Long-time Bruins villain is Game 5 hero

The Bruins’ three Stanley Cup losses have been compounded by one villainous theme, and longtime B’s agitator Maxim Lapierre was the Vancouver hero Friday during Game 5.

Lapierre ricocheted a puck off Tim Thomas’ chest, and his odd-angle goal propelled the Canucks to a 1-0 victory and a 3-2 series lead. Obviously, the deficit was enough to ruin the Bruins’ night, but it must have been a little more gut-wrenching for them to watch Lapierre dance under the spotlight after notching Vancouver’s lone strike.

"We got lucky. It was a good bounce for us right there," Lapierre told reporters after the game. "It was the right spot at the right time."

Lapierre played parts of six seasons with the Canadiens, and he was one of the Habs’ great agitators during their many great battles with Boston.

Lapierre has gotten under the Bruins’ skin during his career, and his dogged actions have reappeared during the Stanley Cup Finals, most notably when he mocked Patrice Bergeron in Game 2 by sticking his fingers near Bergeron’s mouth. Seldom one to fight his own fight, Lapierre won’t ever win a popularity contest among his NHL peers, particularly if the judges were stationed in Boston.

But the fact of the matter is Lapierre was the best forward on the ice during the third period, and he might have had the best three-shift stretch of his entire career early in the period. Lapierre, who had four hits and three shots during the game, was aggressive in all three zones, and he was an offensive wizard with the puck through the early portion of the period.

Lapierre, who was traded twice this season, has become the second Boston villain to double as a Vancouver hero in the series. Alex Burrows sunk his teeth into that role in Game 2, but Lapierre delivered a more critical blow Friday when he pushed the Bruins to the brink of elimination.

And of course, Lapierre did it in his own unique way, one that has drawn a venomous reaction from the Bruins for the better part of a decade.

"The main thing is to have fun," Lapierre said. "When you come out and have fun and you’re focused on your game plan, it makes things more easier."