VANCOUVER, BC - JUNE 10: Maxim Lapierre #40 of the Vancouver Canucks celebrates with his team after scoring a goal in the third period against the Boston Bruins during Game Five of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Arena on June 10, 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
There were many examples of courage in tonight's game. From Sami Salo blocking a shot off the ankle that looked like it hurt a lot, and only missing a shift, to Henrik Sedin taking hits to make passes all game long, to both Raymond and Burrows getting sticks to the face that drew blood, and not missing a shift. Everyone paid the price.
Add to that Roberto Luongo playing a fantastic game, the third line having its best game of the playoffs, Alexander Edler being a stone cold beast ( he led his team with 10 hits, many of the bone rattling variety ), Bieksa so tired from his maximum effort that he had to sit down for the press mob afterwards, and Chris Tanev being so cool that he inspired Juice's best line of the night. ( " He was so cool out there tonight that he could have played with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth..." ). Luongo is now 2 and 0, with two huge wins, every time he takes a walk around Stanley Park before the game. Thanks for leaving him alone during that walk fans!
A total team effort. They seemed to finish every hit. The Canucks outhit the Bruins 47 to 27 tonight. Even Hank and Danny were hitting ( Hank got a penalty for a hit on Seidenberg , and Daniel had 2 ). We Canuck fans like to talk about having the top offensive team in the league, but the top defensive team in the league is sometimes mentioned as an afterthought. Tonight, they were excellent, and reminded the entire league that they can play it both ways. After scoring in the first five minutes, they were very very good at locking down the Bruins.
I have to disagree with Gord Downie. Courage came at the best time, not the "worst" tonight! I bet even the noted Leaf fan is dancing tonight. I know the streets sure are rocking right now! Enjoy it Canuck fans, but get ready for the next. Fourth win is the toughest, and the Bruins get the same lift from home ice that we obviously do!
What an intense game. So many great performances up and down the line up. Yes, Lapierre and Luongo of course. But this might be a tough game to break down into numbers, as there were so many great performances. Everyone played within themselves, and did something extra. As a long time Canuck fan, used to heartbreak, I am not going to say it is even close to being over. But for this long suffering fan, seeing them come through the way they did tonight, in the biggest game of their careers, was so satisfying to see.
"Thelma and Louise" looked like Canadians tonight ;
Henrik Sedin. He gets maligned for so many things by ignorant types like Mike Milbury. Yet he just plays the game. The Sedins responded to that idiocy with a very solid game, without any scoring tonight. In his 27 shifts and 19:35 TOI ( 4:30 PP / :04 PK ), he only had 2 shots. He took a penalty for a very unlike the Sedins hit that may have been helped along by Seidenberg ( or maybe he was just surprised that Hank hit him like that! ) 2 shots on goal, 3 takeaways, i giveaway, and an 11 of 20 night in the circle . 8.9/10.
Daniel Sedin was just as solid tonight. Just like his twin, he was played physical tonight, and got right back up each time and just kept playing. In his 29 shifts and 19:37 TOI ( 4:44 Pp / :14 PK ), Daniel had 4 shots ( missed 1 ), 2 hits and 1 takeaway. 8.9/10.
Alexandre Burrows had an eventful night. He was in the game all night long. I don't know about a diving call when you get tripped, but maybe the refs had told them to stop or they were both going. He was very good on the penalty kill that was perfect tonight. In 29 shifts and 19:54 TOI, ( 1:28 PP / 3:05 PK ), he kept going, no matter what. Seidenberg buries him in front with a hard, high crosscheck? Get up and head to the bench. A stick to the face, also uncalled ( turned out it was Salo's stick, so a good call by the refs there )? Put a bandage on that, I got to get back out there. 1 shot on goal, and 2 misses, 1 blocked shot, and 1 hit. The stats guy said he lost his one faceoff, but I think that is wrong. I know it was at least a battle win for his guys when he found himself having to take a big defensive draw late. 9.1/10.
A solid all around night ;
Ryan Kesler did not have one of those dominant games he had against Nashville, but he was very good, getting his linemates several outstanding chances tonight. In 30 shifts and 21:54 TOI ( 4:32 PP / 2:41 PK ), he won 8 of 19 draws, a little low for him, but his whole team backed up any loss by getting the puck back. No shots, but as I said, many little plays to get Higgins and Raymond chances. 4 hits, 1 takeaway, and an iffy goalie interference call. 8.95/10.
Chris Higgins could have had a goal a couple times tonight. Both the 2 shots credited, and the 1 missed, were all solid chances. In 24 shifts and 14:44 TOI ( 1:16 PP / :16 PK ), he led the forwards with 5 hits. He won 3 of 4 draws, most as a 2nd unit centre on the power play. 2 giveaways won't sully his score that much. 9.19/10.
Mason Raymond had a great game. His speed was a problem for the Bruins all night. He had a wonderful chance on Thomas that forced a tremendous save. In 25 shifts and 16:14 TOI ( 1:30 PP / 2:29 PK ), he was a force. On the penalty kill, he might have been the best of a great penalty kill all night. 3 shots, 1 block, 2 hits, 2 takeaways, and a very solid night. 9.3/10.
Best game of the series for the third line ;
Maxim Lapierre may be hated in Beantown. He might be the most loved French player on the Canucks after tonight. In a very eventful 19 shifts and 12:32 TOI ( :46 PK ), he was a force all night. From winning 5 of 9 draws, having 3 shots on ( 2 misses ) that resulted in the only goal. Bruin fans will call it an embellish when Chara speared Lappy after a whistle, but that looked like it actually hurt some. A +1, of course, with 4 hits and 1 takeaway complete a very good night. 10/10.
