Hockey Night In Canada Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011

Matchup advantage swings to Boston

Categories: Boston Bruins, Stanley Cup Final, VAN vs. BOS, Vancouver Canucks

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Claude Julien has done a lot of juggling with his first line after Nathan Horton's injury. (Canadian Press) Claude Julien has done a lot of juggling with his first line after Nathan Horton's injury. (Canadian Press)

The home team has won every game of the Stanley Cup Final so far, a trend the Bruins hope will continue on Monday at TD Garden.

In Game 5, Claude Julien had to change on the fly throughout the game to get the matchups he wanted.

Rich Peverley, Michael Ryder, and Tyler Seguin took shifts on the first line with Milan Lucic and David Krejci. The revolving door at right wing, Nathan Horton's usual position, might have contributed to the absence of chemistry the No. 1 line exhibited throughout the game. Lucic had zero shots. Krejci recorded just one.

In Game 4 at the Garden, only Ryder and Peverley played in Horton's spot. By having the last change, Julien could dictate the identity he wanted for the first line, whether a speedier unit with Peverley, or a heavier threesome with Ryder.

"It is what it is," said Julien of home-ice advantage so far. "The two teams that are here are good teams and they don't give home-ice advantage away that easily. They've been good in their own buildings. I think we've been a decent road team for most of the season. Right now, what we have to do is go back home and create a Game 7 so we get another shot at them here."

Contrasting stopping styles

Tim Thomas became a Vezina Trophy finalist by playing an aggressive, out-of-the-paint style. To compensate for his size, Thomas must cut down angles and challenge shooters. If Thomas stays back in his crease like Roberto Luongo, he wouldn't have had the success he's had throughout his career.

In Game 5, Maxim Lapierre's goal highlighted the difference in the goalies' approaches. Especially this year, after a tweaking by goaltending coach Roland Melanson, Luongo has been instructed to stay deep in his crease. Had Lapierre put that shot on him, Luongo figured he would have turned it aside because he doesn't attack shooters like Thomas.

"It's not hard if you're playing in the paint," Luongo said. "It's an easy save for me, but if you're wandering out and aggressive like he is, that's going to happen. He might make some saves that I won't. But in a case like that, we want to take advantage of a bounce like that and make sure we're in a good position to bury those."

Canucks score physical edge

The Canucks outhit the Bruins in Game 5, 47-27. Alex Edler, usually a puck-moving, offensive-minded defenceman, led the hit parade with 10 thumps.

Vancouver's game plan was to set the physical tone early. The Canucks were a bit too aggressive early, when they were whistled for three straight first-period infractions. But the Bruins couldn't take advantage of Vancouver's lack of discipline. The Bruins were 0 for 3 on the power play in the first and 0 for 4 total.

"With the power plays we had and the way we started off the game, the team that's chasing the team that has the puck most is going to end up with the most body checks. You've got to be careful how you look at those things," Julien said. "They had an edge tonight. They were in front of their home fans and they seemed to thrive on that. They came out hard and were a committed group."

Travel day for Bruins

The Bruins didn't practice today. They departed Vancouver this morning and were scheduled to conduct their media obligations this afternoon at the Garden. They will practice tomorrow at 11 a.m. They are not expected to make any lineup changes for Game 6.