48 hours ago, the order of the day among Bruins fans was gloom n' doom. Suddenly, after an 8-1 romp over Vancouver, attitudes seem to have brightened a bit.
One play early in the first period set the tone for the game, as Aaron Rome tagged Nathan Horton with a late, blindside hit that left Horton motionless on the ice for some time, before being taken off on a stretcher. Horton was later able to move his arms and legs, but there's no further word on his condition as yet. Rome was given a five minute major and a game misconduct.
The ensuing power play moved the puck well and put shots on Roberto Luongo, but (stop me if you've heard this one), did not score. However, the Bruins took motivation from their fallen teammate, and the first period was an extremely hard hitting affair that ended 0-0.
The second period began 0-0 but didn't stay that way for long. A neutral zone giveaway by the Canucks and a broken stick by Alex
Burrows (hey, karma, thanks for dropping by) Edler led to the game's initial goal, as Andrew Ference wristed it at the net and in. It appeared to go off David Krejci initially, but the goal was credited to Ference. Soon after, Shawn Thornton drove the net and drew a penalty, and the Bruins capitalized on the power play, as Mark Recchi scored his 4th of the playoffs.
The Bruins were far from done, as with Milan Lucic in the box, Brad Marchand scooped up the puck, beating both Alexander Edler and Ryan Kesler and roofing one over Luongo for a 3-0 margin. The Bruin penalty kill was extremely aggressive throughout the game, creating several scoring chances and harassing the Canucks in all three zones. Krejci made it 4-0 after a Michael Ryder shot led to a juicy rebound that Krejci put home.
The second period was all Boston, and the third was little different. The physical tone of the game turned to truculence (thanks, Burkey), and then outright belligerence. Michael Ryder, of all people, got a roughing call for a hit in the defensive zone, Tim Thomas leveled Henrik Sedin as Sedin picked up a loose puck deep in Boston's end of the ice and moments later, Daniel Sedin and Andrew Ference got into a shoving match that led to a pair of 10 minute misconducts. A minute after that, during a scrum at the net, Kesler was shoving Adam McQuaid, and Thornton confronted Kesler. It was nothing serious, but the referees clearly thought they were losing control of the game, and Thornton received what could only be described as a preemptive 10 minute misconduct, as an attempt to restore order.
It didn't work.
Kesler went to the box for a boarding penalty on Daniel Paille, and then, as soon as he came out of the box, "fought" Dennis Seidenberg, sending both guys off. During that same scrum, Milan Lucic got into it with Burrows, with some shoving and unkind words, leading to Lucic offering Burrows a couple of digits to gnaw on. Vancouver ended up with a power play from the whole mess, but it was Boston that scored, as more aggressive checking led to another Vancouver turnover and a shorthanded goal by Paille.
Jannik Hansen gave the Canucks a glimmer of hope 2 minutes later, when he made it 5-1 after getting away with a slash on Krejci. Krejci was so incensed by the slash that he offered to fight Hansen, an offer that was (thankfully) declined.
The Canucks were not able to capitalize on that modest surge, however, and 4 minutes later, Recchi broke his recently-set record for oldest goal-scorer in Stanley Cup Final history, with his 2nd of the game.
Seconds after emerging from the dressing room for serving his misconduct, Ference returned to the ice and promptly got into it with Kevin Bieksa, leading to still more 10 minute misconducts all around. All in all, 118 minutes in penalties were assessed in the third.
If he hadn't already, Luongo waved the white flag, letting in a pair of mediocre goals by Chris Kelly and Michael Ryder. Ryder's goal was Boston's second power play goal of the game, after Raffi Torres was in the box for charging. Luongo gave up goals on the game's last 3 shots.
The final was 8-1, and the series stands at 2-1 Vancouver, with game 4 Wednesday night at TD Garden. Game notes and thoughts below the fold...
- We'll have more about Horton's condition as soon as it's known. There should be more today.
- Rome has a disciplinary hearing at 11 am today. Bob McKenzie believes a suspension is certain. Whether it's a rule 48 hit seems to be a matter of debate. It looked like one to me, but McKenzie disagrees, and he's forgotten more about hockey than I'll ever know.
- The Bruins played with a visible chip on their shoulder tonight, clearly angry about the Horton hit. They'll need that emotion to carry over to game 4 and continue playing with that edge. But right now, this series is a streetfight, and if it stays that way, advantage Boston.
- The Horton injury is the high-profile one, of course, but Vancouver has had some good players banged up in this series. Dan Hamhuis was out once again with a "lower body" injury, and Ryan Kesler certainly doesn't look to be 100%, and hasn't since that hit by Johnny Boychuk.
- I am mystified why Alain Vigneault didn't pull Luongo after the second period, and certainly after the Charmin-soft Paille goal. Luongo obviously didn't have his A game, and the Canucks needed a wake-up call. Giving up eight goals, and three late ones, may trigger another crisis of confidence like he had in the opening round.
- Claude Julien was less than thrilled with Lucic and Recchi taunting the Canucks with finger-related gestures.
- Wonder if the NHL will decide to award the Stanley Cup based on a UEFA-style aggregate goal total. Hey, they've apparently legalized biting, so who knows?
- There were 71 hits in the game (40-31 Boston) and 145 penalty minutes. Vancouver outshot Boston 41-38.
- Three games into the series, and Henrik Sedin has yet to register a shot on net. In a related note, Zdeno Chara had by far his best game of the series, after somewhat uneven play in games 1 and 2.
- Game 4 is Wednesday night at 8 pm, with the telecast on Versus.