VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The magic number for the Vancouver Canucks is apparently one.
Three one-goal wins on their home ice, the latest coming in their 1-0 victory tonight.
A one-game advantage over the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final.
And one more victory necessary for the first title in the franchise's 41 years.
Maxim Lapierre scored the game's lone goal at 4:25 of the third period, and goaltender Roberto Luongo, so beleaguered during the Canucks' Games 3 and 4 losses at Boston when he allowed 12 goals, stopped all 31 shots he faced to give the Canucks a 3-2 advantage in the best-of-seven series.
If there's any solace for Bruins fans tonight, it's that Game 6 is Monday in Boston, where the Bruins thoroughly dominated Luongo and the Canucks, outscoring them 12-1.
The Bruins have outscored the Canucks 14-6 in the series thus far, but that does them no good at the moment. Vancouver won tonight in much the manner they took Games 1 and 2 at Rogers Arena, finding the net in a pivotal moment when the Bruins could not late in the game to win a game that could have gone either way.
Lapierre, a thorough pest to the Bruins in this series, scored the game's lone goal by being in the right place at the right time, collecting a shot by Kevin Bieksa that ricocheted behind the boards and punching it past Thomas.
The Bruins goalie stopped 24 of 25 shots he faced. But Luongo, who played so poorly in Boston that there was some talk he'd be replaced in net by Cory Schneider, found the form he showed in the first two games of the series.
Through five games of the series, no home team has lost. All the Bruins can do now is hope to keep that streak alive in Game 6, then break it here in Game 7.
Final score, Canucks 1, Bruins 0: Maxim Lapierre scored the game's lone goal at 4:25 of the third period, goalie Roberto Luongo made 31 saves, including 10 in the final period, and the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Bruins, 1-0, in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Arena tonight. The Canucks now lead the best of seven series, 3-2. We'll be back with more in a moment.
18:56: Bruins pull Thomas. They've had their chances, with 31 shots tonight, 10 this period.
17:30: Johnny Boychuk with a bullet from the point off the faceoff that Luongo stops with his glove, and the Canucks clear out the rebound.
16:22: Tomas Kaberle with pass to Peverley at the right post, but Luongo is in perfect position for the stop.
15:31:Lucic-Krejci-Seguin out there for the Bruins.
14:14: Bruins kill the penalty, and Peverley's speed leads to a quality shot by Seidenberg, but the deflection goes wide of Luongo.
12:09: Rich Peverley off for tripping Mason Raymond. The Rogers Arena crowd smells blood.
10:07: The Canucks are killing the Bruins on faceoffs, with Manny Malhotra just winning his sixth in seven tries in the Canucks' zone.
7:35: Luongo is giving up rebounds, but the Bruins haven't been in the right spot so far. Boston is outshooting Vancouver, 25-23.
4:25 third period, Canucks 1, Bruins 0: And the first goal goes to Vancouver . . . 44:25 into the game. Maxim Lapierre is in the right place at the right time, collecting a Kevin Bieksa shot that had ricocheted off the boards behind the net and punching it stick-side past the goalie as he lunged to his right. Lapierre nearly scored seconds earlier off a feed from Torres in nearly the same spot.
3:10: Chris Higgins breaks in stick-side on Thomas but fires the shot into the goalie's midsection. Vancouver is getting better looks than the Bruins, but it's not a signifcant advantage at the moment.
2:24: Burrows shoots wide in the slot after a clever drop pass from Henrik Sedin.
Start of the second period, Bruins 0, Canucks 0: Both teams with a decent opportunity in the first minute, Burrows for the Canucks and Marchand for the Bruins.
Second intermission quick stats: Tim Thomas's shutout streak is at 1 hour 6 minutes 7 seconds . . . Roberto Luongo has 21 saves tonight. He had 16 in Game 4 . . . The Canucks are 0 for 3 on the power play tonight and are now 1 for 24 in the series . . . The Bruins are 0 for 4 on the power play . . . Patrice Bergeron leads all players with five shots . . . The Canucks outshot the Bruins in second period, 12-9 . . . Vancouver has won 60 percent of faceoffs.
End of the second period, Bruins 0, Canucks 0: At the rate we're going tonight, the first team to score could be the last team to score. There have been 39 shots -- 21 by the Bruins -- and not a puck has eluded either Tim Thomas or Roberto Luongo. The Canucks have to lament Tanner Glass's missed opportunity when he whiffed on the puck while staring at an open net with seven minutes left in the period. Back with a few stats in a moment.
