Saturday, June 11, 2011
Canucks blank Bruins 1-0 in Game 5, move one win away from Stanley Cup
I don't know what it is about the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals but neither team can put everything together on the road. As a result, the home team has won the first five games. That's great news for the Vancouver Canucks (who have home-ice advantage) and bad news for the Boston Bruins who cannot find the back of the net North of the border.
Vancouver won 1-0 last night in Game 5 as Maxim Lapierre scored on a lucky bounce and Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo (31 saves) put his Game 3 and 4 misery behind him.
Boston trails 3-2 in the series and they have to win at TD Garden on Monday night to send this series back to Vancouver on Wednesday for a winner-takes-all Game 7.
It's hard to explain how the B's could pile up 12 goals on Luongo in Games 3 and 4 at home and yet they've so far combined for two goals in Vancouver over three games (1-0, 3-2 in OT, 1-0).
On the same note, Luongo is seemingly a different guy when he's at home. Instead of a mess, he turns into a competent goaltender capable of winning a big game. I will say that the Bruins didn't really test him that much, other than Chris Kelly hitting the crossbar and Patrice Bergeron putting one off his blocker, but they don't ask you how you get it done at this level (unless your name is Tim Thomas).
Thomas (24 saves) was once again the best player on the ice and he deserved a better fate. Can we agree that he's secured the Conn Smythe (playoff MVP) regardless if the Bruins win or lose?
Lapierre scored at 4:35 of the third period after Kevin Bieksa shot it off the back boards intentionally and it took a fortunate bounce to Lapierre who was stationed on the other side of the crease. Lapierre didn't get much on the shot but Thomas was scrambling to get in position so he got a piece but he couldn't completely stop it from going over the line. It was nothing like the Game 2 overtime winner which was all on Timmy. This one was simply a lucky play for that dirtbag Lapierre (his second goal of the playoffs) and shit luck for the B's. Raffi Torres had the second assist.
From the start, it was obvious that the Canucks were a different team since they were throwing their body around, a stark difference from Boston where they reverted back to a soft, Eurotrash style game. At times, Vancouver was still flopping and pretending to be on the verge of death (Lapierre after getting slightly poked by Zdeno Chara in the stomach) so I guess that's totally ingrained in their DNA.
Boston got the first three power plays of the evening, all in the first period, but before you could say Gregory Campbell, they were 0 for 3. Claude Julien put Campbell on the power play for over two minutes of action while rookie Tyler Seguin logged only 12 seconds on the man advantage. This is not why the B's lost and I'm not going to dump on Claude too much at this point but really dude? That head scratching move was compounded by the fact that Seguin was one of the only Bruins that had any jump and speed. Most of the other Bruins looked a step slow, victims of the brutal cross-country travel and a 5 p.m. local start (yes, both teams have the same circumstances).
I'm not going to bank on a Bruins win in Game 6 but all signs point to them getting the job done at home one more time. The most important thing is for Boston to get a lead and put some doubt back in Luongo's mind. This series is not over and I'm confident in the proven fact that Boston has bounced back from every tough loss they've suffered this postseason. You know Thomas will show up and ditto for the Garden crowd. Now we just need the Bruins to pop a few goals in and shift the pressure back to Vancouver.