Raffi Torres was flying too. His 3 hits were all of the big variety, looking like the Human Bowling Ball we know and love. In 17 shifts and 11:01 TOI ( all 5 on 5 ), he was a big part of his line being a force. An assist and a +1, and 1 blocked shot. A tripping penalty the only blemish on a hard working night. 9.25/10.
Jannik Hansen worked hard all night. Sometimes moved around a little bit in the third, it was definitely not because of his play, and more about defensive match ups and needing the second centre out there. In 19 shifts and 13:23 TOI ( 3:00 of excellent PK time ), he had 1 missed shot. He had 3 hits and 2 takeaways too. The usual hard working night we are used to seeing. 9.15/10.
Damn, I like this 4th line! ;
Manny Malhotra. The man must be pinching himself that he is here, and making every minute of it count. He heard the "Manny" chant again tonight after a solid PK shift. In 24 shifts and 11:00 TOI ( led all forwards with 3:29 on the PK ), he was a +1, had a shot on net, a block, a takeaway, and a hit. He won 7 of 12 draws ( it was telling that even though he lost three straight late in the game in his own end, he was out there in the last 30 seconds, and battled the puck out to clinch the victory. ). 8.98/10.
Victor Oreskovich has really impressed me this playoffs. He moves so fast for a big man, and was dependable all night. 2 shots on goal, 2 hits, and 2 takeaways in 9 shifts and a team low 4:44 TOI. Impressive. 9.22/10.
Tanner Glass must be the happiest guy in the room tonight. He had a tremendous chance to score on a slick Tanev set up, and whiffed on an open net. That being said, he was way better than his previous Finals experience. In 8 shifts and 5:27 TOI, he had a shot,a block,a hit, and a giveaway ( a bad one) in his own end that he worked hard to get back and out. 8.8/10.
Now THAT is a deep blue line ;
What a bounce back night for the blue liners tonight. Kevin Bieksa had yet another partner tonight, Edler. They were wonderful. Juice got an assist on the winning goal with a smart play off the boards to set up Lapierre. In his 31 shifts and 24:15 TOI ( 2:14 PP / 4:17 PK ), he was part of the game's best shutdown pair with Eddy. 1 assist, a +1, 1 shot on goal ( and a well placed shot wide that led to the goal )3 blocks, 4 hits, 1 takeaway, and 3 giveaways that were mostly made moot by his teammates backing him up. 9.16/10.
Alexander Edler was just about the best non goalie on the ice tonight. In his 30 shifts and 23:03 TOI ( 2:07 PP / 4:17 of very solid PK time ), he was a +1, and only had 1 shot on net. He blocked 2 shots, and had a game high 10 hits ( no one else had 5 ). Most of them were bone rattlers too. 9.8/10.
Christian Ehrhoff gets some stick for his occasional giveaway and brain fart pass up the middle at the wrong time. In 30 shifts and 24:36 TOI ( 3:46 PP / 1:27 PK ), he led the back end with 4 shots. Missed 1, blocked 2, had 1 hit, and 1 takeaway to offset his 2 giveaways. 9.05/10.
Sami Salo was very good once again. He backed up Ehrhoff's rushes all night, and was very good at both ends of the rink. In his 33 shifts and 24:11 TOI ( 3:50 PP / 3:36 PK ), he had 4 missed shots ( one of the few things he did wrong tonight ) The 2 hits seem low, but maybe they gave his to Edler. 9.01/10.
Christopher Tanev is a freak. An icy, stone cold, never get bothered freak. Tonight, even when under severe pressure from an opponent that knew he was the rookie they were going to target, he always made the right play in his 21 shifts and 12:15 TOI ( all but :05 PK time was 5 on 5 ) The stat line says that in that time, he had 1 block. But that says so little. The right pass every time. The fake shot and set up for Glass was a thing of beauty. Thank you GMMG and Dave Gagner for finding this guy. 9.6/10.
Andrew Alberts had a better game tonight, compared to the last one. Funny how that happens every time a guy is paired up with Tanev. In his 19 shifts and 11:59 TOI ( a very good 2:19 of that on the penalty kill ), he had 1 shot, 2 blocks, 2 hits and a giveaway, to go with his only real blemish, a high hit on Thornton that led to the third straight PP for the visitors. 8.91/10.
Hey Luongo haters...suck it ;
As a self appointed Bishop of the 1st Church of LuonGOD, I am probably one of Roberto Luongo's biggest believers. When I hear all the guff he gets in comparison to the game's best at his position, it angers me. The MSM types trying to make it sound like Cory Schneider "deserves this start over Luongo" was a bit insulting. ( I love Schneids' too, but really? ) Sure, get on him when he is not the best, but a little understanding please. Sometimes it is not only the goalie at fault on a goal folks! Roberto was the difference tonight. His shutout in the biggest game of the team's history was another example of the way this guy plays. His work in his crease was awesome. Under control. Stopping every rebound and tip. Only Chris Kelly beat him tonight, and he could not beat the thin red best friend of the goaltenders. His saves on Bergeron two times in a row had him shaking his head. He stoned Ryder in close. The save on Boychuk on the last best chance looked easy, even though it was a solid chance through a screen. Same with a late save on a Kelly tip. A very hard save that looked easy. 10/10.
I am so proud of this team tonight. "Everyone steps up their level of play, and did whatever it takes", as Luongo said afterwards. My fave quote of the night, when they asked him about the winning goal? "Its not hard if you are playing in the paint. So, its an easy save for me, but if you are wandering out and aggressive, that will happen..." OH SNAP!! Cannot wait until Monday night.