Canucks 1 – 0 Bruins

So we’re five games into the Stanley Cup Final, and Boston has outscored Vancouver 14 to 6. Tim Thomas is the Conn Smythe favourite. The Sedins have two points between them. Ryan Kesler has one assist. The Canucks’ powerplay is 1-for-25. That said, the only number that matters right now is the 3-2 series lead they take back to Boston. Many thought there was no way they could recover after the most unsuccessful trip to Massachusetts since the East India Company’s 1773 delivery of three shiploads of tea, but the Canucks regrouped, refocused, then forced the Bruins into a complete reenactment of game 1. In that game, Vancouver eked out a one-goal victory with a third-period marker from the third line. Sound familiar? I recognized the similarities because I watched that game nine days ago. And then, yesterday, I watched this game:

  • Though he wasn’t named as one of the game’s three stars, for my money, Alex Edler was the best player on the ice last night. After the trip to Boston, it finally became apparent that the injured Dan Hamhuis was the backbone of the Canucks’ blueline (it only took us 104 games to realize this), and that somebody else was going to have to step into his steady, shutdown role. After failed attempts to pair Kevin Bieksa with Andrew Alberts and Keith Ballard, Rick Bowness finally caved and tasked the somewhat unpredictable Alex “box of chocolates” Edler with the job. Edler’s been hot and cold this postseason, relegated to the second pairing and removed from the top powerplay unit, but he found new life as Kevin Bieksa’s stay-at-home guy. He bought into the role completely, attempting only one shot and registering a whopping 10 hits. Edler stayed at home with such conviction that he was hailed a feminist hero after the game.
  • Also a remarkably steady presence: Chris Tanev, who played a mistake-free game. Though the rookie only skated for 12:15, his composure and calmness trickled up through the rest of the Canucks’ defense corps. Said Kevin Bieksa after the game, He’s so cool and calm he could have played with a cigarette in his mouth. It’s true. He was unbelievably relaxed. He played one of his shifts with a Fresca in his left hand. At one point, during the second period, he offered Shawn Thornton some licorice.
  • Tanev also nearly orchestrated the game-winner with a brilliant cross-zone pass to Tanner Glass that left the fourth-line winger an empty net at which to shoot. Unfortunately, Glass fanned on the puck in such spectacular fashion you’d have thought his hockey stick was a palm frond. “I thought I was Bill Buckner,” Glass chuckled, after the game. Thank God he was able to laugh. Had Maxim Lapierre not scored the game-winner later on, Glass may have gone down in history as this generation’s Nathan Lafayette. Good thing the Scrabble gods gave me both blank tiles when we played a couple months back. Who knows how Glass would have wasted that opportunity.
  • My favourite Jim Hughson call of the postseason came as the Bruins pinned the Canucks in their own zone, throwing the puck around and looking for a shot. After the Canucks took Dennis Seidenberg’s lane away, he moved the puck across to Tomas Kaberle. Hughson’s call: Seidenberg can’t shoot. Kaberle probably won’t.
  • Let’s talk about that game-winning goal, huh? Though Lapierre will go down in history as the goalscorer, it was a full five-man effort. The play starts in the defensive zone, as Alex Edler shoves Dennis Seidenberg off the puck for one of his 10 hits, and begins the transition. After a great save by Tim Thomas on the ensuing 2-on-1, Lapierre is the first one on the rebound. He moves the puck to Torres, who sends it up the boards to Kevin Bieksa, who intentionally banks the puck off the boards back to Lapierre. He makes no mistake. His exuberant, running celebration afterwards is hilarious. He looked like Snoopy dancing on a piano.
  • Lapierre had a game for the ages last night. Greg Wyshynski called it his essential performance. Apart from the game-winning goal, he also put three shots on net, attempted four more, blocked a shot, registered four hits, a takeaway and a blocked shot, and won five of nine faceoffs in just under thirteen minutes of icetime. One wonders if he’s the greatest deadline acquisition in Canucks history.
  • That said, Lapierre has few admirers outside of Vancouver, as a result of his tendency to dive and chirp. He was probably the last guy many in the hockey media wanted to see score the game-winner (after Alex Burrows and Raffi Torres, perhaps, Vancouver’s other game-winning goal scorers in this series). For example: Bruce Arthur tweeted that Lapierre’s goal was hockey’s death blow to karma. Vitriol was especially high after Lapierre embellished a Zdeno Chara spear in the first, reacting like he’d been shanked in the gut by White Power Bill in the prison yard. This probably doesn’t help the unfair reputation that the Canucks are whiny divers but, considering the way the media’s been whining about it and embellishing examples of it, I would say it takes one to know one.
  • On the goal, Tim Thomas overplayed the point shot, trying to make a kick save on a puck going about a foot wide. After the game, Roberto Luongo said that it would have been an easy stop for him. It’s true: his much more conservative playing style would have left him in position for Lapierre’s shot. The media is portraying Luongo’s quote as a boastful shot at Thomas, but it’s actually a response to the media who said, after games three and four, that the Canucks’ goalie was playing too deep. It was an amusing criticism, especially because the same guys questioned Thomas’s aggressive style after games 1 and 2. You’d think Vezina-nominated Stanley Cup Final goaltenders would get a little slack, but in this series, any time a team has perfectly executed a play to capitalize on one of their weaknesses, it’s been the goalie’s fault for getting scouted.
  • While we’re talking about Luongo, he posted another shutout tonight. It’s his second of the Final, but whatever. He barely had to try. He made 31 saves. Meh. They were all floaters. Boston was basically shooting underhand. I think Cory Schneider should start the next one. The Bruins have yet to score on him in this series and he has game six playoff experience.
  • EA Sports predicted that this series would go seven, with the home team winning every game. After five games, their prediction is looking more and more likely. What the crap? If they get this one right, I think it’s time to question whether or not they’re harvesting gypsy souls over at Electronic Arts.
  • Manny Malhotra took 12 faceoffs last night. 11 were in the defensive zone. This is the second straight game in which he’s taken more faceoffs inside the Vancouver blueline than Ryan Kesler. More impressively: prior to Malhotra’s return, nobody had.
  • Speaking of faceoffs, Alex Burrows won an interesting draw late in the game. After an icing call, the linesman kicked Henrik Sedin out of the circle. It was one of many poor choices by the officiating crew last night. Burrows won the draw, however, employing a tactic that came to the team with Manny Malhotra: since hand passes are legal in the defensive zone, if you can’t get a stick on the puck, get it with your glove. Burrows did exactly that, but he wound up snapping the puck directly to Roberto Luongo like an NFL center. Right position. Wrong sport.
  • Reffing has been a bone of contention throughout these Stanley Cup playoffs, but the officiating was truly awful tonight. Alex Burrows was sent to the box for unsportsmanlike conduct after being slewfooted by Milan Lucic on a faceoff. Ryan Kesler was called for goaltender interference after Zdeno Chara ran into Tim Thomas at the side of the net. Meanwhile, the officials looked the other way for Boston. A blatant crosscheck by Dennis Seidenberg after the whistle went uncalled, for instance. It was interesting to note the connection between Seidenberg’s kneejerk accusation that Burrows dove and the referees letting the play go. Clearly, the Canucks have lost favour with the zebras.
  • Mason Raymond continues to struggle with the whole “scoring” aspect of being a top six winger, but he had a great game. He had three shots, two hits, two takeaways, and a blocked shot. He nearly got one on a beautiful dash through the offensive zone that forced Tim Thomas to make a remarkable blocker save. And he also exacted revenge for Brad Marchand’s game four low-bridge on Daniel Sedin by pulling the same stunt on Marchand when the Bruins forward took a run at him along the boards. Clearly, he had a vendetta. His Guy Fawkes mask was a dead giveaway.
  • Scary moment for the Canucks when Sami Salo took a shot off the ankle during the Bruins’ most dangerous shift. Vancouver really can’t afford to lose another shutdown guy. However, in a surprising turn of events for the injury prone defenseman, he fought through the pain, finished the shift, and stayed in the game. So how did he do it? He reminded himself that it could have been worse: for example, he could have been born with testicles on his ankle.
  • And finally, because I love you, here’s a Raffi Torres screencap from CBC’s postgame montage in which he bears a striking resemblance to Judge Doom from Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

