Bruins, Canucks Set Physical Tone Early in Stanley Cup Final With Chippy Game 1


Jun 2, 2011

Bruins, Canucks Set Physical Tone Early in Stanley Cup Final With Chippy Game 1 VANCOUVER — In the Bruins' last game, they made history with a penalty-free Game 7 in a 1-0 win against Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference Final.

On Wednesday, the Bruins were in another 1-0 defensive struggle, but the similarities ended there. Not only was Boston on the wrong end of that score this time in the opening game of the Stanley Cup Final against the Canucks, but there was no shortage of visits to the Rogers Arena penalty boxes.

After going 60 full minutes without a penalty in that game against the Lightning, the Bruins found themselves on a four-minute power play just 4:03 into the first period when Vancouver's Daniel Sedin was called for a high-sticking double minor on Zdeno Chara.

That was just the beginning, as the clubs combined for 14 minor penalties and 12 power plays. The sudden rise in penalties and chippy play surprised even the participants.

"I was," Bruins center David Krejci said when asked if he was surprised by so many penalties being called. "At a point you're getting really frustrated and you're getting really pissed off, but you can't do anything about it. The ref can't bring the call back. You just have to battle through it. I think our [penalty] killers did a good job. They killed them pretty good and gave us momentum."

The Bruins did kill off all six chances the potent Vancouver power play had, though they also went 0-for-6 with the man advantage themselves, including a 5-on-3 opportunity early in the second period.

"We needed our penalty kill to come up huge and it did," Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk said. "It gave us a chance to win."

Boychuk admitted he was surprised as well by the number of penalties and overall nastiness of the game.
"It seemed like it was more chippy than usual," Boychuk said. "We just need to stay out of that stuff. We don't want to be playing on the penalty kill the whole time. But the refs called it the way they should have.

"It was more physical than we expected," added Boychuk, who led all players with eight hits as the Bruins finished with a slight 31-30 edge in that category. "But we like that style of hockey so it's fine with us."

The Bruins weren't fine with everything that went on. Patrice Bergeron was upset about an altercation with Alexandre Burrows at the end of the first period, accusing the Canucks agitator of biting him in the scrum.

Milan Lucic was also upended by a Dan Hamhuis hip check in the second period, leading to another scrum that put Krejci in the box for two minutes for cross-checking and Hamhuis out for the remainder of the night with an undisclosed injury.

"We talked about it," Lucic said. "We know what they like to do, but like we have all season, we're going to stand strong and play the way that we're going to play."

There isn't much history between the Bruins and Canucks, who play each other rarely with the league's unbalanced schedule. But Bruins coach Claude Julien thought that might have contributed to the chippy play, as both sides tried to set a tone and establish an edge over an unfamiliar foe.

"I think both teams since they don't see each other that often were trying to make a statement, I would imagine," Julien said. "Although we talked about discipline, we were obviously going to stand up for each other. This was the type of game that was played. I think when two teams don't know each other that well, they're facing each other, obviously the buildup to this Final, there's going to be some strong emotions out there and both teams obviously reacted to that."

Both sides also felt the physical tone was a reflection of the importance of the game with claiming the Cup in sight.

"We're battling for that trophy that we both want, so obviously I was expecting that," Bergeron said.

Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault agreed. "Well, with what's at stake, I expect both teams to want it real bad," Vigneault said. "That's what we saw tonight."

And what we might continue to see throughout a series that got off to an exciting and physical start.

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