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Vancouver Confident Heading Into Game 2

by Hannah Becker / Boston Bruins – With a Game 1 victory under their belts, the Vancouver Canucks are confident and prepared heading into Saturday night’s Game 2.

Vancouver Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault takes part during a media availability for the NHL Stanley Cup Finals, Thursday, June 2, 2011, in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Canucks lead the Boston Bruins 1-0 in the best-of-seven games series. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward)
While the Bruins are a team they don’t see very often during the regular season (the only game the two squads played was on Feb. 26, a 2-1 Boston victory), the Canucks kept an eye on Boston throughout their postseaon run.

The Bruins threw a few different looks at Vancouver in Wednesday’s Game 1, including placing Zdeno Chara in front of the net on the power play. Goaltender Tim Thomas’ aggressive style was another aspect of Boston’s game Vancouver isn’t used to playing against.

“Obviously, when you have such a big body like that in front of net, there's no sense in getting in a pushing match,” Vancouver head coach Alain Vigneault said of Chara’s presence on the power play.

“We let [goaltender] Roberto [Luongo] play where he is.  He can't look on top of him because he's so tall.  He's got to look around him.  That's what he did last night and he found the pucks.”

In terms of Thomas, Vigneault felt that the B’s netminder initiated a lot of contact with his players, but conceded that was a result of Thomas’ aggressive style, making a majority of his 34 saves outside of the crease.

“A lot of times he does initiate contact.  That's the way he plays,” said Vigneault.

“We said last night that we were going to look to get a little bit of clarification on certain situations.  We're sure it was going to be fine.  We're going to do that here in the next couple of days.”

Wednesday 's game ended the way Vancouver had hoped it would, but it took them a long time--19:41, to be exact-- to get to that point. They opened the game peppering four shots on Thomas in the first shift, before multiple whistles and ensuing Canuck penalties gave the Bruins the momentum.

But eventually it was Raffi Torres who netted the game-winner, and the only goal of the game, with just 18.5 seconds left on the regulation clock.

When Torres, a former first round draft-pick came to the Canucks--his fifth NHL team--, he had never been able to create an identity for himself, as he had never found a solid home anywhere else in the league.

“Surely we knew we were getting a very motivated player,” Vigneault said of Torres.

“One of the things that we did as soon as we met Raffi… was to tell him he had a clean slate, just to come here and work hard, play to his strengths.  We know Raffi sometimes plays a little bit outside the box, and we knew that.  But you got to let him go to his strengths.”

Vancouver knows the Bruins are going to come out hard tomorrow night, trying to even the series before heading back to Boston, and as a result, the Canucks know they are going to have to put in a better performance than they did in Game 1.

The Vancouver power play was a scoring machine throughout the entire regular season and the first three rounds of the postseason, but Boston was able to stifle the man-advantage, forcing the Canucks to go 0-6 on the power play in Game 1.

Luckily, the Canucks five-on-five play is nothing to sniff at, either.

“Boston came at us a little bit more aggressive than what we had seen on video.  It took us a little while to adapt to that. I think once we adapted towards the end of the second period, we were able to go a little bit quicker north/south, started to play a little bit quicker, a little bit faster.  We got some good rush chances,” Vigneault said.

“Obviously, if we can continue to do that, we're a good team when we're able to do that.”

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