Halfway to Stanley's Place

(Week in Review - June 2, 2011  -  June 9, 2011)

Team of the Week

The home team (4-0 record during Stanley Cup Finals)

As often is the case in the playoffs, the home team usually enjoys the advantage of playing in their own rink. This year's Stanley Cup Final is definitely following that theory so far. Vancouver won home-ice throughout the post-season after finishing the regular-season as the NHL's best team, their 54-19-9 record capturing the President's Trophy. During the first two games of this series, the Canucks certainly played like they were the NHL's best team, and won Games 1 and 2 in front of their home fans. However, travelling to Boston turned the Canucks into a facsimile of the team that ran through the regular-season and beat the Blackhawks, Predators and Sharks in the playoffs. With Boston at home, the Bruins were able to draw off of the energy of their fans and the TD Banknorth Garden, winning Games 3 and 4 in dominating fashion. With the series now a best-of-three, the Stanley Cup seems like it will come down to which team will be able to win a game in enemy territory.

Play of the Week:

Brad Marchand (C – Boston Bruins)  

Brad Marchand will be hard-pressed to gain a mention in the Calder Trophy race as the NHL's top rookie, but in one goal this past week, the first-year player made several NHL Awards-bound players look like rookies themselves. While killing a penalty in the second period of Game Three, Marchand back-checked hard on Daniel Sedin lifting his stick for a turnover at centre ice. Chipping the puck by Daniel's brother Henrik, Marchand was off to the races. With a self-pass of the boards, Marchand got past Vancouver defenceman Alex Edler and was then pursued by Selke Trophy nominee Ryan Kesler from behind. Marchand held off Kesler, cut across the crease of Vezina Trophy nominee Roberto Luongo and waited for him to drop down low and open up the top part of the net. Marchand buried the puck, roofing one by Luongo and the Canucks for a goal that put the Bruins up 3-0 in a game they would ultimately win 8-1.

Line of the Week:

Alex Burrows (LW, Vancouver Canucks)

Drawing plenty of interest in the series, Vancouver's Alex Burrows sparked the initial bad-blood in the series during a Game 1 scrum with Boston's Patrice Bergeron. The next game, however, was where Burrows showcased the best part of his game and got notice for doing what he does best. In a 3-2 Canucks victory, Burrows was in on each of Vancouver's goals, scoring a pair and collecting an assist for good measure. Like he's done frequently over the past few seasons, Burrows opened the scoring of the game with a power-play goal and then set-up Daniel Sedin for the game-tying goal with just under ten minutes to play in the third-period. With the game only seconds into overtime, Burrows sealed the victory for his team on a gorgeous individual effort against Zdeno Chara and Tim Thomas.

Milestone of the Week:

Mark Recchi (RW – Boston Bruins)

Continuing to play well at an age where most NHL players are enjoying retirement, Mark Recchi is chasing one more Stanley Cup like a player half his age. That said, at age 43, Mark is the senior player on either roster in the Finals, and with a recent goal, his age helped him earn a new record. Upon scoring Boston's second goal in Game 2, Recchi passed Igor Larionov as the oldest player to ever score a goal in the Stanley Cup Finals. Recchi's pair of goals in Game Three would also bump his career playoff total to 61, which is the highest mark amongst active NHL players. Congratulations Mark, from NHLPA.com, on this fantastic accomplishment!

Quote of the Week:

“My little boy is trying to get me to play hockey. I'm like, I'm a little bit too tired, wait till this summer.”

- Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas, describing his after-game activities and having to curb his son's enthusiasm for even more June hockey.

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