The Vancouver Canucks defeated the Boston Bruins 1-0 Friday night to takes a 3-2 lead in the Stanley Cup final. Here’s a report card on the two teams (performances rated 1-to-10):
Boston: Tim Thomas took the loss, but allowed only one goal on 25 shots. That ended a shutout string dating to 13:53 of the third period of Game 3. The Bruins were outplayed, and without Thomas at his best, the score would have been higher. 8.
Vancouver: Everyone loves Roberto Luongo again. The rangy goalie was under huge pressure after allowing 12 goals in two games in Boston and responded with a big effort, stopping all 31 Bruins shots. He was especially sharp stoning Patrice Bergeron on two chances from alone in front in the second frame. Best of all, nothing messy went in. 9.
Boston: The top pair of Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg were back to playing big minutes—more than 27 each—and were Boston’s best pair. From the second period on, Vancouver generated most of the chances, and as a group the defence didn’t do quite the shutdown job they had done at home. 7.
Vancouver: Taking rusty Keith Ballard out and inserting Chris Tanev turned out well as the newcomer had a solid game. Tanev should have had an assist but his feed to fourth-liner Tanner Glass was whiffed. Alex Edler was much improved playing with top rearguard Kevin Bieksa. 8.
Boston: There wasn’t quite as much jump in their legs as they had in Boston and, after scoring almost at will for two games at home, they came up empty. There were a handful of good chances, notably by the Bergeron line, but the David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Rich Peverley trio was quiet. 4.
Vancouver: When they stopped trying to play body-crashing Bruins’ hockey in the first period and turned to the high-tempo game that worked so well in the opening two games, they got chances and finally the game-winning goal. But their best unit once again was the third line led by goal-scorer Max Lapierre with Raffi Torres and Jannik Hansen. The Sedin twins had their moments, but still need find the net. 5.
Boston: They’re starting to look like the hapless group they were in the first three rounds, going 0-for-4 with only a couple of decent chances. Not scoring on the only three chances of the first period and the first four chances of the game was a key factor in the loss. The penalty killers can thank Thomas more than anyone else for going a perfect 3-for-3. 3.
Vancouver: They didn’t score on the power play, but the NHL’s No. 1 unit in the regular season at least began to look like its old self again, controlling the puck and getting it to the net. Only consistent power play scoring can tone down the Bruins’ physical game. One PP goal in the series won’t do it. 5.