17:59: The puck trickles away from Thomas after a Burrows shot, but Andrew Ference clears away a fat rebound. And that's as good as it got for the Canucks on that penalty, with the Daniel PPaille-Greg Campbell-Shawn Thornton group doing the dirty work effectively as usual.
15:56: Bergeron sent off for holding after the Sedins create havoc in front of Thomas. This could be a pivotal moment.
12:44: Best chance of the night for either team when Tanner Glass has a wide-open net from about 12 feet out. The pucks trickles out to him alone on the right side after Thomas had made a save on the left side, but Glass whiffs on the shot and ends up shoveling in a backhand that Thomas smothers. Bruins catch a major break there, and it could haunt the Canucks.
11:02: Now the Bruins are buzzing, led by Marchand, who has had two good chances right on the doorstep. And Chara unleashed a laser from the high slot off a Marchand rebound that the apparently fearless Sami Salo dove to block. The Canucks defenseman had a tough time getting up and is doubled over on the bench after his shift.
8:43: The Canucks keep Thomas busy, but Rich Peverley kills a few seconds by pulling the puck back in the defensive zone when he could have gone 1 on 2, and the Bruins survive the onslaught.
7:22: The Canucks have their first power play when Adam McQuaid is called for holding Chris Higgins, who had a step on him in the Boston zone. Looked like McQuaid took Higgins down by checking him in the hip with his head, but it didn't look good.
7:11 Nothing doing on the power play, and the Bruins are now 0 for 4 with an extra man.
6:24: The arena fills yet again with "Yankees ----!!!" chants. Apparently the fans here know what happened in the Bronx the previous three days? (Some in the press box they're actually chanting "Refs, you ----!" Which is just as weak.)
5:19: Not much happening again on the power play. Lucic's shot from the slot is gloved almost casually by Luongo, who has 17 saves.
4:18: Possible break for the Bruins here. Ryan Kesler is sent to the box after appearing to charge into Tim Thomas, who banged his head on the post and stayed down for a few seconds. Replay showed it was Chara who hit the goalie.
3:38: In the big hits highlight reel aired on the scoreboard during the last TV timeout, close to half ended with the Canucks player down.
2:39: Vancouver's third line is controlling play in the Boston end, with the best opportunity coming on a Jannik Hansen slapper from the right point.
1:09: Daniel Sedin sneaks in for a close-range bid on Thomas that seems to materialize out of nowhere, but his shot is poked wide. The Canucks are buzzing out of the break.
Start of the second period, Bruins 0, Canucks 0: The second frame begins with Burrows and Lucic in the box for 1:28 apiece. Remember, during the two games in Boston, the Bruins outscored the Canucks, 6-0.
First intermission quick stats: The Canucks have clearly made a conscious effort to be the aggressor and go for the big hit, and it's reflected in the stats: Vancouver has 23 hits to Boston's 13, with Alex Edler leading the way with five . . . Zdeno Chara led the Bruins in ice time (9:14, with Seidenberg at 9:00), while Kevin Bieksa paced the Canucks at 8:53 . . . The Canucks have won 13 of 19 faceoffs (68 percent), with Maxim Lapierre and Manny Malhotra combining to go 5 for 5.
End of the first period, Bruins 0, Canucks 0: Well, those who agreed with the conventional wisdom that the team to score first would have a signficant advantage tonight might still be correct. But they're going to have to wait beyond the first period to find out which team it will be. The Bruins outshot the Canucks in the period, 12-6, and the best opportunity for either side was Patrice Bergeron's rebound on the doorstep with five minutes left in the period that Roberto Luongo stopped with his blocker. He's been sharp after two disastrous games in Boston, while Tim Thomas has stopped everything aimed his way, though he has given up some dangerous rebounds.
19:28: Great job by the officials, who get Lucic and Burrows for matching penalties after they were jostling for position in the faceoff circle. Lucic hooked Burrows's skate, and Burrows went down like Lucic hit him with a forearm shiver. Lucic gets a tripping penalty, Burrows is called for unsportsmanlike conduct, and the crowd disapproves of the correct call.
18:58: Chara gives Maxim Lapierre a tap with his stick. Lapierre doubles over like he needs immediate surgery and possible amputation. The men in stripes aren't fooled.
