|06.12.11 at 12:19 am ET|
You’re going to find this hard to believe, but there are about five area codes full of people in New England who don’t like certain members of the Canucks these days. Some of it stems from the fact the Bruins are in a 3-2 Stanley Cup finals hole. But it stretches beyond just the issues that face Claude Julien‘s team as it sits on the brink of elimination.
It has gotten personal.
Which Canucks player is the biggest villain?
- Alexandre Burrows (63%, 239 Votes)
- Maxim Lapierre (20%, 76 Votes)
- Aaron Rome (9%, 36 Votes)
- Daniel and Henrik Sedin (4%, 15 Votes)
- Roberto Luongo (3%, 13 Votes)
Total Voters: 379
So the question is this: Which member of the Canucks has raised your ire the most? The choices are …
Reason for ire: Burrows got the animosity kicked into high gear in Game 1 when he (allegedly) chomped down on Patrice Bergeron‘s finger. Making matters worse was when the NHL offered no disciplinary action, leading to Burrows scoring two goals in Game 2, including the game-winner in overtime. Milan Lucic eased the pain of Bruins fans a bit in Game 3 by first pounding the forward’s head during a scrum, and then taunting him by offering his own finger. Yet, still, Burrows has already ingrained himself in Boston sports lore with his dastardly actions.
Reason for ire: Luongo was cruising along through the finals, simply serving as the other team’s goalie who had some good games, and (much to the delight of Bruins fans) some really bad ones. But then came the press conference following Game 5, when he uttered the following phrase regarding Max Lapierre‘s goal against Tim Thomas: ‘It’s not hard if you’re playing in the paint,’ Luongo said of the difficulty of the play. ‘It’s an easy save for me, but if you’re wandering out and aggressive like he does, that’s going to happen. He might make some saves that I won’t, but in a case like that, we want to take advantage of a bounce like that and make sure we’re in a good position to bury those.’ Matters were only made worse Saturday when Luongo not only didn’t back off the statement, but commented about how Thomas hadn’t complimented him (see video below).
Reason for ire: Lapierre first entered Bruins’ fans radar in Game 2 when he took “Bite-Gate” to another level, taunting Bergeron by holding out his finger as an offering to pull a “Burrows.” Boston’s Mark Recchi enacted some revenge by executing the same sort of shenanigans in Game 3, presenting his own finger to Lapierre for a sampling. Then came the ultimate disgrace in the eyes of Bruins fans: Lapierre scored the game-winner in Game 5. In the eyes of Boston fans, simply unacceptable.
Reason for ire: He left his feet to deliver the crushing open-ice hit on Nathan Horton that resulted in a concussion and the Bruins losing one of their top scorers for the rest of the playoffs. Sure, Rome tried to reach out to Horton to express his concern for the winger, and the NHL suspended Rome for four games, a period that will cover the rest of the Stanley Cup finals.
None of that is of any consolation to the Bruins, who lost one of their top offensive players while the Canucks go without a third-pairing defenseman. Most New Englanders viewed the play as dirty, and with the B’s offense sputtering in Game 5, it certainly could have been a difference-maker in the series.
HENRIK AND DANIEL SEDIN
Reason for ire: The were supposed to represent the reason Bruins fans should be wary of going up against the Canucks, but have done little live up to their reputation. They have been pushed around, with nary a sign of fighting back with what can be a boatload of hockey wizardry. But besides the fact that the twins are being viewed as posers by many who follow the B’s, also not helping their reputation was the pregame introduction the pair executed prior to Game 2, in which they called Burrows a vegetarian.
|06.11.11 at 5:58 am ET|
VANCOUVER — Some made a big deal of Roberto Luongo taking a shot at Tim Thomas before the series, even though Loungo never did so. Yet after Friday’s Game 5, Luongo may indeed have taken a bit of a dig at his fellow Vezina finalist.
One goal was allowed between both goaltenders, with Maxim Lapierre taking a puck that had bounced off the end boards after a Kevin Bieksa shot and beating Thomas. Asked whether he could make the save, Luongo went back to the series-long trend of talking about whether or not Thomas plays correctly postitionionally.
