Everybody knows by now that the Vancouver Canucks are up 2-0 in the series after Alex Burrows scored 11 seconds into overtime. It wasn’t a great time to be at the concession stand.
Burrows, who received a great deal of negative attention in the Boston media over allegedly biting Patrice Bergeron, was Vancouver’s best player on Saturday night with two goals and one helper. With 100,000 rabid Canucks fan in the downtown core and another 18,860 in Rogers Arena, it couldn’t have been a better scene for Vancouver to snag the 3-2 victory.
“From the face-off Daniel made a perfect play to chip the puck to the middle,” Burrows said of the winner. “We know [Thomas] is aggressive so I just tried to be patient. I haven’t seen the replay, but I think I lost the puck but got it back to score.”
Daniel Sedin popped in the tying goal at 9:37 of the final frame to force overtime.
Milan Lucic and Mark Recchi, two BC boys, scored for the Bruins. Boston goalie Tim Thomas was his club’s best player, making 30 saves on the night.
Manny Malhotra was one of many big stories going into Saturday’s game. Many speculated that he wouldn’t suit up just yet, but when the team took to the ice for the pre-game skate he was there and ready to rock. Fans chanted for him when he took his first shift at 1:48 into the game. It was to take a faceoff, of course.
Manny wound up winning six of seven draws, logging nearly seven and a half minutes of ice time in his return.
“Right from the warmup, it was kind of sensory overload, just the noise, the crowd into, all the towels waving,” Malhotra said. “It’s the first time I’ve seen the home crowd that excited in playoffs. I guess I really didn’t settle down until my first shift. It was obviously a great feeling, the ovation I got the first shift, but maybe it kind of put a little more nerves on me, wanting to do something out there and execute. So once I got out there and won my first draw, I felt a little bit better.”
“It was a real happy moment for our whole group to be able to put Manny in the lineup and to have him play the way he did…He was good on the ice,” head coach Alain Vigneault said. “He created a scoring chance.”
“This guy has been the rock of this room from day one,” Malhotra’s linemate Jeff Tambellini said. “It doesn’t surprise me that he was able to step and do what he did. He prepared as if he was going to play every game from the minute that he got hurt.”
Boston Comes Apart
The winning goal by Vancouver’s Alex Burrows illustrated exactly how much the Boston Bruins are unravelling at this point and time. From Zdeno Chara’s chasing form of defence to Tim Thomas’ predictable aggression, the Canucks forward had both numbers and popped the puck in a largely open net from a bad angle.
Boston did look to have something going in the second period, but that quickly shifted “back to normal” and Vancouver was back in the driver’s seat. The Canucks won key puck battles and seemed to have more hustle than the Bruins – again.
Game One was a similar story, with Boston’s defence failing to live up to their billing. Chara hasn’t really played well all series long thus far and his partner, Dennis Seidenberg, has been holding them in it but just barely. While the pair was once thought to represent a “big chore” for the ‘Nucks, they haven’t really been able to stop Vancouver’s forwards from buzzing around at will.
The reason this series is as close scoreboard-wise as it is because of Tim Thomas. When asked about the Burrows goal that ended the second game in the series, he had few explanations. “I don’t know,” he said. “I can’t tell you anything that happened before or after Burrows when he got the pass…I don’t know where it came from I don’t know whether we won the faceoff or they won the faceoff.”
For the Bruins, it’s back to the drawing board. They have the opportunity to set things up and home, but history doesn’t bode well for a series comeback being down two games in the Stanley Cup Final. The Bruins kind of dig the underdog role, on the other hand, and that might present more than a few threats for the Canucks.