-- Looking at just their stat lines, Vancouver's Daniel Sedin
, Henrik Sedin
and Alexandre Burrows
showed steady improvement between Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.
The Canucks' top line was held without a point by the Bruins in Game 1. In Game 2, they combined for three goals and two assists in a 3-2 victory. But Henrik Sedin
believes his group was better in Game 1.
"I felt our first game against Boston was our best," Henrik said. "We had a lot of chances but just couldn't score. Our first 40 minutes in the second game wasn't good at all. That was because of the way we played, not what they did. In the third, we took over."
A deeper look at the numbers shows the Canucks' captain may have a point.
In Game 1, the Sedins and Burrows combined for 10 shots with eight of them coming from Daniel Sedin
. They applied steady pressure and were only kept off the scoreboard by the brilliance of Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas
In Game 2, Burrows struck for a power-play goal midway through the first period, but his linemates weren't on the ice. Christopher Higgins
picked up the primary assist on the goal after the first power-play unit with the Sedins failed to score.
At 5-on-5 during Game 2, the Sedins and Burrows were virtually smothered by the defense pair of Zdeno Chara
and Dennis Seidenberg
. The time and space the Canucks' top line enjoyed in Game 1 wasn't there during the first two periods of Game 2.
That's when they flipped a switch. The Canucks as a team didn't register a shot for the first five minutes of the third period, but the Sedins and Burrows started generating offense via turnovers to end that drought. It culminated in Daniel Sedin
tying the score off a perfect pass from Burrows after Daniel Sedin
jarred the puck loose from Chara in the corner.
The pressure continued in regulation with the score 2-2. The Sedins moved down on Johnny Boychuk
on a 2-on-1 with a chance to win it, but Boychuk, who was on the ice for eight consecutive goals against over the last two rounds, made a nice to play to break up the rush.
After improving as the game went on, they saved their best for overtime. Daniel Sedin
chipped a pass to a streaking Burrows, who read the play perfectly. Burrows faked out Thomas and scored on a wraparound to cap a five-point night for the trio and give the Canucks a 2-0 series lead.
That's not a bad performance from a line that Henrik Sedin
felt didn't show up until the final 20 minutes of Game 2.
"We moved our feet. That's No. 1," he said when asked what caused the turnaround in the third period. "We were standing still in the neutral zone. We didn't have any movement at all. That's when we had a lot of turnovers in the game. I think that changed in the third period. We had everyone moving. We gave the puck to the right guy who was coming with speed. We're tough to play when we play that way."
Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo