The Boston Bruins are Stanley Cup Final Champions!! After 39 years of this ling journey, and tons of heartbreak, Tim Thomas and the Boston Bruins can say that they are Stanley Cup Champions. The game was a perfect script for the Bruins, and the only thing that could have made it better is if they won it at home. The Bruins won it with hard work, determination, and big hearts. As opposed to the Canucks, who had a far more talented team, but lacked the attitude and determination to win. The Bruins played a great game all around. They had great offense, scoring 3 goals on Roberto Luongo. For once they were able to capitalize on their scoring chances in Vancouver. The defense was great, making very few mistakes. I can think of 2 turnovers in their own zone that lead to good scoring chances, and that shows how careful they were with the puck in their own zone. Tim Thomas was everything that you can imagine. This entire series can be summed up by the way that he played. And in game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the biggest stage there is in North American hockey, Tim Thomas was perfect. Thomas became just the 4th goaltender in NHL history to have a shutout in game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, and the 1st to do it on the road. The Canucks didn’t play a bad game, and Roberto Luongo wasn’t that bad. Thomas was just better, and the Bruins showed that they had a more determined team. When push came to shove, the Bruins wanted it more, and all the talent in the world wasn’t going to help the Canucks. The thing I’m most happy about is that guy in the picture below. I personally feel very happy for Tim Thomas. Thomas has gone through a lot of adversity in his life just to get to this point, and if the Bruins had lost this series it wasn’t going to be his fault. And that would have hurt very bad to me, and I know everyone in Boston would have had that same bad feeling in their gut. To top things off, Thomas won the Conn Smythe Trophy, for the MVP of the postseason. It’s a great feeling Boston, enjoy it!
The game is on, and the Canucks have great pressure. Vancouver is controlling the puck, and plugging up the neutral zone. The Bruins came back with a great set up by Marchand. Marchand skated into the far circle, and passed to Peverley at the post. Luongo challenged him, and Peverley centered a pass for Kreci in the crease. But great stick play by the Malhotra denied him a tip in. Kreci got a seconds chances shot off, but Luongo made a diving glove save. A big chance for Boston early, and one wonders if that might come back to haunt them. The Bruins had some sustained pressure, but Vancouver took control right back. The Canucks were outskating the Bruins, and had a very fast tempo in this game. Higgins had a great chance skating into the slot. He just split the Boston defense, and was all alone on Thomas near post. But Thomas stayed strong, and made a butterfly save. The only line doing getting pressure for Boston was the 4th line. Thornton was throwing his weight around, and Paille was outskating the Canucks defense. Boston forced a face-off in the attacking zone. It was actually won back by Henrik Sedin, but Brad Marchand picked the puck off. Marchand just skated circles around the Vancouver defense in the near circle. He passed towards Reechi and Bergeron in the slot, hoping for something, and he got it. The puck went through Recchi and a Canucks skates, and Bergeron ripped a one-timer off into the back of the net. Luongo lost the puck in-between all the skates, and never even saw the shot. Boston had a very important 1-0 lead 14:37 into the game. Vancouver came right back with a 2-on-2 chance, but Thomas again made the save. The Canucks decided to resort to more dirty tactics coming up ice. As they were entering the Boston zone, Siedenberg and Chara were back skating into the zone. Both defenders were looking at the puck up the far boards, and Higgins skated right into Chara up high. He appeared to leave his feet, and Chara lay on the ice for a moment. Chara appeared to be ok, perhaps a bit woozy, but fine nonetheless. The whistle was blown, but not for a penalty. Vancouver was called for an offsides, so they had 12 more seconds left to play. The Bruins would exit the 1st period with a 1-0 lead.
The 2nd period started with an icing call against the Canucks. Boston had an early chance to extend their lead. Lucic had a chance in the far slot, but his shot went wide. Off another icing call, the Bruins created another chance. Mark Recchi won the puck back for Boston, and Marchand pick the puck up. He skated below the far circle, and to the far slot. He took a bad angle shot, and hit the far post. Boston had just missed 2 good chances to extend their lead early in the period. But in the first 5 minutes, the Canucks were out shooting the Bruins 4-0. The Canucks had a great chance off a Boston turnover. Chara picked the puck up behind the Boston net, and held the puck as one of the Sedins skated towards him. He made his pass, and the puck deflected right off Sedin’s stick to Burrows in the center slot. Thomas came out to challenge him, and Burrows dragged the puck to the near slot. Thomas caught out of position, and dove back across ice to make a potential save. Chara saved himself though, as he covered up the empty net with his enormous body. Burrows took the shot, it went by the diving Thomas, and hit Chara in his left knee. The puck stayed out, and Boston had caught a huge break midway through the period. Boston came back up ice with pressure, started by Tyler Seguin. Seguin passed ahead to Ryder as he entered the zone, and he took a shot from the circle blocked off by Luongo. The puck went around the net, and up the boards. Recchi stopped the puck, and passed to Seidenberg at the point. He took a shot, and it was tipped in front. Marchand picked up the loose puck, and Luongo was in a bad position, out of his crease far side. Marchand used this to his advantage, and skated around the net for a wraparound chance. Luongo dove back across ice, and stopped the shot with his stick. But Luongo fumbled around with the puck, and lost control of it as he tried to cover it up , and the puck slipped past the goal line. Boston had taken a 2-0 lead, 12:13 into the game. Boston came right back when Mark Recchi flew up ice with a hop in his step. He blew right by the Canucks defense, and got 1-on-1 with Luongo in the far slot. He backhanded a shot off, but Luongo came up with a big save. The Canucks picked up the pace, and when Johnny Boychuk lost his stick, Vancouver took control in the Boston zone. It would result in a Boston penalty, as Chara was called for interference on Kessler in the slot. The Canucks had nothing going, and the Bruins created their own scoring chance. The puck was picked up by Seidenberg, and he chipped the puck up ice. Patrice Bergeron picked up the puck in the neutral zone on the fly, and skated 1-on-1 up ice with Edler. Bergeron pulled the puck to the far side, and was tripped down by Edler. The puck slide right into the pads of Luongo, but the momentum of Bergeron and Edler smacked them right into Luongo. The puck slid off Luongo, and into the back of the net. The play was reviewed, and Bergeron was awarded his 2nd goal of the night, shorthanded, at 17:35. Boston was now up 3-0, and had a lead that seemed insurmountable. Boston has now scored on 7 of their last 21 shots against Luongo. The Bruins killed off the rest of Chara’s penalty, and they were back to 5-on-5. The Canucks seemed deflated the rest of the period, and the Bruins just skated around with them. The period ended with the Bruins up 3-0. 20 minutes is all that stands now from the Boston Bruins and a Stanley Cup victory.
The 3rd period started with a good push from the Canucks. The Bruins defense was just weathering the storm, and able to push the puck back up ice. And the Canucks again resorted to dirty tactics. Skating in the center of the ice, Hansen just decided to run right into Ference. Ference stayed down for a moment, but he recovered and got back to the bench. Ference wasn’t anywhere near the puck, and it was just a dirty and pathetic play. So the Bruins were on the powerplay at 5:33 for interference. The Bruins looked very lackadaisical on the powerplay, just allowing the Canucks to clear the zone. It wasn’t until late in the powerplay that they created an opportunity off the rush. Marchand skated into the far slot, and centered a pass for Seguin. But Luongo made the pad save, and the puck bounced away. The powerplay ended without much noise, and the lead remained 3-0. Midway through the period, the Bruins were playing a defensive game. They were allowing the Canucks to get offensive chances. Then a bad break for the Bruins, as they would receive a bad penalty call at 11:34. Lucic was called for hooking on Henrik Sedin. Lucic lifted his stick, and never wrapped around Sedin with his stick. So Vancouver had a chance to break into this lead, and perhaps get some momentum. The Canucks looked terrible on the powerplay, with the Bruins killing it off easily. Claude Julien decided to use his timeout at this time, to energize his guys for 5 more minutes of hockey. The Bruins game plan was simple, collapse around the puck. With 3 minutes remaining in the game, decided to empty his net. But the Bruins would be the ones capitalizing on it, as Brad Marchand took the puck away at center ice, and ripped a shot from the near circle. It’s now a 4-0 lead for Boston 17:16 into the 3rd and final period. As Brad Marchand celebrated his goal, you could see the tears in his eyes. He went to the bench, and you could see everyone celebrating and giving hugs. This is it, the Boston Bruins have won the Stanley Cup 4-0, behind Tim Thomas’s shutout performance.