“It’s not hard if you’re playing in the paint,” Luongo said of the difficulty of the play. “It’s an easy save for me, but if you’re wandering out and aggressive like he does, that’s going to happen. He might make some saves that I won’t, but in a case like that, we want to take advantage of a bounce like that and make sure we’re in a good position to bury those.”
Luongo picked up his fourth shutout of the postseason Friday.
|06.10.11 at 11:25 pm ET|
The game-winning goal off the stick of Maxim Lapierre was a “lucky” break by the admission of the man who scored it. Lapierre was positioned to the right of Tim Thomas when he took a pass off the end boards and flipped it off the backside of Thomas. The puck trickled off of Thomas’ pads and dropped over the goal line, providing the margin of victory in Vancouver’s 1-0 win in Game 5.
“I was actually going backdoor for a tip,” Lapierre told Versus in a postgame interview, referring to a pass he was expecting from Kevin Bieksa in front of Thomas. “That was a good play. We got a little lucky but we’ll take it.”
“The puck got across the line by a couple of inches and that was the difference,” added Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault in his postgame press conference.
“I don’t think that was necessarily the play they were going for, from where the guy shot it to where it came out, he was pretty wide,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said of Bieksa’s pass from the right . “Normally, those pucks from where he shot it don’t come out there. Nonetheless, you make your own breaks. I think tonight – as a whole – they were the better team. I think we have to acknowledge that because if we don’t, we’re not going to be a better team the next game.”
Roberto Luongo – who stopped all 31 shots in the shutout – had his own take when asked if making saves like the one that got by Thomas are difficult.
“It’s not hard if you’re playing in the paint,” Luongo said, referring to Thomas’ aggressive approach. “It’s an easy save for me but if you’re wandering out and aggressive like he does, that’s going to happen.”
As for coming out stronger and outhitting the Bruins, 47-27, Lapierre said the Canucks were more in control.
“We played with a little more confidence and were more patient,” Lapierre said on his postgame TV interview. “It was good for us.”
Game 6 is now a must-win for the Bruins back in Boston Monday night. If the Bruins win, Game 7 is back in Vancouver Wednesday night.
|06.10.11 at 10:53 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — The Bruins have had plenty of reasons not to like Maxim Lapierre, and he provided another Friday as his game-winning goal in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals brought the Canucks one win away from winning the it all.
After a Kevin Bieksa shot in the third period went wide and bounced back to the side of Thomas Thomas’ net, Lapierre fired it on net, with the B’s goaltender rolling into the net with the puck to make it 1-0, the game’s final score.
Roberto Luongo picked up his second shutout of the series, and fourth of the playoffs.
The teams will head to Boston for Monday’s Game 6. If necessary, Game 7 will be played in Vancouver on Wednesday.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– All of the offensive firepower from Games 3 and 4 did not accompany the Bruins back to Vancouver. The B’s now have just two goals in three games at Rogers Arena in this series.
On the few solid opportunities that the B’s had, either Luongo would come up big or luck would play a factor. Brad Marchand was robbed by the Vancouver in front after a nice pass from Mark Recchi in the second period, and Chris Kelly hit the cross bar in the first.
– The B’s had three power plays in the first period, and the solid opportunities were rare. The B’s best chance on the man advantage came with Andrew Alberts in the box, and Patrice Bergeron tipping a Dennis Seidenberg slap shot. Luongo stopped that, and came up even bigger on the rebound. Manny Malhotra began that Bruins’ power play by getting stopped by Thomas on a shorthanded breakaway bid. On the night, the B’s were
Gregory Campbell saw time on each of the Bruins’ first three power plays, totaling 2:17 on the man advantage in the first period.
– The Bruins can’t expect to win a game without Milan Lucic or Michael Ryder getting a shot on goal. Neither were able to put a puck on Luongo the entire night. Lucic was also pit-pocketed at the Bruins’ blue line with about a minute left in the game.
– Alexandre Burrows was nice again on his worst behavior. In addition to taking a whack at Tim Thomas‘ glove well after the play was dead in the second period, he ramped up his diving game to new heights. He was called for a dive on a Milan Lucic trip before the face-off in the second period, and by the time the third period rolled around, it seemed the officials paid no mind to any contact made with Burrows and his subsequent reactions.
