anything. And then the Canucks were rewared with a PP forty-four seconds after Daniel Sedin got out of the box for his penalty (only two minutes, though).

The first period saw both the teams come out with a bang. The shots were 12-17 for the Bruins, but the Canucks had the better scoring chances. And then at the end of the period, Alex Burrows and Patrice Bergeron went at it, shouting various words and such that cannot be repeated in public. Big question is, was the yells in French or English?

Out of the brouhaha came a double-minor for roughing to Burrows, and then twenty-eight seconds into the PK, Kevin Bieksa took a high-sticking penalty. Placed on the 5-on-3, the Bruins couldn't generate anything and looked up at the board to still see the score 0-0 after many chances on the PP. To retaliate, Dan Hamhuis threw a hip-check at Milan Lucic along the Bruins bench, but Hamhuis took the worse part of Hammer Time and was forced to leave for the dressing room to check out that limp of his.

After nearly 26 of 31 minutes being spent on special teams, the two Stanley Cup finalists finally got some even-strength hockey going on! Vancouver started pressing harder on the Boston buttons throwing shots, great scoring chances, making the passes, and getting the big hits against the Bruins. Since neither of the special teams were making anything for their respectful teams, magic had to come from somewhere and it came from 5-on-5 play! And what great play did they have! But still, 40 minutes of play ended with a 0-0 score and a total of thirteen PPs.

In a penalty-free period, Raffi Torres got the game's first (and final) goal with just 18 seconds left on the clock . The pass from Jannik Hansen went around Zdeno Chara (who has been pretty useless this game) and right to Torres's stick and going with his gut, Torres just shot it on goal and how pretty it flew past Tim Thomas. But Thomas was stellar tonight, making thirty-three saves. Just a goal blemished his resumé for Game 1.

3 stars:
(1) Roberto Luongo
(2) Tim Thomas
(3) Raffi Torres

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