How about that! It feels a little surreal to say it already, but the Boston Bruins are Stanley Cup Champions!! The Bruins played exactly the type of game they wanted to, and forced the Canucks to play their game. Vancouver played great in the first 5-7 minutes of the game. As I was watching the game, I just kept saying, if the Bruins can whether this storm they’ll be in good shape later in the game. And that is exactly what happened. The Bruins just played careful in their own zone, did a good job not to make bad turnovers in their own zone, and of course Tim Thomas stopped everything in sight. Once the Canuck fans calmed down from the high of game 7 starting, the Bruins started getting some offense moving. The 4th line for Boston was instrumental in the getting the offense moving for the Bruins. It came down to hard work in the corners and along the boards, and the Bruins got on the board 1st. I though the Canucks would win this game, but I did say that if the Bruins scored 1st I would guarantee a victory. They scored 1st, and I felt very good about it. You could tell that the Bruins scoring 1st just took the life out of the Canucks and their fans. spending so much energy early in the period hurt them. The Bruins played the rest of the game with the same intensity, and never let the Canucks even sniff a goal. Well, Chara’s turnover almost resulted in a goal, but the big man bailed himself out. Boston played a full 60 minutes of dominate hockey, and the Canucks played decent hockey for 5 minute stretches at a time. Like I said earlier, Luongo didn’t play a bad game, but he wasn’t great either.
He surely wasn’t the reason they lost, but unlike Tim Thomas, he wasn’t the reason they won. When the Canucks lost, it was Luongo’s fault. When the Canucks won, it was because the Bruins offense failed. Thomas never cut his teams legs out from under them, and you always felt that the Bruins would win just because he was in net in these Finals. Thomas becomes just the 2nd American born player to win the Conn Smythe trophy. The only other was Brian Leech with the New York Rangers in 1994. Their opponent, the Vancouver Canucks. Thomas also set a postseason record for the most saves in the Stanley Cup Finals, as well as the most saves in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Those are exactly the type of stats I’m talking about.
The Bruins also smothered one of the best powerplays in the NHL, holding the Canucks to a meek 2-34 on the powerplay. The Sedin twins combined for just 5 points all series long, while Ryan Kessler had just 1 assist all series long. Before this series started, I stated that the Bruins wouldn’t win because of these guys, and how good they were. Well they didn’t show up, and the Bruins defense, namely the Captain Zdeno Chara, shut them down each and every night. The celebration was something to see as well.
