NHL.com's E.J. Hradek is providing fans with "E.J.'s Instant Analysis" after each game of the Cup Final. Here's his rapid-fire take on Game 2:
Canucks right wing Alex Burrows made the most of not being suspended for a biting incident in Game 1. He scored the first goal; made a short, sweet pass to linemate Daniel Sedin
on the tying goal and then finished things at the 11-second mark of OT on an impressive wrap-around effort going around Zdeno Chara
and Tim Thomas
Aside from the obvious, Burrows proved hard on the puck throughout the game. He made several nice plays in the defensive zone to help get his team out of trouble. He has been among the most valuable players for the Canucks during this playoff run. And, he's an incredible bargain at just $2 million per season through the 2012-13 season. I guess opponents can chew on that.
Boston head coach Claude Julien
is getting a lot of mileage out of versatile forward Rich Peverley
. Throughout Game 2, Julien moved his fourth-line winger onto each of his top three lines. Clearly, Peverley has gained his coach's confidence. I figure Julien likes his speed and hockey sense. On Saturday night, only five Bruins forwards had more than his 24 shifts.
If Boston GM Peter Chiarelli hadn't made the move to acquire Peverley before the trade deadline, he'd be thinking about finding a new home in Winnipeg instead of competing for the Stanley Cup.
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault
tried to keep the Bruins' coaching staff guessing in the first period by rotating his lines in no set order. For example, Vigneault kept his top trio (Daniel Sedin
, Henrik Sedin
and Alex Burrows) on the bench for five shifts; then used them on three of the next five shifts. Those kinds of moves made it a little more difficult for the B's to get the matchups they wanted.
After not getting much done on their first power play opportunity, Julien decided to move oversized defenseman Zdeno Chara
back to his normal spot on the left point. That decision paid quick dividends when Chara's wrister from the blue line skipped off Mark Recchi
's right skate to give the B's a 2-1 lead at the 11:35 mark of the second period. Boston had failed to score on its first seven power play tries in the Cup Final.
In a playoff-long power play slide, Julien first made the decision to move Chara in the latter stages of the Eastern Conference Final. The new duties seemed to tax him, unnecessarily. Going forward, the Bruins would be better served using power forward Milan Lucic
in that role.
Recchi scored a goal for the ages. Or, at least, he scored it for the old-ages. At 43 years, 123 days, Recchi became the oldest player to score a goal in the Stanley Cup final. Detroit's Igor Larionov
held the previous mark, scoring against the Hurricanes in the 2002 Cup Final at 41 years, 189 days.
Being out since March 16 certainly didn't impact Manny Malhotra
's ability to dominate in the face-off circle. In 13 shifts (averaging 34 seconds per shift), the Canucks' pivot won six of seven draws. That's an 86 percent success rate. Welcome back, Manny!
The two clubs wanted to send a physical calling card in the first period. And, if the stats keepers are right, the teams succeeded in that goal. The Canucks and Bruins combined for 42 first-period hits. Vancouver had a slight edge, 22-20. In the next two periods, the rate of contact slowed a bit. In that span, the Canucks were credited with 18 hits, while the Bruins chalked up 11. In the end, Vancouver won the hit parade, 40-31.