VANCOUVER – It appeared Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final was heading for overtime with the two teams scoreless, and less than a minute remaining in the third, but then at Raffi Torres beat Tim Thomas with 19 seconds remaining in the game to give the Canucks a 1-0 win on Wednesday night at Rogers arena.
On the play, Vancouver center Ryan Kesler did a good job of keeping the play onside at the Bruins blue line and then fed a pass cross-ice to Jannik Hansen. The danish forward saw Torres streaking down the left side and it appeared Thomas had committed to Hansen shooting. Hansen sent the puck across to Torres and Torres was able to beat Thomas, who was diving to catch the shot from the trailer on the play.
"They were able to keep it in at the blue line," said Thomas. "(Hansen) was able to get into a spot where I was starting to cut down the angle because he was in a dangerous enough spot that I had to take that shot and that's when he was able to make the pass to the guy cutting to the net – I didn't even know (Torres) was there."
Added Kesler: "I saw their line was changing and I saw an opening to maybe go on the offense. Our 'D', (Kevin Bieksa), made an unbelievable pass. I just chipped it by (Johnny Boychuk), held on it for a little bit. Saw Jannik. Jannik made a great heads-up play to Raffi and Raffi buried it."
Prior to gaining control of the puck, Kesler did an excellent job of keeping the puck just onside. Afterward, the Bruins were not contesting the play.
"Even if it was or wasn't (offside), wouldn't change the outcome right now," said Bruins head coach Claude Julien.
Bruins forward, and Vancouver native, Milan Lucic was the backchecker on Hansen, but could not get to the Canucks forward before he made his pass to Torres.
"They made a play up the boards and they got the guy coming off the bench," said Lucic. "A couple guys went at him, they made a play and it turned into a 2-on-1."
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, who was out on a late shift with Boychuck on the goal, was diving to block Hansen's pass, but did not get a piece of it with his body.
"It was a broken up play on the blue line, a turnover, whatever happened there – they hit the late guy coming in, obviously they had a back-door coming as well, he made a nice play," Chara said. "Instead of shooting, he decided to pass and, obviously, he put it in."
The Canucks third line of Torres, Hansen and Maxim Lapierre had a solid third period combining for eight of Vancouver's 14 shots on goal.
"We feel like we've been gaining confidence throughout the whole (playoffs)," said Torres, the lone Canucks player with Stanley Cup Final experience. "I thought Jannik and Lappy had a hell of a third period to go along with a pretty solid game. For us, it's pretty simple hockey, getting pucks deep, trying to work their 'D'. Our confidence is pretty high right now. But we know, like Kesler said it's just one game, we got to carry that into Game 2."