(note, each in-game blog will be done in local time until Game-time clock starts)
And, that's it! vancouver wins 1-0 on a beautiful passing play that put to rest 59 minutes of frustration delivered by Tim Thomas
. Game 2 is Saturday night here. See you then.
Hockey truly is a game of inches. Vancouver just stays on at blue line as johnny Boychuk
steps up and misses a hit. then Zdeno Chare just misses blocking a cross-slot pass and Raffi Torres
is able to slide the puck past a brilliant Timn Thomas, who had stopped first 33 shots he faced. Goal, VAN 1-0.
18:06 Zdeno Chara
just made and uncharacteristic goof at offensive blue line, allowing puck all the way back to Boston zone. Forced Bruins to take an icing. Not what you want to see this late in game if you are Claudfe Julien.
Vancouver has the best chance of the nite, Alex Edler with a quick snap shot that beat thomas clean. Unfortunately it hit the crossbar flush and bounded out. Everyone in Rogers Arena thought Vancouver had the goal it needs, but they were wrOng. This scoreless dramafest moves on into clear first-goal-wins territory.
The pace of this game has really slowed down. There is a lot more chip-and-chasing and a lot more play in the neutral zone. The break by Jannik Hansen
is one of the few transition plays in the period.
Another huge save by Tim Thomas
, this one on a breakaway by Jannik Hansen
. The even better play might have been keeping the lOose puck out of the net as Hansen and the chasing defender barreled into the net. Is there a point when Thomas might start getting into the head of the Canucks. Roberto Luongo
talked about this very thing at media day on Tuesday. A hot goalie will frustrate Vancouver more because of their high skill level. Boston is used to grindiNg for goals and scoring ugly.
It appears two periods of exciting, hard-hitting hockey are starting to take their toll here. There have been four icings -- three by Vancouver -- in the past two minutes. Speaking of hard hits, Dan Hamhuis
still hasn't returned from his big hip check on Milan Lucic
2:13 Tim Thomas
has already been asked to make two great saves in this period, one a rapid-reaction toe save on a Alex Burrows tip in front. Canucks could be shaking off rust of a seven-day layoff.
Start of third period
End of second period
Boston kills the penalty, allowing one shot -- although it was dangerous. Period ends with Boston holding a 9-8 advantage in shots. I think if you asked Boston before the game if they would take this scenario after two periods, the answer would be a resounding yes.
Vancouver will have more opportunity to turn up the heat as Patrice Bergeron
-- Boston's best penalty killer -- takes a tripping penalty behind the vancouver net, 200 feet from his own goal. It is sixth time Vancouver has had a PP and you have to wonder how often Boston's PK can go to the well.
Suddenly, Vancouver comes alive a bit and no surprise Ryan Kesler
is leading the charge. A strong forecheck - Andrew Ference
was plastered to the end boards twice on the shift -- keyed the whole sequence.
13:43 Maxim Lapierre
just had a good wrap-around chance, just Vancouver's fourth shot of this periood.
Emotions continue to boil over. Canucks have chance on 4-on-3, but Andrew Ference
blocks shot and puck gets caught in his pants. Henrik Sedin
delivers a healthy chop to try to dislodge it and earns a two-handed cross-check from ference for his troubles. No penalties.
Shortest 5-on-3 ever, I think. Alex Burrows just took a tripping penalty in the offensive zone, negating the two-man advantage. Canucks have taken far too many penalties. Have yet to pay the price, though.
Now the Canucks get their own 5-on-3 as Rich Peverley
takes a hooking penalty as he tries to beat the vancouver deefense to a loose puck for a breakaway.
9:28 Ryan Kesler
just had a partial breakaway thwarted by a diving Dennis Seidenberg
, but Canucks get a power play as Seidenberg goes for a kneeing infraction earlier in the play.
Canucks don't have a shot this period and have just eight since the first three minutes of the game, a span of more than 24 minutes. More tellingly, Mason Raymond
has a third of all Vancouver's shots. Yet, the Canucks are still even as Boston has failed at several opportunities to take the lead.
