Bruins-Canucks Game 1 Scoring Chances

Game 1 was the kind of game I expected the Bruins to win. Boston was able to kill off six Vancouver powerplays and kept the Canucks off the score-sheet completely….until Johnny Boychuk lost Raffi Torres which led to him burying a chance by Tim Thomas with less than 20 seconds left. Boston played the kind of game they needed to stay in this series but the bounces didn’t go their way and they couldn’t bury any of their chances. They also had six powerplays and didn’t score on any of them, which includes a 4-minute double minor they had to start the game.  It’s a pretty deflating loss for them even if it is only game 1 but I was impressed with how they played defensively in this game so I won’t completely count them out. Aside from a boring second period, I thought this was a pretty decent game 1. There was some dirty play on both team’s part (moreso Vancouver) and a lot of sloppy passes but both teams were coming off a pretty long lay-off. Just hope the same thing doesn’t happen when they play again…which isn’t until Saturday. The scheduling is killing me.

It looks like the game was even in terms of scoring chances but most of Boston’s in the first period came on their powerplay opportunities. Vancouver had 8 unanswered chances in the last 10 minutes of the period including six which came with the man (and two-man) advantage. They did dominate the second period, though. One that was filled with numerous whistles and sloppy play. The refs let the team’s play more in the third and it was pretty evenly matched but you could tell that Boston’s defense was worn down a bit with how many odd-man rushes they were allowing. The game-winning goal nearly came earlier with Tomas Kaberle going off for a line change at the worst time and gift-wrapping a break-away for Jannik Hansen. Luckily for the Bruins, Tim Thomas was on his game. Luongo didn’t quite have to stand on his head as much as Thomas since most of the Bruins best chances either went wide or came from the outside. It would have helped if Thomas didn’t over-commit on Torres goal but Boychuk left him out to dry there big time. Surprised that Boston wasn’t able to take advantage of the Canucks playing without one of their best defensemen for most of the game. I thought that would play a bigger factor than it did.

Bruins Scoring Chances by Player:

Best ES Forwards: Nathan Horton +4, David Krejci +4

Worst ES Forwards: Chris Kelly -4, Michael Ryder -4

Best ES Defenseman: Dennis Seidenberg +4

Worst ES Defenseman: Johnny Boychuk -5

Good news for Boston? Their first line was very good. Had the best rating out of anyone else in their forward corps. Bad news? Everyone else wasn’t. Bergeron’s line didn’t have a good game at all and their bottom-six was poor at preventing chances. Not particularly good for a team who relies on the bottom-six to be defensively sound. The exile of Tyler Seguin continues… How about Seidenberg though? What an impressive performance from him and that was with him missing time with an injury. It’s good that he is playing well with Chara not being as impressive…although I think Boston is grossly misusing him by putting him down low on the powerplay instead of at the point where he should be. Having Kaberle there instead certainly didn’t help. Boychuk continues to be terrible. Water is still wet.

Canucks Scoring Chances by Player

Best ES Forward: Raffi Torres +6

Worst ES Forward: Fourth line -1

Best ES Defenseman: Christian Ehrhoff +8

Worst ES Defenseman: Sami Salo, Aaron Rome -1

Torres wasn’t just at the right place at the right time, he was great all game at creating chances although it helps when he has better linemates like he did tonight. Noticed he was out with Kesler and Raymond more than usual. The Sedins and Burrows were also very good and it will be pretty big if Burrows gets suspended for biting Patrice Bergeron (and he should, as it was a chicken-shit move). They are already missing Samuelsson so if Vancouver loses another winger it will mean that the top 6 is going to be ridden even more than they were in this game. Then again, maybe this means a promotion to the Sedin line for someone like Higgins, Torres or Raymond? That could work. I just have to laugh at how little Vancouver used that fourth line tonight. I was surprised they even had one chance against them. Interesting to see that Aaron Rome was chosen as Hamhuis replacement in this game seeing how I thought Salo would be a better option. Ehrhoff sure was a workhorse tonight, though. Jesus.

Head-to-Head

As you can see, Rome was given more tough match-ups than he was probably used to and he struggled. Maybe this will convince Vingeault to play Keith Ballard instea-oh who am I kidding? Hamhuis is listed as day-to-day so I think we will see him return. Krejci’s line was the only one for the Bruins who were controlling play and creating chances. Like I noted earlier, it’s good that they are playing well but Bergeron’s line and the rest of their forward corps are going to have to be A LOT better. Chara and Seidenberg didn’t fare so well against the Sedins, but Kesler’s line struggled against almost everyone…except for Boychuk and Ference. This also shows how well Torres played as he did well against almost everyone no matter what line he was on. Peverely for Boston also did well against tough competition. Ehrhoff managed to win all of his matchups.

Maybe this game will show Boston that they can’t rely on Tim Thomas to steal their games for them? I’m not sure what else to say because it looked like that Boston had a good chance at taking game 1 and then one bounce didn’t go their way and now they find themselves down a game. Getting into a firewagon style game against this Canucks team is the last thing you want to do but Boston’s going to have to find a way to score some goals if they want a chance in this series. It starts with capitalizing on the numerous chances Vancouver gave them early in the game. The Canucks played way too undisciplined for any team to let them get away with it but unfortunately for the Bruins, their powerplay is lifeless right now. That has to change if they want to win (or possibly even tie) this series.

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