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Friday, June 10, 2011
Rapid reaction: Canucks 1, Bruins 0

By James Murphy



VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Roberto Luongo silenced the critics with a 31-save 1-0 shutout to give the Vancouver Canucks a 3-2 series lead in the Stanley Cup finals. Maxim Lapierre scored the lone goal of the game, beating Tim Thomas 4:35 into the third period.

The Boston Bruins are headed home for Game 6 on Monday, facing elimination for the third time in the playoffs.

Thomas and Luongo duel it out. In a game very similar to Game 1, in which neither goaltender blinked until Thomas was beaten by Raffi Torres with 19 seconds left in the game, Luongo and Thomas traded saves in a classic duel. And it again was Thomas who blinked first when Maxim Lapierre beat him at 4:35 into the final period. Thomas finished with 24 saves.

The Lapierre goal was the first scored on Thomas in 110 minutes, 42 seconds, dating back to the third period of Game 3. He made 61 saves during that span. Luongo answered the bell in a big way after allowing 12 goals in the past two games, making 31 saves in the shutout, including two point-blank ones on Patrice Bergeron on a Bruins power play late in the first period.

Former Hab burns Bruins. Of all players to beat the Bruins, it had to be Maxim Lapierre, right? The ex-Montreal Canadien, who is just as much a thorn in the side of the Bruins as he was when he wore the bleu, blanc et rouge and was called “disgraceful” by Boston coach Claude Julien earlier in the series, broke a scoreless deadlock 4:35 into the third period. Lapierre publicly stated prior to the series that he still hates the Bruins, and after Friday night the feeling is mutual for the Bruins and their fans.

Bruins power play reverts to normalcy. In a game like this one, where goals were very difficult to come by, the power play was crucial, and the Bruins blew a chance for the early lead by failing to convert four straight power plays to start the game. Vancouver got the next two and also failed to score, but the Bruins could have made this a very different game had they capitalized on even one of those four power plays. Also, why was Gregory Campbell out on the power play and not Tyler Seguin? The Bruins finished the game 0-for-4. The Canucks were 0-for-3.

Bruins a better home team now?. Throughout the regular season and for the first two rounds of the playoffs, the Bruins had been a superb road team. But that has suddenly changed. With their loss in Game 5, the Bruins have now lost five straight road games in the playoffs and are 5-6 on the road. They haven’t won on the road since Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals. Meanwhile they have won five straight at home and are 9-3 on TD Garden ice.

Another change on defense for the Canucks. Vancouver made another change on defense for Game 5, inserting Christopher Tanev for Keith Ballard. Vancouver has been hampered by injuries on defense, specifically the one to their top minutes eater, Dan Hamhuis, who has missed the past four games. The Canucks have used nine defensemen in the series.