Canucks postmortem

Vancouver — The Globe and Mail

Raffi Torres of the Vancouver Canucks celebrates with his teammates Victor Oreskovich and Kevin Bieksa after a goal late in the third period. (Harry How/2011 Getty Images)

Alain Vigneault got it right.

For a 1-0 game, there were a fair number of scoring opportunities in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final. It wasn't like Vancouver's series against the Nashville Predators.

The Canucks and Boston Bruins are the two best defensive teams in the NHL, but there were goals to be had out there, and they could still come as the series progresses.

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For the moment, the Bruins trail the series 1-0 because their dreadful power play was, well, dreadful again. It went 0-for-6, as did Vancouver's, but it squandered a two-man advantage, and a four-minute double minor on Daniel Sedin in the first period.

Boston may have gotten through the weak Eastern Conference without needing its power play, but it is not going to beat the best team in the West, the superior conference, and in the league, without improvement on this front.

Some other impressions and observations on Game 1...

Vancouver

Roberto Luongo

He made 36 saves for his third shutout of the playoffs, but most important was an adjustment that he made after Boston's first power play. With 6-foot-9 Zdeno Chara standing in front of the net, Luongo can't peak over his shoulder, as he likes to do with other net-front players. So he'll be looking around Chara, and the Canucks have decided not to mark the big Bruin, and allow Luongo to handle him. As Luongo noted, so long as Vancouver's penalty killers force the Bruins to take shots from the side -- and not the middle of the ice -- he will see the puck. And that means he should stop it.

The third line

It was tremendous. Raffi Torres got the game-winning goal. Jannik Hansen generated all sorts of chances, and turned his speed into an offensive weapon. And unlike Alex Burrows, who bit Boston's Patrice Bergeron and took four undisciplined penalties, Maxim Lapierre kept his emotions in check and played a solid game.

Boston

Tim Thomas

It was a splendid game, but you wonder if he can keep it up given how many times he was scrambling around after the initial save. That is Thomas's unorthodox style, but the Canucks have many skill players who move the puck quickly, and the B's goalie could be even more susceptible to second and third chances. Vigneault noted how often Thomas plays outside of his crease, and claimed the Bruins goaltender was initiating contact in order to draw penalties. The Canucks boss said he would seek "clarification" from the league on this issue.

Neutral zone

Head coach Claude Julien said he didn't like his team's game between the blue lines. He said there were too many turnovers near the Vancouver blue line, and that Boston did not get the puck deep into enemy territory frequently enough. On the defensive side, Vancouver moved too quickly through neutral ice, and wasn't fighting to gain the offensive zone. "It wasn't, probably, at par for our club," Julien said.