31 comments

  1. from the flock
    June 11, 2011

    Although the refs did try their best
    to see the Cup does not come West,
    they were thwarted by Bobby Lou
    who showed the fans what he can do.

    Though biased I still could see
    just how they wanted it to be.
    They didn’t count on Lapierre
    answering Vancouver’s prayer.

    A hockey game is so much fun
    when despite refs it’s your team won,
    and each Canuck is a hero
    when they win it one to zero.

    And Chris Tanev especially
    deserves applause it seems to me.

    Jenny Wren

    On referees

    Throughout the playoffs they’ve been bad
    Their inconsistency is sad
    I do not sense conspiracy
    They’re just not good it seems to me

    Olde Coot

    And here the Nucks have been before
    This is a fact one can’t ignore
    I hope this time they win away
    By playing like they played today

    Chicken Chick

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  2. beninvictoria
    June 11, 2011

    Edler seems to alternate between being just a 25 year old defensemen and a defensemen who is JUST 25 years old. Here’s to hoping he continues his solid play for Game 6

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  3. Erik
    June 11, 2011

    Having been in TD Gardens for Game 4 and having a jerk yell in my ear all night, this was some sweet revenge.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  4. BeCanucks
    June 11, 2011

    Yes!
    Now, let’s invoke some voodoo to dispell the malediction around TD Garden…
    Monday is going to be difficult. But let’s keep quietly confident.

    VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  5. Tim G
    June 11, 2011

    Harrison, must have been a long night of celebrating. Krejci is theleading scorer

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • Harrison Mooney
      June 11, 2011

      Ah, quite right, Tim. Silly mistake.

      Not so much a long night of celebrating as a long morning of sleep. I’ve been overtired for much of the week, and decided that being well-rested for the first time in a while trumped getting the IWTG in on time.

      It was a solid choice.

      VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  6. Wogan
    June 11, 2011

    Thank you for the Raffi photo, I seen it last night streaming on CBC, but due to superstition that if I PVR the game, we lose (The only two games I PVRed were the Boston abortions.) I wasn’t able to make a screen cap to share with my freinds.

    THANKS!

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  7. whisky jack
    June 11, 2011

    Were they our team I’d like these guys
    They’re big and fast and hockey wise
    Marchand is Burrows in disguise

    They’ve a goalie as good as Lou
    And a defence that’s solid too
    I’d cheer for them in green and blue

    They are the big bad Boston Bruins
    In biased eyes a bunch of goons
    Who’ll leave a weaker team in ruins

    But really they’re a team that’s great
    Ergo the hate they generate
    And Monday night they have a date

    With a fine team as proud as they
    The Nucks will win the Cup that day

    Whisky Jack

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  8. Tristan
    June 11, 2011

    If I was the kind of person who knew how to do things, I’d make an animated gif of Lapierre’s jig-a-bration. Anyone know how to do things?

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  9. Zen Wu
    June 11, 2011

    “Many thought there was no way they could recover after the most unsuccessful trip to Massachusetts since the East India Company’s 1773 delivery of three shiploads of tea” — Now that’s a great line… IWTG is top shelf Canuck commentary.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  10. Dave
    June 11, 2011

    The thing that infuriates me about the reffing is that from what I’ve seen, the Bruins have been consistently the dirtier team on and off the ice, but the Canucks are getting the bad press for it – bad press that’s reached the point where there are times I think a flying snap-kick to either Burrows or Lapierre (skate-first to the face) would immediately lead to a call for diving.

    When you combine that with the disaster that’s been our PP this series it scares the hell out of me, because it means the Bruins can do almost anything with impunity, and that leads to injuries. The Canucks aren’t saints, no team is, but the officiating is keeping a lid on the worst of their excesses because the refs are calling things against them – but the Bruins are under no such constraints, especially when a statistically significant number of Bruin infractions lead to either a Canuck penalty or a four-on-four.

    It’s an ugly situation, made worse by the media attention. I don’t mind the hatred, but the media bias has crept into the officiating, and that does bother me.

    Either team can win tomorrow night – I hope it’s the Canucks

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  11. peanutflower
    June 11, 2011

    Brilliant as usual. Comments are spot on. What on earth is it with Raffi’s eyes? He’s the Marty Feldman of hockey. My superstition IS to PVR every game, so I got to watch it over and over. I also found out that I have to hold a playoff towel in each hand, wear a Canucks ballcap (and I’m so not a hat person), wear my playoff scarf and stand up for the whole game. At home. And the win is secured. I was only holding one playoff towel for games 3 and 4, so there you go.

    The reffing was curious. We haven’t seen any Bruins posters on here yet, and maybe we won’t because Boston lost, but the Kesler high stick on Thomas and Burrows’ slew foot I thought were pretty much bad calls. Kudos to the Canucks penalty kill. Big kudos. It seemed like the Canucks were going to have to show up with a wheelbarrow of loonies to get a call.

    Good on ya, Bobby Lu, for setting everyone straight. It appeared that his little brother did all the worrying for him in the stands. I would be interested in knowing if Roberto slamming his stick on the ice when he did the first star twirl was a fuck ya or a fuck you. I hope if was the former but I fear it was the latter. And of course the media will spin Roberto’s responses to the request that he analyze the goal on Thomas as arrogant thus fueling the Boston fire even more. At times like this I think he earns every penny.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  12. stellar jay
    June 11, 2011

    The referee was red with shame.
    He sadly said, “I botched this game.
    More phantom calls I should have made.
    Nucks took it with a deadline trade.

    “I sent Kessler away for two
    For something that he didn’t do.
    I let a blatant crosscheck go.
    It was on Burrows as you know.

    “Not doing all I might have done
    To just ensure that Boston won,
    Next year I’m in the AHL.
    In retrospect it’s just as well.

    “With less of politicking there
    To all the teams I can be fair.”