18:05: Canucks are definitely attempting to be the agitators. Henrik Sedin sprayed Tim Thomas after the whistle a moment ago, and Chris Higgins got the crowd roaring with a decent hit on Marchand, who Canucks fans seem to loath just a little more than they fear.
16:22: Bruins are now 0 for 3 on the power play, though they had their chances on that one against Luongo (10 saves).
15:09: Luongo stands tall on a great opportunity for the Bruins, stopping Patrice Bergeron's redirection of a Dennis Seidenberg slapper, then using his blocker to stone Bergeron point-blank on the rebound.
14:13: Andrew Alberts sent to the box for roughing after taking a shot at Patrice Bergeron's head. Shawn Thornton tells him not to do that again, though probably not in those particular words. Third power play coming up here for the Bruins.
13:11: Rookie Tyler Seguin is skating with David Krejci and Milan Lucic on the top line on this shift. Thus far, the Bruins are outshooting the Canucks, 8-3.
9:18: Vancouver kills the penalty, and generates a decent opportunity when Henrik Sedin fires one on Thomas coming out of the box that the goalie juggles and then nearly leaves the net open when trying to corral the rebound.
7:50: Bruins' first power-play unit of David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Patrice Bergeron, Seidenberg, and Tomas Kaberle doesn't do much with the man-advantage.
6:54: The Bruins get their second power play of the night when Henrik Sedin is sent off for interference. We'll let you know if Mike Milbury has comment on the call. Both Sedins have been extra chippy so far, at least by their usual standards.
5:03: Great opportunity for the Canucks when Mason Raymond dekes around a Bruins defensemen who dove to block a shot and skates in stick-side on Thomas, but his shot is deflected high behind the net by the Boston goalie.
4:05: A bullet dodged for Luongo, and a tough break for the Bruins. The Canucks goalie can't get a glove on Chris Kelly's shot from inside the right faceoff circle but the puck ricochets off the crossbar.
3:40: Canucks kill off the penalty. Three shots, but no real quality opportunities for the Bruins on Roberto Luongo.
1:39, first period: The first penalty is on Vancouver. Raffi Torres sent off for interference after shoving Gregory Campbell in the chest. The Canucks are clearly trying to match the Bruins' physical approach.
Start of the first period: Fans are anticipating a scoring opportunity every time the Canucks touch the puck, but the Bruins haven't let the energy in the building affect them.
Pregame: No surprises in either lineup. The Bruins start with the Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Mark Recchi line, with Dennis Seidenberg and Zdeno Chara in front of goalie Tim Thomas.
The Canucks go with the Sedin twins/Alexandre Burrows line, with Sami Salo and Christian Ehrhoff on defense. Roberto Luongo is greeted by cheers of "Looooooooo!" when introduced as the starting goalie. A couple of early goals by the Bruins could change that first consonant.
The guy who sings the "Star-Spangled Banner" here can't get through it fast enough. If this comes back for a Game 7, I'm betting on him skipping a verse.
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Greetings from an extremely loud Rogers Arena, where the Bruins are set to faceoff in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final with the Vancouver Canucks. Shane Hnidy, Jordan Caron, and Steve Kampfer are warming up on the ice along with the regulars, but there are no changes in the Bruins lineup tonight. Rookie Chris Tanev is in for Keith Ballard on the Canucks' blue line.
You don't have to search too far to find a prevailing trend in this riveting series. The home team has won all four games thus far, with the Canucks taking Games 1 and 2 here, the first on a goal with 18.5 seconds left, the second with a winner just 11 seconds into overtime.
The tough losses could have been hard for the Bruins to swallow, but if there's anything Boston fans are certain about regarding this team right now, it's that it is resilient. Lo and behold, the tide shifted when the series headed to Boston, the Bruins routing the Canucks, 8-1, in Game 3, then taking Game 4, 4-0, in a matchup that was not as close as the score indicated.
The common theme and conventional wisdom entering tonight's Game 5 is that it's absolutely imperative to get the first goal. Should Boston score first, it will quiet the Rogers Arena crowd while also leading to further questions about Canucks netminder Roberto Luongo, who looked frazzled in Boston, allowed 12 goals in two games and being pulled from Game 4. But if the Canucks score first, the confidence they seemed to lose in Boston when confronted by the Bruins' physical play could return and carry them through.
Also, if warm sentiments and thoughtful gestures are your thing, you'll like this: The Bruins have brought Nathan Horton's jersey with them, and it hangs in a stall adorned with his No. 18 in the locker room.