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Shot-chart analysis: Last shot pays off for Canucks

Thursday, 06.02.2011 / 12:36 AM / 2011 Stanley Cup Final - Canucks v Bruins

By Bob Condor - NHL.com Editor-in-Chief

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Shot-chart analysis: Last shot pays off for Canucks
VANCOUVER -- The shot count was 36-33 Boston when the best scoring chance of the night clanked hard off Tim Thomas' crossbar late in the third period, a laser by Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler that didn't even count as a shot.

Of course, the best of the night, the last shot, the 70th one, scissored past Thomas, ripping through the net, through Rogers Arena, through the crowds ringing the building on the outside and, no doubt, through the closed-off streets of delirious downtown Vancouver.

Thomas stopped the first 33 shots, playing brilliantly, making all the right flops, drops and glove stops. At the other end of the rink, Roberto Luongo posted his third shutout of these playoffs, fronting his body on 36 shots in a workmanlike manner.

All shots | by period - Canucks: 1st2nd3rd | Bruins: 1st2nd3rd

Unlike the shot charts that Boston churned out against Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference Finals -- prominently shots from point -- the Bruins took nearly 20 shots from inside the faceoff dots or closer. The NHL.com Ice Tracker (part of GameCenter) shows Boston center Brad Marchand had three such opportunities, all strong, all rejected.

Wednesday's 1-0 thriller marks the first time since 1984 that the first 40 minutes the Stanley Cup Final did not produce a goal. That game was a classic goaltending duel between Edmonton's Grant Fuhr and the New York Islanders' Billy Smith. Fuhr won the game 1-0, stopping all 33 shots.

The 2011 Cup opener? Decidedly different from last postseason's Game 1 between Philadelphia and Chicago. Through one period, the Flyers and Blackhawks had scored 5 goals on 26 shots, then combined for five more on 24 shots in the second period.

Then there was strange and sudden drought for Vancouver. The home squad didn't have a shot on goal until exactly 10 minutes had been played in the second period when defenseman Sami Salo pinched to fire on Thomas from the top of the faceoff circle.

David Krejci and Nathan Horton led the visitors with five shots apiece. Daniel Sedin was 0 for 8 on scoring chances for the Canucks, including three prime chances in tight against Thomas. Vancouver's second-leading shooter? Surprise. It was third-line center Maxim Lapierre, who fired off six shots, including four in the third period.

As for Torres? One shot and one big win.

Additional reporting by Greg Inglis

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The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

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