Jun 022011
 

Maybe it was the aura of the Stanley Cup Finals and knowing what was at stake at the end of it, but for a game that finished 1-0, game 1 was pretty darn entertaining.

The Vancouver Canucks relied heavily on Roberto Luongo for about 59 minutes and 40 seconds of game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Then, with 19 seconds left, Raffi Torres finished a pretty passing play with Ryan Kesler and Jannik Hansen. He scored the only goal of the game and gave the Canucks an early 1-0 series lead over the Boston Bruins.

Winning game 1 was huge. 77% of teams who’ve won game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals have gone on to win the Stanley Cup. 86% of teams who’ve won game 1 of the Stanley Cup FInals on home ice have gone on to win the Cup. The last 5 teams who shut out their opponents in game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals – the 2008 Red Wings, 2003 Devils, 2001 Avalanche, 1984 Oilers and 1983 Islanders – went on to win the Cup.

But perhaps bigger than the stats, game 1 showed the Canucks were able to withstand some of the best the Bruins have. The Bruins put 36 shots on Luongo and had numerous other scoring chances. They had an early 4-minute powerplay in the first period and a minute-and-a-half long 5-on-3 powerplay early in the second period. The Canucks lost Dan Hamhuis to an undisclosed injury and rolled out 5 defensemen for most of the night. Yet, the Canucks still came out with a victory.

The Hero

Roberto Luongo. Luo made 36 saves for his third shutout of these playoffs – all three coming in game 1′s.

The Goat

Tomas Kaberle. 4:03 minutes of powerplay ice-time and the Bruins’ prized trade acquisition managed a mere 2 shots on goal. He was equally invisible in the other 10 minutes he played.

The Numbers

  • 2:30. Jeff Tambellini led the Canucks’ fourth line with 2:30 minutes of ice-time. Yes, led. Linemates Alex Bolduc and Victor Oreskovich didn’t even crack the 2-minute mark.
  • 28:09. Zdeno Chara led all skaters with 28:09 minutes of ice-time. Defensive partner Dennis Seidenberg wasn’t that far behind with 27:13.
  • 4. Alex Burrows took 4 minor penalties. The Canucks can’t be pleased that they gave Boston 6 powerplay opportunities, including a lengthy 5-on-3.
  • 32. Henrik Sedin had a rough night on the faceoff circle, only winning 32% of his faceoffs (8-for-25).
  • 12. Both teams had 6 powerplays each in the first 2 periods. Neither team had any in the 3rd.
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