Cup finalists made key deadline additions

Bruins defenceman Tomas Kaberle during a break in the action against the Canadiens at the BelL...

Bruins defenceman Tomas Kaberle during a break in the action against the Canadiens at the BelL Centre in Montreal, Que., April 18, 2011. (MARTIN CHEVALIER/QMI Agency)

HOSEA CHEUNG, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:15 PM ET

VANCOUVER - Many Stanley Cup contenders are built prior to the season.

But every successful team finds a way to improve its lineup during the regular season, especially close to the trade deadline.

Both the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins made key deals back in February, acquiring players who have made an impact during these playoffs:

For the Canucks

Maxim Lapierre

Two weeks after Lapierre was dealt to Vancouver from Anaheim, the Canucks lost Manny Malhotra to a potential season-ending eye injury. The centre then moved up to the third line and has since formed a productive trio with Jannik Hansen and Raffi Torres. Along with being a key penalty killer, the Montreal native has also brought a physical presence with 63 hits, good for second best in the league during the playoffs.

Chris Higgins

The winger was brought in to put depth pressure on the other Canucks forwards and he has done just that, so much so he now finds himself on the second line alongside Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond. With Mikael Samuelsson out for the season, Higgins stepped up as another offensive option for Vancouver, tallying four goals and three assists in these playoffs.

"It was a little more depth up front that we added," Higgins said of himself and Lapierre. "We're two guys that like to play a more up-tempo style."

For the Bruins

Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly

Peverley, a former Atlanta Thrasher, and Kelly, a former Ottawa Senator, have formed Boston's top penalty-killing duo. While they play on separate lines at even strength, they have both provided some offence as well during this run. Kelly has four goals and seven assists to go with his 17 blocked shots, best among Boston forwards, while Peverley has eight points, including a game-winner in Round 1 against Montreal.

"Putting the two new guys together made things easier for the other (penalty killers)," said Kelly. "Just not changing some of those chemistry that they built all year."

Tomas Kaberle

The most disappointing player of the bunch is the former Toronto Maple Leafs blueliner. More was expected of the pending UFA, especially after the Bruins gave up prospect Joe Colborne plus first- and second-round draft picks. He's now on the third defensive pairing, with no goals and eight assists in the playoffs. His three hits rank him 290th among all players who have at least one game under their belt.


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