VANCOUVER – For the second time in the Stanley Cup Final, the Vancouver Canucks blanked the Boston Bruins 1-0 -- and for the second time, it was the Canucks' third line that delivered in the clutch, helping the home team win Game 5 Friday night at Rogers Arena.
Maxim Lapierre played hero in Game 5, picking up the bounce of a Kevin Bieksa point shot and beating Tim Thomas, who was out of position on the play.
In Game 1, it was Raffi Torres scoring the game-winner on a Jannik Hansen feed with just 18.5 seconds remaining in regulation.
"I just think we try to keep things simple, we want to put the puck deep and use our forecheck game and be good in our zone," Lapierre said of his line. "Things will come. I think when you play good defensively things will come on the other side."
Vancouver's third line of Lapierre, Torres and Hansen have now combined for 3 goals and 4 assists -- outscoring the Canucks' big line of Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin and Alexandre Burrows in the Stanley Cup Final.
The Canucks' top line has combined for 3 goals and 2 assists but hasn't found the back of the net since Game 2.
"A lot of teams have third lines that play well and string a few good shifts together," Henrik Sedin said. "But we have one that scores big goals and that's why we're here and other teams are golfing."
Alain Vigneault put the third-line trio together soon after Manny Malhotra was sidelined on March 16 with a severe eye injury. Torres admits it took time for the three to gel.
"It's been taking a while obviously, but I think we're doing the job, keeping things simple," he said. "We're just playing with an edge and playing with the bounces that we get."
Added Hansen, who scored the Canucks' lone goal in Game 3: "Manny went down with about 10 or 12 games left in the season, and there was definitely some growing pains before we kind of got adjusted to each other.
"I don't think until the Chicago series when we got put together (again) -- we started gelling and we found a way to contribute."
Lapierre, who scored his second goal of the playoffs on Friday, has been doing exactly what he's been known for his entire career -- getting under the skin of opponents and walking the fine line of what is, and isn't, acceptable among his peers.
Torres is no stranger to playing against Lapierre and knew all about his reputation prior to the two becoming teammates when Lapierre was acquired in late February.
"I knew he was annoying, they weren't wrong on that one," Torres joked. "When he starts skating with the puck, like he did there, it's amazing what a goal can do for your confidence."
Canucks GM Mike Gillis made a concerted effort to improve his forward depth during the off-season, adding pieces to the Canucks' third and fourth lines, and it's now paying off when it matters most.