Stanley Cup Finals: Canucks Beat Bruins, One Win Away From The Stanley Cup (PHOTOS)
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THE CANADIAN PRESS -- VANCOUVER - Maxim Lapierre scored early in the third period and goaltender Roberto Luongo made 31 saves for the shutout as the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Boston Bruins 1-0 Friday night to move to within one win of claiming the Stanley Cup.
Lapierre, a grinding centre who the Canucks picked up at the trade deadline, broke a 0-0 tie at 4:35 of the third period.
Defenceman Kevin Bieksa shot a puck wide of the net that hit the back boards and bounced onto Lapierre's stick. He banked a shot off Bruins' goaltender Tim Thomas into the net for his second goal of the playoffs.
Pictures from the game:
The crowd of 18,860 went wild while Lapierre danced on his skates.
The Canucks lead the series 3-2 and have a chance to win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history when Game 6 is played Monday in Boston. A Game 7, if needed, will be in Vancouver Wednesday.
It was another goaltender's battle between Luongo and Thomas, both Vezina Trophy finalists.
After a couple of shaky games in Boston, Luongo was back to his old form. In the second period he stopped a Michael Ryder shot, then blocked a Tyler Seguin rebound.
He set the tone during a Boston power play in the first period, tracking down a blast from defenceman Dennis Seidenberg, then sliding into position to stop Milan Lucic's shot off the rebound.
In the third he handled a Rich Peverley deflection and a Johnny Boychuk shot.
It was Luongo's second shutout of the final and fourth of the playoffs.
Luongo got some help from his defence. Plenty of shots were blocked and the Bruins didn't get many second chances.
Thomas played his usual style of challenging shooters, diving at shots, then scrambling back into position. He had to look sharp getting a blocker on a Mason Raymond shot in the second period.
It was a game many considered a must win for Vancouver. The Canucks didn't want to head into Boston battling for their lives.
A sense of excitement mixed with apprehension gripped the city prior to the game. There was the same anticipation as the gold medal match at the 2010 Winter Olympics.
A loud crowd let their emotions loose inside Rogers Arena while thousands watched outdoors on big screens.
One fan in the arena waved a teddy bear with the head ripped off. NBA superstar Steve Nash, who grew up in Victoria, got the crowd on its feet by waving a towel. Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo was in the stands while the Green Men were in their spot beside the Bruins' penalty box.
Vancouver used a pair of one-goal wins to take the first two games of the final at home. The Canucks were then beaten by a combined score of 12-1 in Boston as the Bruins turned the best-of-seven series into a two-out-of-three.
The nasty nature of the series continued. Big Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara speared Lapierre after the whistle. Lapierre skated to the box bent over but there was no call.
Later, Vancouver's Alex Burrows and Lucic began jostling prior to a faceoff. Lucic kicked Burrows skates out from under him but both players were sent to the box. Lucic for tripping, Burrows for embellishing. That brought boos and jeers from the crowd.
More anger was directed at the officials when Burrows was buried by a Seidenberg hit at the side of the net after the whistle. Again, there was no call.
Vancouver's Tanner Glass had one of the best scoring chances in the second period. With Thomas out of position he had a wide-open net, but fanned on his shot. Glass could only shake his head as he skated back to the bench.
The Bruins ineffective power play haunted them in the first period. Boston had three man-advantages but couldn't score. The Bruins had trouble setting up and the Canuck penalty killers kept blocking shots and sending pucks down the ice.