VANCOUVER - Was this a Stanley Cup final tilt or a highlight video of Vezina Trophy candidates?
In the end, it was both.
If anyone needed to be reminded why the Vancouver Canucks’ Roberto Luongo and Boston Bruins’ Tim Thomas are finalists for the trophy as the NHL’s top goaltender this season, they put on a display for the ages in Game 1 Wednesday night.
Asked when he knew this game would be a goaltending duel, Luongo replied: “Probably at the drop of the puck.”
For the first 59 minutes 41 seconds, Luongo and Thomas combined to make 69 consecutive stops, many of the spectacular variety. Unfortunately for Thomas, the game’s final shot -- No. 70 on the evening -- went into the net courtesy of Raffi Torres with just 19 seconds left in regulation, giving the Canucks a dramatic 1-0 victory.
When it comes to acrobatics and flexibility, no goalie in the game is better than Thomas. He is Gumby in goalie pads.
But even his abilities couldn’t stop the Bruins from dropping Game 1.
“We didn’t come here to say we played a really good game,” Thomas said. “We came here to win. And it didn’t happen.”