Welcome to Caps 'Round the Clock, a blog covering the Washington Capitals and the NHL. In season, I update the Blog after every practice and on game day with Caps news and information, and then provide a recap and analysis after each contest. I also write a periodical Prospect Watch and weekly feature pieces on the state of the Men in Red and other things Capitals. And of course, I will post videos and tidbits from around the League and offer my two cents as the season wears on. In the offseason, I write a Report Card for each player, and will keep you updated on all the news about the Caps through the summer. I'm glad you're here, and hope you come back!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Rapid Rewind: Pour Another Round

We're going streaking! Everybody! Across the quad!
The Boston Bruins took game six of the Stanley Cup Final tonight, knocking off the Canucks 5-2 and sending the series back to a game seven in Vancouver. Boston scored early and often, setting a Stanley Cup record with 4 goals in 4:14 before the game was ten minutes old, and never looked back.  The Bruins got goals from Michael Ryder, Brad Marchand, Andrew Ference, Milan Lucic, and David Krejci in their win, while Tim Thomas was magnificent again, making 31 saves.  The Canucks got their goals from Henrik Sedin and Maxim Lapierre, his first point in the Final, and Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo, who was pulled 8 minutes and 35 seconds in to the game, combined for 35 saves in the Vancouver net.  With the win, the series is now tied 3-3 and Lord Stanley will come off the shelf Wednesday night.  Oh, the drama.

The game got off to a bad start for the Canucks, as Mason Raymond was driven into the boards by Johnny Boychuk only 20 seconds in, and had to be helped off the ice.  Henrik Sedin then whiffed on a wide open net less than 30 seconds later but he and Zdeno Chara were called for matching minors at 56 seconds to open up some four on four.  Nothing came of both teams being down a man, but then the Bruins broke back and opened the scoring when a defensive breakdown sent Brad Marchand in alone on the wing; he made no mistake and ripped it near side for a 1-0 lead at 5:31.  Just 35 seconds later, Milan Lucic walked in through the Canucks defense and buried one past Luongo five-hole, taking a 2-0 lead and sending the Garden into an uproar.  At 7:55, the Bruins were awarded a power play after an Alex Edler boarding call, and Andrew Ference made no mistake with a blast from the point to take a 3-0 lead and chasing Luongo at 8:35.  But not even two minutes later, Michael Ryder deflected a shot past new goalie Cory Schneider for a 4-0 lead, and then Ryan Kesler was called for holding, giving Boston another power play at 10:31.  Boston was not able to capitalize again, and slowly Vancouver tried to make a push back but Tim Thomas was superb to keep them out.  With 2:51 remaining, Vancouver was called for too many men; this time Boston was not able to convert.  Nevertheless, the period ended with Boston ahead 4-0.
Just 28 seconds in to the second period, the Patrice Bergeron was called for goalie interference to give Vancouver a power play; the Canucks were unable to convert, even though Daniel Sedin rang iron with a wrist shot.  As the period continued Vancouver simply missed several great chances to make it a game, including two 2 on 1s, and the Bruins started to shut the game down in the middle of the second period.  The Canucks' offense flickered feebly a few times, trying desperately to get something going against Thomas, and they got another chance when Bergeron was called for another penalty, this time interference, at 12:15. Again, however, the Vancouver power play sputtered horrifically, sinking them deeper into the doldrums of a 0-20 man advantage slump.  The away side was gifted another power play with 51.5 seconds left after another call on Bergeron, this time for elbowing, but nothing came of it and Boston finished the second period with a 4-0 lead.
On the power play to open the third period, the Canucks got one back just 22 seconds in when Henrik Sedin roofed a backhander past Thomas, giving the away side life.  Vancouver continued to buzz and Jannik Hansen appeared to have brought them back within two at 3:17, but video review showed that the puck had clearly gone square off of Thomas' right post.  But any momentum they had was snuffed out at 5:23 when Raffi Torres was sent off for tripping, followed by another call, this one on Andrew Alberts for high-sticking at 6:11, setting up 1:13 of 5 on 3 power play time for Boston.  The Bruins struck this time, with David Krejci banging one home from the doorstep at 6:59 for another four goal lead. That goal sniffed out any chance Vancouver had at a comeback, and Boston slowly applied the sleeper hold and started to totally shut down their opponent. As the third period wound down, neither team did much of anything as the Canucks began to rest their key players for game seven and the Bruins employed a full trap to keep anything and everything away from Thomas.  Max Lapierre found a hole in the defense with 2:22 left for a goal to make it 5-2, and the Canucks were awarded a 6-on-3 late in the game, but nothing came of it. Bruins win, 5-2. Game seven, herrrrre we come!


What an atrocious opening from the Canucks.  Henrik Sedin missed a wide open, yawning net less than three minutes in with a whiff, and although Luongo was really bad, his defense did him no favors allowing odd-man rushes and open looks at the net from the hashmarks.  They did not play like a team who is one win away from the Stanley Cup early, they played like a beer league team early. They got better as the game went on, but by that point, it was too little far, far too late.

The Vancouver power play is embarrassing.  They haven't scored a meaningful power play goal in 20-plus opportunities, and their best weapon is deserting them on the biggest stage of the year.  Because the Bruins are not afraid of the Vancouver power play, they are able to take liberties that they might not if it was clicking, because they know that they can kill off the penalties.  The physical play is also wearing down the Canucks even more in turn, making it a very bad situation for Alain Vigneault's men.

About those two key injuries that the Canucks suffered - Mason Raymond left the building on a stretcher with a rumored back injury and therefore is unlikely for game seven, while defenseman Alex Edler is believed to have a groin injury. Edler obviously didn't leave the building, but if he is limited, it is going to be very difficult for Vancouver to but a decent corps of defensemen on the ice on Wednesday.

Game seven is Wednesday night in Vancouver.

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