What a hit! Dan hamhuis
just delivered a low hip check that sent Milan Lucic
cartwheeling over him. Unfortunately, it appears Hamhuis took the worst of the collision as he just limped down the tunnel. Vancouver, though, does get a power-play opportunity as david Krejci
took a retaliatory cross-checking penalty.
A lack of power-play success has to start weighing on the bruins. They blew a 5-on-4 and 5-on-3w to start the period. It can't be just about generating shots any more. Yes, Boston had 4 good shots on two-man advantage, but they need something more, considering they are now 5-for-66 on the PP.
Start of second period
End of first period
The emotion of the moment has finally surfaced with a prett good scrum at first-period whistle. Main combatants were Boston's Patrice Bergeron
and Alex Burrows after Burrows crashed into crease. At one point, Zdeno Chara
was also holding off two Canucks at once. great teMpo to this period, despite the lack of scoring> Boston holds 17-12 advantage in shots. A good road period for the Bruins, for sure.
Bruins are winning their share of board battles, which is so vital to their game, here in Game 1. A piar of board wins just led to a great one-time chance from Brad Marchand
. Boston leads shot total 17-12.
Boston's Brad Marchand
, who has stressed he can't do dumb things throughout this postseason, Just got caught holding the stick in the defensive zone, putting Vancouver back on PP. Not smartest thing Marchand has ever done, for sure.
Boston's third power play has not been quite as good. In fact, it did nothing while Alex Burrows was in the box for hooking Andrew Ference
during the Chris Kelly
penalty. Boston couldn't even gain the zone. That was certainly a step back. With that said, Boston survived first 10 minutes of this game in style.
Boston can't score on double PP, although they had several good chances. Will be interesting if it hurts their confidence as they are now 5-for-63 on PP. Now, we see Vancouvers PP go to work as Chris Kelly
-- a key penalty killer -- is in the box for high-sticking. Sedins should also be well-rested.
As we all know, the Boston power play has been ice cold in playoffs. On this PP, they gained good traction and had a good opportunity -- with Zdeno Chara
right on Roberto Luongo
's doorstep, it should be noted), but had momentum blunted by repairs to a broken pane of glass behind Luongo.
Boston has stabilized now. Not only did David Krejci
have a great chance (thwarted by a Roberto Luongo
kick out save), but they now have a 4-minute power play after Daniel Sedin
high-sticked Zdeno Chara
on forecheck. It was accidental, but it drew blood.
We're under way here in Game 1 and what a fast start by the Canucks, who had four shots -- and three great chances -- in first two minutes. Tim Thomas
has been sharp for B's, not allowing canucks to get early jump. Quick goals were a bugaboo for Boston in Eastern Conference Finals.
As I mentioned earlier in this blog, this is the first time Vancouver has been in Final since 1994, when it lost a heart-breaking seven-game series to the New York Rangers
. Ironically, that was the first Final I covered in my career, working for the North Jersey Herald & News. I was out here for Game 6 and it was the most excellent adventure of my life up to that point. It mighht still be in the Top 10. Who knew I would have so many more opportunities to cover Finals. I treated it as a one-off experience and yet I am on my 10th straight and 13th overall. It has been an amazing journey and I want to take a moment to thank everybody that has helped me a long the way. So much has changed about Vancouver in the past 17 years -- including the building the Canucks play in -- but one thing has remained. This city is singularly obsessed with their Canucks and it is amazing to be around. We have all been blessed by the hockey gods to be a part of what should be an unforgettable series.
As usual, there is some lineup news to deal with before we got down to the brass tacks. The Bruins are completely healthy and have no changes from the team that finished the eastern Conference Finals. Vancouver, though, has a few changes. Manny Malhotra
remians out despite the fact there was optimism earlier in the week that he could play. But, after taking part in a scrimmage during Sunday's practice, he has not skated again. But, the defense gets much stronger as both Christian Ehrhoff
and Aaron Rome
have been drafted back into the lineup after getting healthy during Vancouver's long layoff.
Welcome to the Stanley Cup Final! This city is alive for its first date with the Stanley Cup Final since a semi-serious relationship back in 1994. Warmups have just ended and this place is already more than half-full despite the fact that the work day has yet to finish. It should be a great night.