Game 1 of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup final tonight had to wait until 19:41 of the third period before Vancouver Canuck tough-checking forward Raffi Torres delivered the knockout punch in a 1-0 Canuck win over Boston Bruins.
Torres’ 3rd goal of the playoffs with only 19 seconds left came on a beautiful pass from linemate Jannik Hansen. Hansen was set up by Canuck centre Ryan Kesler who made a great play just inside the Bruin blueline in the dying seconds.
In a 1-0 game the goalies had to be stellar and certainly Canucks’ Roberto Luongo was in stopping all 36 Boston shots that came his way. Bruins’ netminder Tim Thomas was especially stellar, almost intergallactic, in stopping 33 shots – many of them of the difficult variety.
Canucks’ winger Alex Burrows certainly got his name on the game summary by drawing four of the six Vancouver minor penalties. He also may get an earful from the NHL head office Thursday when the league reviews his biting of Bruins’ centre Patrice Bergeron’s finger during a scuffle at the end of the first period.
Canucks’ defenceman Dan Hamhuis was injured at the 4:00 minute mark of the second period when he submarined Bruin winger Milan Lucic with a hip check that sent the big winger head over skates along the boards. He did not return to the game, leaving the Canucks with five defenceman for the rest of the contest.
The atmosphere around and inside Rogers Arena was understandably electric given the fact the Canucks had not been in a Cup final since 1994. Many areas around the city and outlying areas set up big screens where fans congregated for the game. Inside the arena celebrities like Burnaby B.C. native Michael J. Fox, now a U.S. citizen and New York City-area resident, were in attendance.
The next game in the final will be Saturday in Vancouver at 5 p.m. PDT.
by Cono Spitale