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  13. Karen
    June 11, 2011

    Lest Canucks fans be accused of not being able to see both sides… the crosscheck to Burrows came after a rather spectacular slash to Thomas. No whistle. Just sayin.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  14. Guy
    June 11, 2011

    Pretty sure the Canucks have six goals (one in G1, three in G2, one in G3, zero in G4, one in G5), not five. You might need more sleep.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  15. Guy
    June 11, 2011

    Also (not to be a jerk, hopefully the Bulies don’t invisible this) but I don’t think the Glass-Lafayette comparison works. Game 5 vs. Game 7, second period vs. late in the third, tie game vs. trailing by one, huge whiff vs. hitting the post…Feels like more of a blanket MSM comparison, maybe something you’d find in the Van Province.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • Harrison Mooney
      June 11, 2011

      If the Bruins had gone on to win that game and someone had actually made that comparison, I’d agree with you. But since the Canucks won, it’s all in good fun, and Tanner Glafayette lives on.

      VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  16. CP
    June 11, 2011

    Other than the demon-killing Chicago series, we have been trying to out-play the opposite team at their own game.
    In the Nashville series, we played a defensive game where we gave up less goals than the stingy predators. In the San Jose series, again we were said to have outplayed the sharks at their own game. Against Boston, well, (according to the media anyways) it seems we are beating them at their own “old time hockey” game too

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  17. AussieNuckFan
    June 11, 2011

    Great IWTG and thanks for keeping me sane after 3 & 4.

    Haven’t read anything yet about the crowd at Rogers Arena. I thought they were amazing, incredibly loud and on their feet for most of the game. I especially like the ribbing they gave the ref’s for the entire 2 minutes of the 3rd(?) penalty.

    After the game 3 and 4 spanking they might have been forgiven for being a bit cautious and on edge but they really took it to the next level.

    I really hope Kes and the Twins have a big game 6 to keep the stat monkey’s at bay, it’s not like their not contributing.

    And Tanev! Wow, looks like a veteran out there… a cool, calm, collected babyfaced veteran.

    Keep up the good work!

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  18. Sandlak
    June 11, 2011

    Harrison, Daniel and Qris. You guys are doing an outstanding job. The coverage and commentary provided by PITB has been top shelf. IWTG is a must read.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • Harrison Mooney
      June 11, 2011

      Sandlak, we geniunely appreciate that. It’s such a treat to write stuff that people want to read.

      VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  19. Anonymous
    June 11, 2011

    Couldn’t agree more with Sandlak

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  20. ct
    June 11, 2011

    boston tea party reference, love it!
    Who would ever have thought that the boston tea party would make it into a hockey blog.
    Great stuff

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  21. TubaNat
    June 11, 2011

    Always a good write up! As an Australian I don’t get a lot of access to Hockey media, but you guys are without a doubt the highlight of my reading material!
    Stay classy – and I hope you only have to do one more IWTG for the year!

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  22. Sach
    June 11, 2011

    I laughed at Hughson’s call on Kaberle too. I can’t believe how much Lu gets scrutinized, down to every last word. I really doubt it was a shot at Thomas. You’re also right, the media embellishes as well… But I don’t read/watch any media besides ones from VAN so I don’t know how bad it’s gotten.

    Anyways great IWTG, love your analysis.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  23. Sandlak
    June 12, 2011

    Having pumped your tires, wish I hadn’t followed that link you had to Botch’s tweets. The man has been on fire tonight on twitter and now I’m going to pay when my kid wakes up at 6 am tomorrow. Good night all.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  24. alamin
    June 12, 2011

    Having scoured at least 20 blogposts this morning to find some sensible analysis, I’m so glad to have found yours.
    Dave is spot on in his comments on the officiating,
    If there are any great youtube editors out there it would be cool to show a series of clips on the horrible officiating.
    It truly sucks when teams play their hearts out only to be thwarted by some mind numbing, biased call. The Canucks have been cast as the villains in this series against one of the worst transgressing teams in the NHL. What a joke.
    I’m not saying we are squeaky clean but the least the refs can do is balance it out to cover their dumb mistakes.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  25. BruinsAreAlive
    June 14, 2011

    As much as I hate reading a column on a Vancouver win, you sure can write, Harrison. You’re funny, articulate and do more than a play-by-play summary of the game.

    Maybe, during the summer, you can cover the Oscars, the “World Diving Championships” and the Maryland Terrapins.

    After all, diving and turtleing and acting is what this Nucks team will be remembered for.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  26. BruinsAreAlive
    June 14, 2011

    Lesson for Raymond. You low bridged Marchand and got away with it. Vancouver fans loved it because they are, like Karen said, “see both sides”

    Next game, your low bridging technique seems to be flawed. You need to do it from the side, not head-first. Get well soon.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)