VANCOUVER — The Canucks won Wednesday’s Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final with a goal on a play started by second-line center Ryan Kesler but finished by third-line forward Jannik Hansen setting up linemate Raffi Torres.
That goal capped a sensational night by the Canucks’ third line centered by Maxim Lapierre, who managed to fire six shots on goal. Meanwhile, the Bruins’ third line of Michael Ryder, Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin combined for just three shots on net.
In tonight’s Game 2, Kelly’s line has to be better.
“Obviously their third line was the difference,” said Kelly today during morning media availability. “They had the game-winning goal. So I think we can play better as a line and obviously we want to go out there and do that.”
In addition to combining for two points and 10 shots on goal, the Canucks’ third line was a physical presence. Ryder is familiar with a couple of those players from years past and he knows what he and his mates have to do to turn that matchup in Boston’s favor.
“That line, they play hard, they get in your face and they play physical,” said Ryder. “I played with [Lapierre] in Montreal and with Raffi in Hamilton in the minors. So I know what kind of players they are and what they bring to the team. I think as a line, we know what to expect from them. They come out to bang hard, they skate and they try and do that and we’ve just got to try to make sure we match them and try to be better.”
Whether Seguin stays on that line and plays more than the six minutes and change he did in Game 1, or Rich Peverley picks up some shifts on that right wing, Boston has to get some production — actual points or just momentum-building pressure — from the Kelly Line in order to soften up the Canucks for the top guns to come through in Game 2.