Mission accomplished for the Canucks, as they were able to win both games at home and take a 2-0 series lead out to Boston for Monday night, thanks to a 3-2 overtime win on Saturday night.
The game certainly had a very good flow to it, the pace was quick, lots of skating back and forth and plenty of chances at either end of the ice.
The 1st period saw a lot of pressure from the Canucks, taking control of the puck for a good portion of the period, keeping the forecheck up and making the Bruins turn the puck over in the neutral zone on a regular basis. The cherry on top was the soft goal from Alex Burrows to open the scoring and take the Canucks into the intermission with a 1-0 lead.
The 2nd period showed plenty of resolve and fight from the Bruins, as they had to know that being down 1-0 in the game and already down 1-0 in the series was not going to work for them, so they put together a gritty effort in the middle frame. Milan Lucic broke the shutout streak in the series at just over four periods to tie the game on a great second effort, shovelling a rebound underneath the outstretched pads of Roberto Luongo. Minutes later, it was Mark Recchi making a great deflection on a Zdeno Chara point shot that went high on Luongo, giving the Bruins a 2-1 lead into the 2nd intermission.
Not to be outdone, the Canucks stuck to their game and continued to press the forecheck and neutral zone pressure in the 3rd period, causing all kinds of problems for the Bruins. That forecheck and offensive zone cycle was what tied the game up for Vancouver, as Daniel Sedin levelled the game at 2-2.
Three periods was not enough for these two teams to figure out a winner, so 11 seconds of overtime was needed to settle the game. Another neutral zone breakdown by the Bruins sent Burrows back into the offensive zone, with Chara on his back, faked around Tim Thomas and tucked the puck in on the wraparound (see the first picture of the post) and the Canucks are now halfway towards a Cup Finals win in 2011.
Everything was made even better with the return of Manny Malhotra to the line-up. The Canucks third line centre dressed for the first time in these playoffs and made an impact in the faceoff circle. Malhotra won six of seven draws that he had taken and likely provided an emotional boost to the players on the ice. Pool-wise, his eye injury was thought to be serious enough that he wouldn't play in these playoffs, so no one had taken him in Box 7.
We have ourselves a lead change in the pool! Tryst'n'Grant managed to get his wish and an extra point on the Bruins goal brought his point total back up to even with the Langdon River Dogs, but Tryst'n'Grant has the first tie-breaker, goals for, leading 88-81. The lead change did seem somewhat improbable going into this series, taking into account that the players either team has on Boston are offensively-tilted towards the River Dogs.
A small change in the money positions as well, as Granny Smith moved into 5th place, thanks to Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci points on Saturday night. Currently, there is a 3-way tie for 4th place in points, Superstar and Kalenab also have 262 points, but the tie breaks are very key at the moment.
In the top 10, Jack_Bit_Gary moved into 10th place, while Pucking Luck dropped from 9th to 11th, thanks to not having Luongo on their team.
Thanks to Alex Burrows' second overtime winner of these playoffs, The Kings Don't Pay Their Bills moved back into the outright lead in the bonus points department, sitting with 18 GWGs and a maximum of five games remaining. Burrows was only taken 9 times in the pool this year, making his bonus points that much more special when he gets them.
There will be a much quicker turnaround for this series, as they will go in Boston on Monday night, stay tuned for the Game Three preview, which should be coming your way on Monday morning. It will be very interesting to see if Tryst'n'Grant will be able to hold onto their tie-breaking lead through another game.