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Cullen: Canucks score late; win goalie duel in Game One

Scott Cullen
6/2/2011 12:11:56 AM
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Game One of the Stanley Cup Final went more than 59 minutes without a goal, then Raffi Torres finished off a nice passing play to finally beat Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas.

Naturally, in a 1-0 game, both goaltenders played well. Vancouver's Roberto Luongo stopped 36 Bruins shots on goal, the fourth-straight game that he's stopped more than 30 shots and the third Game One shutout for Luongo in this year's playoffs.

At the other end, Boston's Tim Thomas stopped 33 of 34 shots, but appeared to face higher quality shots than Luongo.

Both teams finished the night 0-for-6 on the power play; not a huge surprise for the Bruins, who have struggled the entire postseason (and beyond) with the man advantage, but for the Canucks, only once all season (March 5 vs. Los Angeles) did they have more than five power plays and get blanked with the man advantage.

Vancouver's Daniel Sedin led all skaters in the game with eight shots on goal; it was Sedin's highest shot total all season. Maxim Lapierre, of all people, had six shots on goal for the Canucks, tying his season-high and rather unexpected from a player that has been held without a shot eight times in this year's playoffs.

Canucks winger Jannik Hansen was flying in Game One, using his speed to get in on the forecheck and he made the pass to set up Torres with a virtually empty cage for the game's only goal. It was Hansen's fifth assist in the last seven games.

Boston's number one line of David Krejci, Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic accumulated 13 shots on goal, many on the power play, but couldn't get one past Luongo.

Interestingly, Boston didn't have a great deal of difficulty getting the matchups they wanted. There were so many penalties in the first two periods, but the Bruins could get Patrice Bergeron out against the Sedin line just as the Canucks could get Ryan Kesler out against Krejci's line.

Speaking of Bergeron against the Sedins, an incident at the end of the first period could have an effect later in the series. It appeared that Canucks winger Alex Burrows bit Bergeron's finger during a scrum along the boards and that could result in a suspension.

The Canucks also have to be concerned about the health of defenceman Dan Hamhuis, who appeared to suffer a lower body injury after delivering a hip check on Milan Lucic that sent Lucic cartwheeling along the boards in front of the Boston bench.

Hamhuis has taken on the toughest matchups for the Canucks this season; while Aaron Rome stepped up in Hamhuis' absence in Game One, the Canucks' depth on the blueline will be tested. (Fortunately, one of Vancouver's strengths is their depth on the blueline.)

Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara won a faceoff in the first period, his second face-off win in the playoffs. The Kings' Drew Doughty is the only other defenceman to have won a draw in the postseason. (As an aside, Phoenix's Derek Morris led all blueiners with two wins and three total faceoffs during the regular season.)

Vancouver's fourth line saw precious little time, as Alex Bolduc, Jeff Tambellini and Victor Oreskovich combined to play at total of 6:03 between the three of them.

The Bruins had to be liking how the game was going, reaching the point at which the first goal would likely win; just the kind of opportunity to steal a win on the road, but when the Canucks buried that late goal late in the third period, it would figure to have a deflating effect, but if the Canucks happen to lose the services of Hamhuis and/or Burrows for Game Two, Boston ought to feel they still have a chance to earn a split in Game Two.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.



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