After two very tight games in Vancouver, the 2011 Stanley Cup finals really took a turn toward the ugly during Game 3 in Boston. The penalty box attendants were busier than they have been in decades of finals series while the red light went on over and over again for the Bruins.
NHL.com collected some interesting numbers from Game 3 and the series in general in two different stories.
Perhaps the most interesting fact comes from this article, which points out that last night’s contest featured the most penalty minutes in a Stanley Cup finals game since the last time the Bruins appeared in 1990. It’s unclear how many were taken during that Bruins-Edmonton Oilers series in ’90 (feel free to share that fact in the comments), but last night’s game included 70 minutes for the Vancouver Canucks and 75 for the Bruins, totaling 145 PIM overall.
Going further, John Kreiser compiled a list of other stats and interesting tidbits from the game and the series overall. You can read all of them here, but these are some of the highlights. I’ll add some commentary and our own stats when appropriate.
1 — Combined first-period goals by the Canucks and Bruins in the first three games of the Stanley Cup Final. The teams went scoreless on 19 shots in the first period of Game 3, and goaltenders Roberto Luongo of Vancouver and Tim Thomas of Boston have combined to stop 69 of 70 first-period shots thus far in the series.
Even Game 3 featured a strong start for both goalies. Luongo has been strong in some serious penalty killing predicaments, shutting down a lengthy 5-on-3 power play and double-minor in Game 1 and that five-minute major in Game 3.
5 — Games played by the Bruins this spring that have been decided by three or more goals. Boston has won four — the first three came in Games 1, 3 and 4 during Boston’s four-game sweep of Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Their only three-goal loss was 5-2 to Tampa Bay in the opener of the conference finals.
7 — Goals in the margin of victory, the most in a Stanley Cup Final game in exactly 15 years. Colorado beat Florida 8-1 in Game 2 of the 1996 Final on June 6, 1996.
While it’s a small sample, it seems like the Bruins are more comfortable in wide-open games. Every now and then, Luongo & Co. simply let a game get away from them. That was especially clear in Game 3 and some of the lower moments of the Canucks’ first round series against the Blackhawks.
9 — Games during this year’s playoff in which the Bruins have won after scoring first, as they did it Game 3 They’ve lost only once — in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Tampa Bay.
It’s a bit surprising that the Bruins have been so comfortable in high-scoring games, but their track record of success after taking 1-0 leads was easy to see coming.
10 — Times in which the Bruins have won despite being outshot by their opponents during this year’s playoffs. Boston is now 10-4 when being outshot.
If you want a sign of how resilient this Bruins team has been, that stat might be the best way of showing it. Of course, ultimately, the most important numbers are 2-1, the Canucks’ series lead. We’ll see if Boston can carry the momentum earned from Game 3 or if Vancouver can take a stranglehold on the SCF with a Game 4 win.