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Canucks' 1-0 win in Game 1 historically significant

by Emily Kaplan / Vancouver Canucks

Through 60 minutes of play in Game 1 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final, the Blackhawks and Flyers combined for 11 goals on 64 shots.

Through 60 minutes of play in Game 1 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, the Canucks and Bruins combined for 70 shots -- but only one goal was produced.

Not only was Game 1 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final drastically different than Game 1 of 2010, this year's series opener had some historical significance, too.

With 18.5 seconds remaining in the third period of Wednesday night's Game 1, Vancouver's Raffi Torres redirected a pass from Jannik Hansen. The puck slid past a sprawling Tim Thomas to give the Canucks a 1-0 victory -- sending the 18,860 blue and green-clad fans at Rogers Arena into a frenzy as they frantically waved their white towels.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Torres' tally was the latest regulation goal in a 1-0 final score in Stanley Cup Final history.

In addition to that, Torres' strike at 19:41 of the third period was the latest go-ahead goal of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs -- and the latest in a Stanley Cup Final since Pittsburgh's Mario Lemieux scored with 13 seconds left in Game 1 of the 1992 Stanley Cup Final to give the Penguins a 5-4 victory over Chicago.

Conversely, Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo shined on the other end of the ice. He stopped all 36 stops he faced to record his League-leading third shutout of the postseason. Each of those three shutouts has come in the opening game of a series. Luongo turned aside 32 shots to shut down the Blackhawks on April 13, then blanked the Predators with a 20-save shutout on April 28.

Lunogo's 36-save performance on Wednesday night marked the first 1-0 shutout in the opening game of a Stanley Cup Final since 1984. In that year, Oilers goalie Grant Fuhr turned aside all 33 shots he faced to blank the New York Islanders.

But what makes Game 1 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final extra special?

The Elias Sports Bureau also produced this statistic: Since the NHL was formed in 1917, the only opening game of a Stanley Cup Final series to remain goalless longer than this year’s opener (59:41) was Game 1 between the Bruins and the original Ottawa Senators in 1927, which ended in a 0-0 tie after 60 minutes of regulation time and a 20-minute overtime period.

In the 2010 Stanley Cup Final, a total of 47 goals were scored in the Blackhawks' 4-2 series win against the Flyers. The goal horn might not go off half as much in this year's Final -- that is, if Game 1 is any indication.

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