Touch down in Bean Town
By Derek Jory
The Vancouver Canucks lead the Boston Bruins 2-0 in the Stanley Cup Final and in its simplest form, that advantage was achieved in less than 30 seconds.
First Raffi Torres ended Game 1 with 18.5 seconds remaining, then Alex Burrows scored 11 ticks into overtime in Game 2 and just like that, the Canucks are two wins from their first Stanley Cup championship.
The Canucks have already achieved a lot in this series, yet the real pressure doesn’t start until someone wins a game on the road.
That’s Vancouver’s aim Monday night at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, the site of Games 3 & 4.
The Canucks arrived in Massachusetts Sunday evening and there was no reveling in Burrows’ clutch game-winner less than 24 hours before, all focused was on Game 3.
“I think you're going to have two desperate hockey teams,” said coach Alain Vigneault, looking ahead to Game 3.
“Obviously from last night's game, there were some areas that we feel we can definitely improve and do better, especially in that second period where we seem to lose momentum. We're going to focus on our game, our game plan, make every shift count, and be ready for tomorrow night.”
Did you know?
-Alex Burrows now has two playoff overtime game-winners in 2011 leaving him one back of the single-season playoff record of three set by Boston's Mel Hill in 1939 and equaled in 1951 by Montreal's Maurice Richard.
-After being scored on early in the third period by the San Jose Sharks in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final, Roberto Luongo proceeded to shut the door through Game 1 of the Cup Final and he again thwarted Boston right up until Milan Lucic beat him in the second period of Game 2. In total Luongo carried a shutout streak of 138:54 spanning the three games.
-In the 2011 playoffs there have been 22 games decided in overtime, the most since 2003, tying it for third most ever. In 1993, 28 of 85 games needed extra time, followed by 26 in 86 games in 2001.
-Other than the 1971 Chicago Black Hawks and 2009 Detroit Red Wings, every team to sweep the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final at home have gone on to win the Stanley Cup – knock on wood.
Canucks general manager Mike Gillis spoke to the media Sunday upon the team’s arrival in Boston. The first question he faced was about how he’s handling watching the Stanley Cup Final and as you can see from his response, Gillis is on the same rollercoaster as you and I.
“It's hard, it's emotional, it's difficult to watch,” said Gillis. “You have no control over the outcome. You know, you end up stressing and being elated when your team's doing well and not so elated when they're not doing well.
“It's one of the hardest things actually in this job, I think, trying to remain calm and not get too strung out about what's going on out there.”
If your phone started buzzing around 1 p.m. PT with rash of tweets from the who’s who of the sports world, it’s because that’s when the media charter official touched down in Boston.
The NHL arranged for media covering the series to fly to Boston on a charter, which is awesome; the downside came at 4 a.m. when most of us rolled out of bed to make the 7 a.m. flight.
I slept most of the ride before watching True Grit (B+) and playing some Scrabble with Behind the Lens photographer Jeff Vinnick. I thought about reading, but my options were Sports Illustrated and ESPN the Magazine and writers from both were on the plane, which was a tad awkward for me.
The little prairie boy I am, I had never been on a plane with 2-3-2 seating, and it was a blast. As was the real world food we got, a serious upgrade over the typical bits and bites that my stomach bats around like a beach ball for hours until real food arrives.
Long story short, we’re in Boston and ready to bring you everything Canucks through Games 3 & 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. Canucks.com will be inundated with exclusive content all week long and for a taste of the love Vancouver is getting from Canucks Nation, check out FortNucks.com, the official Canucks blog, for daily updates.