NHL Power Rankings: "Lucky" 7 Arenas with Messed Up Boards

Matthew FairburnCorrespondent IMay 26, 2011

NHL Power Rankings: "Lucky" 7 Arenas with Messed Up Boards

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    VANCOUVER, CANADA - MAY 24:  Goaltender Antti Niemi #31 of the San Jose Sharks looks on as Daniel Sedin #22 of the Vancouver Canucks celebrates after a deflection for a goal by Ryan Kesler #17 of the Vancouver Canucks (not in photo) sent the game into ove
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Sometimes all it takes is one bounce of the puck to sway a series.

    That was the case for the Vancouver Canucks in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals, as Kevien Bieksa collected a puck that took a strange bounce off of the boards and fired it by an unsuspecting Antti Niemi for the game-winning goal.

    It's a goaltender's worst nightmare. The puck is hard enough to follow without it taking caroms off of the boards.

    Here are the lucky No. 7 places teams are most likely to get a lucky (or unlucky) bounce off of the boards. 

7. Prudential Center, New Jersey

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    Johan Hedberg is a lightning rod for bad bounces.

    Earlier in the season, Scott Hartnell got a gift goal down in Jersey after Hedberg came out of the net to play the puck, and the puck squirted back out front off of the boards.

    It didn't hit a funny part of the boards or anything, either—just a pure bad bounce. 

6. Scottrade Center, St. Louis

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    The Vancouver Canucks have always had a horseshoe on the bench apparently.

    The Nucks not only had the advantage in all areas of the hockey game against the St. Louis Blues, but they also had the hockey gods on their side.

    Check out the video, where the boards act as a sixth Canuck on the ice, passing the puck right to Sedin's tape. 

    As if Vancouver wasn't dangerous enough 5-on-4.

5. Air Canada Cenre, Toronto

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    Everything was going just fine for the Maple Leafs in this game until their own rink started working against them.

    Some may consider it a horrible giveaway by Beauchemin. However, the boards didn't do Toronto's defender any favors on this one.

    The combination of the energetic arena and funky boards makes Toronto a difficult place to play.

4. St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa Bay

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    Located in sunny central Florida, it should come as no surprise to anyone that there are a few kinks in the Tampa Bay Lightning's home arena.

    Just ask Cal Clutterbuck, who was able to smack the puck off the back board, off the goalie and in. 

    This was either dumb luck, or messed up boards.

3. Phillips Arena, Atlanta

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    Another southern arena makes the list, as Atlanta's boards have not been kind to them since hockey returned to the Peach State in 1999.

    Here, Johan Hedberg is the butt of another horrible bounce. This time, the bounce was so bad that the puck actually deflects in off of Hedberg.

    Poor guy.

2. T.D. Banknorth Garden, Boston

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    Once you get to be Mark Recchi's age, you have to start getting some lucky breaks to stay productive in the NHL.

    Recchi got just that, as he was able to collect a crazy bounce off of the boards and slide the puck into an empty net.

    The Garden is no stranger to funny bounces. Pucks always seem to be squirting off of the back boards in unpredictable ways.

    Zdeno Chara has even started using it to his advantage, purposely firing the biscuit wide.

    Also, recall Tim Thomas's amazing save on Steve Downie. The only reason Downie had a shot at that puck was because of the bunny hop the puck took of the boards.

1. General Motors Place, Vancouver

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    Maybe it's fate, or perhaps it's poorly put together boards, but the Vancouver Canucks seem to be getting some great bounces this postseason.

    Vancouver's tremendous level of skill, to go along with the hockey gods smiling down on them, is a deadly combination.

    The Canucks appear on this list with both of their potential opponents in the Stanley Cup, the Boston Bruins and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    It appears likely that the Stanley Cup champion could be decided by the bounce of a rubber biscuit. That's playoff hockey for you.