-- The shot count was 36-33 Boston when the best scoring chance of the night clanked hard off Tim Thomas
' crossbar late in the third period, a laser by Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler
that didn't even count as a shot.
Of course, the best of the night, the last shot, the 70th one, scissored past Thomas, ripping through the net, through Rogers Arena, through the crowds ringing the building on the outside and, no doubt, through the closed-off streets of delirious downtown Vancouver.
Thomas stopped the first 33 shots, playing brilliantly, making all the right flops, drops and glove stops. At the other end of the rink, Roberto Luongo
posted his third shutout of these playoffs, fronting his body on 36 shots in a workmanlike manner.
Unlike the shot charts that Boston churned out against Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference Finals -- prominently shots from point -- the Bruins took nearly 20 shots from inside the faceoff dots or closer. The NHL.com Ice Tracker
(part of GameCenter) shows Boston center Brad Marchand
had three such opportunities, all strong, all rejected.
Wednesday's 1-0 thriller marks the first time since 1984 that the first 40 minutes the Stanley Cup Final did not produce a goal. That game was a classic goaltending duel between Edmonton's Grant Fuhr
and the New York Islanders
' Billy Smith
. Fuhr won the game 1-0, stopping all 33 shots.
The 2011 Cup opener? Decidedly different from last postseason's Game 1 between Philadelphia and Chicago. Through one period, the Flyers and Blackhawks had scored 5 goals on 26 shots, then combined for five more on 24 shots in the second period.
Then there was strange and sudden drought for Vancouver. The home squad didn't have a shot on goal until exactly 10 minutes had been played in the second period when defenseman Sami Salo
pinched to fire on Thomas from the top of the faceoff circle.
and Nathan Horton
led the visitors with five shots apiece. Daniel Sedin
was 0 for 8 on scoring chances for the Canucks, including three prime chances in tight against Thomas. Vancouver's second-leading shooter? Surprise. It was third-line center Maxim Lapierre
, who fired off six shots, including four in the third period.
As for Torres? One shot and one big win.
Additional reporting by Greg Inglis