Torres goes from unwanted to Game 1 hero

Canucks forward Raffi Torres is congratulated by teammates after scoring against the Bruins during...

Canucks forward Raffi Torres is congratulated by teammates after scoring against the Bruins during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final in Vancouver, B.C., June 1, 2011. (ERIC BOLTE/QMI Agency)

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:25 AM ET

VANCOUVER - As training camps for this season approached, Raffi Torres was looking for a job.

It wasn’t going well.

Nine months later, the Vancouver Canucks winger has got the winning goal in the first game of the Stanley Cup final.

“Thanks for the reminder,” he joked after it was pointed out he was still a free agent on Aug. 24 of last year and not a man in demand. “It was a long summer. The phone was not exactly ringing off the hook. Everything happens for a reason. I’ve tried everything in my power to put it behind me. I’m just in a very fortunate situation right now. For a chance to reach our ultimate goal, which is winning the Stanley Cup, it’s been quite a ride.”

Torres scored the winner with 18.5 seconds left in the third period to give the Canucks a 1-0 win over the Boston Bruins in Game 1, taking a pass from Jannik Hansen as they broke in on a 2-on-1.

The Canucks, looking to upgrade their third line after another early playoff exit last spring, signed the grinding Torres to a one-year, $1 million deal Aug. 25.

Torres scored his third of the playoffs as Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler made a nice play at the blue line to stay onside and then held the puck for Hansen to get open. Hansen drew Boston goaltender Tim Thomas toward him and slipped the puck to Torres.

“I heard Raffi yelling,” said Hansen. “He’s pretty easy to hear out there. (Thomas) seems to challenge the shooter and let the defenceman take away the pass. I knew if I got the pass over to Raffi, he’d have a good opportunity.”

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/CJ_Stevenson


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