The Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins met in a pivotal Game 5 in Vancouver on Friday night. The Canucks opened up a 2-0 series lead, only to see the Bruins respond with wins in Games 3 and 4 by a total score of 12-1.
The goaltending has been crucial in the series, with whoever is playing at home being the hero. With the series in Vancouver for Game 5, the Canucks put a stop to Boston’s momentum by maintaining a strong defense from the very start of the game. Vancouver withstood early pressure, but Luongo, who had been criticized for his sloppy performance in Boston, rose to the occasion.
Despite Boston receiving three power plays in the first period, Vancouver responded with strong defense, good goaltending and aggressive plays. Heavy hits and a new momentum created by the home ice helped Vancouver’s energy.
Boston had five shots over the three power plays, but failed to beat Luongo. As the first period came to an end, the two teams found themselves in a 4-on-4 situation, which carried over into the second period.
The game remained scoreless, however, during the entire secnd period as well. Goalies Thomas for Boston and Luongo for Vancouver continued to play strong against the aggression from both sides. Boston received another power play in the beginning of the period, only to be killed for a fourth time by Vancouver. Finally, it was Vancouver’s turn for a power play as a result of McQuaid’s hold on Higgins, but Boston responded with an equally aggressive defense.
Vancouver led the second period with 33 hits verses 16 for Boston. Despite this, and another power play for the Canucks, they were unable to score as the second period came to a close.
At the top of the third, the atmosphere was tense as Vancouver struggled to score their first goal in nearly two games. Both teams had several opportunities, but it was Martin LaPierre of Vancouver who scored the only goal of the game five minutes into the last period. His second goal of the playoffs, the wild shot was made wide of the net, and set the tone and energy for the rest of the game. Luongo ended the game with 31 saves.
The action continued nonstop all the way until the last second of the game as Boston tried desperately to score and settle the atmosphere, but ended up coming up with nothing, and Vancouver won by a point, bringing them to lead the series 3-2. Canada hasn’t seen a Stanley Cup championship in 18 years, and the exuberance of the fans was subsequently overwhelming for both teams.
Game 6 will be held in Boston on Monday at 8:00 PM.