Stanley Cup Final- Game 1

Prime Time hockey¬†on NBC made its’ return last night for Game 1 between the Bruins and the Canucks. The game was exciting from the opening puck drop until the final whistle. Both teams brought maximum effort and left everything on the ice. Both teams had several scoring chances and the goalies of both teams made fantastic saves to keep the game scoreless for over 59 minutes. The game ended at 10:57 p.m. EDT, the only people more excited than Canucks fans were television staff at the NBC affiliates across the United States as their late local news is broadcasted at 11:00 p.m.

The game last night was the highest-rated Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final in 12 years. It drew a preliminary overnight rating of 3.2, the highest rating for the opening game of the championship round since 1999 when Buffalo and Dallas drew a 3.7 rating. It was 14 percent higher than last year’s Chicago-Philadelphia matchup and 114 percent higher than the last time a team from Canada played for the Stanley Cup when Anaheim-Ottawa drew an abysmal 1.5 rating. In Boston, Game 1 had a higher rating than last year’s NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers. In Boston, it drew a 25.5 rating compared to the 19.1 rating in basketball a year ago. It was only the sixth time in the expansion era that Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final ended in a shutout. All five previous Game 1 shutout winners went on to win the Stanley Cup (’08 Red Wings, ’03 Devils, ’01 Avalanche, ’84 Oilers and ’83 Islanders).
If Game 1 is any indication of how the rest of the series will go, scoring will be at a premium and the first goal of each game will be important. Roberto Luongo made 36 saves while Tim Thomas stopped 33 pucks for Boston. The 1-0 victory for Vancouver over Boston was a complete 180 from last year’s final between the Flyers and Blackhawks when Chicago won 6-5. Just as much as the fans like to see the exciting goals, fans can appreciate both goalies standing on their heads and matching each other save for save.

The shocking stat of the night was both teams going 0-5 on the power play. It’s more shocking for the Vancouver as their power play scoring rate was near 30 percent entering Game 1. Boston couldn’t capitalize on a 5-3 that lasted over 1:30 in the second period. In addition, both teams combined for 13 penalties in the first two periods, but there were zero penalties called in the third. Boston were called for seven infractions while Vancouver took six penalties.

The game was also very physical, both teams used the boards to their advantage to apply bone-shaking hits, hip checks that would leave the recepient flying head over heels, and also a controversial biting incident that left Patrice Bergeron accusing Alex Burrows of biting his finger after a face wash. As of Thursday afternoon, Burrows will not be fined or suspended as the NHL was unable to find inconclusive evidence that Burrows did indeed bite Bergeron. Maybe they don’t have HD television in Toronto in the War Room as we have seen them have opposing viewpoints on gooals scored during the regular season.

The only goal scored occured with 19 seconds left whenn Raffi Torres took a pass from Jannik Hansen to leave Thomas frozen as he used his forehand to guide the puck into the net. The bigger assist goes to Ryan Kesler, who was able to stay on-sides as he knocked the puck to himself and found a wide-open Hansen to set up the only goal of the game.

Game 2 is Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. on NBC.


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