It looked for all the world like the first game of the Stanley Cup Finals was going to overtime last night. After all, neither team had managed a goal over the first 59 and a half minutes — a stretch, we’ll note, that included quite a bit of power-play time — so that the teams might go another 30 seconds of even-strength play without scoring seemed like a reasonable assumption.
But then a pass off the boards from Kevin Bieksa was won by Ryan Kesler near the Boston blue line, and Kesler stayed onside — or did he? — to gain control inside the offensive zone. Then in an instant, two quick passes wiped out an evening of frustration for the NHL’s highest-scoring team: Kesler fired a cross-ice pass to Jannik Hansen, who drew the attention of Zdeno Chara just as Raffi Torres — former Islanders everywhere! — headed for the net. Hansen then found the open Torres, who redirected the puck by Tim Thomas with just 18.5 seconds left. And that was that — the Bruins’ effort spoiled in a matter of a seconds. (This happened at roughly 10:54 on the East Coast, by the way, surely to the delight of NBC affiliate newsrooms throughout the Eastern time zone who’d been planning an 11 p.m. broadcast.)
In any case, here’s the game-winning goal:Raffi Torres Allows the Late Local News to Start on Time