Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Burrows, Canucks bite Bruins in Opener

When Raffi Torres scored with 19 seconds left in regulation breaking a scoreless tie, Rogers Arena lit up with excitement.  The Canucks wrapped up the victory to stake themselves to a 1-0 series lead over the Boston Bruins.  The goal was the result of a terrific second effort by Ryan Kesler, who fed the puck to Jannik Hansen, who found Raffi Torres driving to the net for a tap in.

While the goal will be etched in Vancouver fans' memories, the incident that occurred between Alex Burrows and Patrice Bergeron at the end of the first period will dominate most storylines for the next day or two.  At a scrum at the Boston net, Burrows allegedly bit Patrice Bergeron's gloved hand.

Then-Ottawa Senators' forward Jarkko Ruutu received a two-game suspension for biting Andrew Peters of the Buffalo Sabres (both former Canucks ironically).  Given that suspensions are usually cut in half for playoff games, Burrows may receive a one game suspension, or perhaps just a fine - who knows.  Then again, with the way the NHL's dartboard of justice reigns, all bets are off.

The Bruins will probably make a big deal of this after a loss, and perhaps they should.  Burrows should know better. This incident will overshadow two tremendous performances by Tim Thomas and Roberto Luongo.  Thomas looked every part a Vezina Trophy front-runner, and Roberto Luongo continues to challenge his critics with his league leading third shutout of the playoffs, ironically all in series openers.

The Bruins played well and showed that the Canucks are not going to run away with the cup (despite what some fans are thinking).  Boston managed to draw even on special teams with the Canucks, killing off six successful penalties, but they failed to convert on a four-minute powerplay early in the game, and a lengthy 5-on-3 later on.

For Canucks fans, it may be encouraging that Boston played so well, but did little on special teams.  An injury to Dan Hamhuis forced the Canucks to play shorthanded on the back-end for most of the night, and yet the Canucks took over the game in the third period.

For being touted as the best 5-on-5 team in the league, that was where the Canucks took over the game.  Boston should be encouraged by such a close loss, but Vancouver could take extra pride from this win based on playing shorthanded, not executing, and shaking off the rust.

Until Game two Saturday night, the Canucks can rest Dan Hamhuis, and enjoy watching this replay:

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