– Not the best time to take a tripping penalty for Rich Peverley. The Bruins’ offensive utility man went off with 7:51 remaining in a game the B’s were trailing by a goal.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Once again, the B’s were able to stop the Canucks on the power play. Vancouver fans weren’t happy with how few penalties were called on the Bruins, and the Canucks couldn’t capitalize on either of their three power plays. Vancouver is now 1-for-25 on the man advantage in the finals.
– Tanner Glass probably isn’t going to be sleeping well after he had as golden an opportunity as he’ll ever get in the second period, though the win probably softens the blow. Glass took a pass right on Thomas’ door step and had about one whole second and an entire open net to work with, but he couldn’t get a handle on it. The play fell apart for the Canucks, and so too did a great shot at leading 1-0 midway through the game. Glass did not play in the first three games of the series, so if the Canucks hadn’t eventually gotten on the score board, thetalk of Jeff Tambellini getting g in there for Game 6 would have started up.
|06.10.11 at 7:51 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — Join DJ Bean and a cast of other from Vancouver for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals. The B’s are looking for their first series lead.
|06.10.11 at 6:52 pm ET|
Orr has enjoyed staying close with the city of Boston since retiring and being a small part of this championship run.
“There are a lot of guys that are responsible for making hockey what it is in Boston,” Orr said. “I’m happy to be part of that. To be there the other night, the atmosphere was incredible. To see how this team has come along, how they’ve put it together. All season long they’ve had their bumps, but they’ve always answered the bell.
“The fourth game, in my mind, they just dominated every part of the game. They didn’t make a mistake. They were so solid. I thought they were even better in the fourth game than the third game. I think guys like [Milan] Lucic and [Zdeno] Chara played their very best games in the fourth game. I was so happy to be part of it, to watch this team. It’s been a thrill.”
Orr said that he’s not surprised the Bruins are two games from winning the Cup.
“They’ve shown so much character,” Orr said. “It’s wonderful to watch. And if you look, they’re getting something from everybody. Horton gets hurt, [Rich] Peverley steps in. [Michael] Ryder gets one the other night. Tim Thomas has been a star all year. [Brad] Marchand, this kid is incredible. This kid has played so so well. They’re getting production from everybody. Am I surprised? No, I’m not surprised.”
Orr joked that coach Claude Julien wouldn’t appreciate his offensive-minded playing style as he doesn’t fit the coach’s reserved game plan.
“Coach wouldn’t like me,” Orr said. “I don’t think he would like me taking off all the time. I was lucky. I played with a team that let me do my thing. I was owned by them when I was 14. If they have wanted me to change my style [they would have]. That’s the way I was most effective.”
Chara might play the same position as Orr, but he is as different a defenseman as they come. Orr spoke about Chara’s defensive abilities, as well as his length.
“Moving guys out of the way,” Orr said. “His reach. Nobody’s going to beat him on a one-on-one. He can keep it so far away from them. You’re not going to get close enough to him to get around him.”
Added Orr: “What you have to do is pick up his stick. ‘¦ I have a difficult time lifting it.”
Regarding Nathan Horton, who suffered a severe concussion in Game 3, Orr said that he is progressing.
“He’s doing fine,” Orr said. “Obviously he has headaches. ‘¦ Hopefully he’ll play and all the rest, but longterm health is what we’re concerned with now.”
“Certainly it was a late hit,” Orr said. “It was a high hit. It was an illegal hit. Those are the kind of hits we must get rid of. ‘¦ They must get rid of those high hits. I don’t understand why the players can’t body check. … Any hits to the head, accidental or not, have to be a penalty.”
|06.10.11 at 6:16 pm ET|
VANCOUVER ‘ The Bruins are starting out this trip to Vancouver just the way they did the last time around: even in the Stanley Cup finals. This time around, it’s a best-of-three series, and the importance of getting a road win is magnified greatly. Sticking with the fun game-number-themed preview, here’s a look at Game 5.
FIVE THINGS THE BRUINS NEED TO DO
– Bring that home game on the road: Obviously, it is impossible for the B’s to replicate both the strategy and execution of Games 3 and 4 given that Canucks now have the last change, but all things considered, the Bruins can have success by continuing what made them successful in a couple of lopsided road wins: capitalize on what a disaster the Canucks have been offensively, and get to Roberto Luongo more with better opportunities. That’s something they can do without the benefit of last change.
– Keep the Sedins silent: The brothers Sedin were supposed to be stars of the Stanley Cup finals, and the fact that they have yet to show up would warrant any angry fan demanding a refund. The Zdeno Chara ‘ Dennis Seidenberg pairing vs. the Sedins has clearly worked out in the Bruins’ favor, as a two-point performance in Game 2 for Daniel Sedin remains the only time either brother has shown up on the scoring sheet in the first four games.
– Sustain the surprising special teams play: This series was supposed to be about the Canucks’ power play dominating, while the B’s would continue their no-show on the man advantage. Instead, it’s been the Bruins who have three power play goals through first four games, while the Canucks are 1-for-22.
– Score more than two goals: With the way the last two games have gone, Bruins fans might expect the B’s to toss six past Luongo Friday, but it was the lack of scoring at Rogers Center in Games 1 and 2 that hurt them in the end. It looks like they’ve exposed the Canucks’ defense well enough at this point, so the B’s should hope they can buck their trend of being limited on the scoreboard (two goals in their last trip here) at Rogers Arena.
– Let the Canucks obsess over Tim Thomas: The more they complain, the less success they have, which causes them to complain and repeat the process. On the ice, they keep trying to bug him with childish antics such as trying to knock Thomas’ stick loose by hitting the top of it, and thus far it has only frustrated the Canucks. Thomas should watch how much he reacts, as his slash on Alexandre Burrows was retaliatory, but still ill-advised. As long as Thomas continues to limit the Canucks the way he has (one goal allowed over the last two games), he can do pretty much whatever he wants.
– The last time the Bruins dropped two straight games to open a series (the quarterfinals vs. the Canadiens in April), they won three straight before eventually taking the series in seven games. The B’s
– Assists is the only major statistical category in which a Bruins player does not lead this postseason. David Krejci leads all postseason players in points (22), and goals (11), Zdeno Chara has a playoffs-best plus-14 rating, and Tim Thomas leads all goaltenders with a .936 save percentage and 2.11 goals against average. He is tied with Roberto Luongo with three shutouts and 14 wins, while Henrik Sedin is the only Canucks player to lead a category by himself. He has a postseason-best 19 assists. Thomas surpassed Carey Price‘s postseason-leading numbers with his shutout on Wednesday.
– This is now the Bruins’ first series this postseason in which the team that score the first goal won each of the first four games.
– Tomas Kaberle has had a negative rating in just two of the team’s 22 playoff games. His play has been improved in the Cup finals, and he’s
a plus-8 this postseason.
–Michael Ryder has had four points the last two games after having just two in the previous seven.
FIVE PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON
– Brad Marchand: The rookie pest was the best player on the ice Wednesday, flying and giving reminders that he’s more of a skill player than he may receive credit for. No. 63 has three points in the last two games, one of which was a beauty on the penalty kill Monday.
– Rich Peverley: After spending much of the last two rounds playing on either the fourth line or floating around in the lineup, Peverley showed he can handle playing on the Bruins’ first line by scoring two goals on Wednesday.
– Roberto Luongo: The Vezina finalist turned in back-to-back performances that warranted being pulled in Boston, but he insisted that he remain in the net for all of the team’s 8-1 loss in Game 3. The Bruins know to beat him high, and they’ve taken advantage of it. Alain Vigneault insists Luongo will remain the starter, as he should, but Luongo needs to prove that he isn’t falling apart on the biggest stage.
– Tyler Seguin: The rookie had a nice pass to set up Michael Ryder’s goal on Wednesday, but it looks like he’s regressing as far as the physical play goes. On the very shift in which Ryder scored, the rookie was chasing a puck in the corner but pulled up before he got there to avoid getting hit, and the Canucks broke it out easily. Seguin took so many steps in the right direction through the first few games of the Eastern Conference finals, and he needs to go back to that.
– Kevin Bieksa: It’s gotten worse and worse for Bieksa throughout this series, and if the report that Dan Hamhuis will remain out with a ruptured testicle is correct, the Canucks’ top-pair defenseman is in serious trouble. He’s been a minus-4 over the last two games, and Milan Lucic simply toyed with him priort to Peverley’s second goal Wednesday.