Nathan Horton was in the arena, and he put on his jersey and skated out to celebrate with his team. It was a beautiful sight, and one that I know I will cherish forever. And I will always remember how classless the Canuck fans were in defeat. They actually booed the Bruins as they celebrated, and as the NHL awarded them with the Stanley Cup. They did cheer Tim Thomas as he skated around with the Cup. So at least they know who deserves some respect. Lucic received some cheers, seeing that he was born and raised, and won a Memorial Cup in Vancouver. Looking ahead to next year already was Mark Recchi. Recchi announced post game that this was his last game, and that he would “… ride off into the sunset.” In his 22 NHL seasons, Recchi became just the 8th player in NHL history with the Stanley Cup in 3 different decades, and the 3rd player to win the Stanley Cup with 3 different teams. He also played in 1,652 games, which is 3rd all time in the NHL, with 1,533 points, which is 12 all time in the NHL. Recchi is a sure firer Hall of Famer, and it was a perfect ending to send him out with a Stanley Cup win. Brad Marchand became just the 8th NHL rookie to score 10+ goals in the postseason, and set a record for most postseason goals by a Bruin rookie with 11. The Bruins became just the 2nd professional team in American sports history to win 3 game 7’s in one postseason. The only other team to do it, was the 1988 L.A. Lakers. The Bruins also won a series when being down 0-2 for the 1st time in their team history. The actually did it twice in this postseason. The 1st against the Canadians, and the 2nd of course to the Canucks. This postseason just had a different feel to it. When the Bruins came back and beat the Canadians, then they had the Flyers. The broke the hearts of Boston last year, and the Bruins came back with a sweep. As the series went on, it just felt like this was a team of destiny. This is the pinnacle of greatness in hockey, and the Bruins are at the top of the mountain. And what’s more, I think this Bruins team can get better. But, I’ll leave that discussion for another day. For today, tommorow, and every day after that, the Boston Bruins will always be the 2010-2011 Stanley Cup Champions.
Boston came up huge again last night, dominating game 4 with a 4-0 win. Thomas should have had a shutout in game 3, and had one last night. He has been absolutely stellar all Finals long. Thomas has allowed 5 goals in 4 games, with 3 coming in the game 2 loss. On the contrary, Luongo has been Jekyll and Hyde. In game 1 he had a shutout, and in game 2 allowed 2 goals. But these 2 games in Boston, he’s allowed 12 goals in 5+ periods. There have only been 3 other goaltenders to allow 12 goals in a 2 game span, and they all lost the Cup Finals. With Nathan Horton out for the remainder of the playoffs, Tyler Seguin and Shawn Thornton both saw ice time last night. I assume that is the way it will be for the rest of the postseason. Horton was in the locker room after the game to meet with his teammates. The Bruins played with lots of heart and tenacity, and it was a great game for them all around.
The game started with a false start for the opening face-off. Kessler actually cross checked Bergeron to the ice at the center dot. Bergeron won the next face-off back for Boston, and the game was on. The game is already being played with some nastiness by both teams. A couple extra shoves here and there, and I wonder how long the refs will let them go. The 1st line for Boston had Peverley replacing Horton, and they didn’t appear to skip a beat. The 1st line still provided great pressure on Luongo early on. Vancouver had a huge chance off a puck deflected in the neutral zone. Vancouver had a 3-on-2 up ice, and a shot was taken from the far circle. The puck deflected to the near boards, but Thomas had no idea where it was. He laid down in the crease to stop the puck from squirting in, meanwhile the Canucks picked the puck up at the point. He finally saw the puck, and scurried back up. A shot taken from the point was blocked in front, but picked back up by Vancouver in the near slot, and passed across ice. One of the Sedin twins tried to get a one-timer off, and Thomas dove across the crease to make a stop, but the puck went wide. Boston came back off a face-off win in their own zone, with Bergeron and Marchand were 2-on-2 in the attacking zone. Bergeron passed back to Marchand in the center slot, but his backhand went wide. Vancouver came back up ice, after the puck bounced off a referee’s skates in the neutral zone. Kessler picked the puck up, and Ryder took a swipe at him. His stick grazed off Kessler’s leg, but then Kessler’s skate went right over the stick, and he tripped over the blade. Ryder was called for a trip at 6:58, and the Canucks had a great chance to score 1st. The Canucks were doing a great job controlling the puck. They had good movement along the boards, and were very physical trying to screen in front of Thomas. But the Bruins defenders were just too good. They collapsed around the puck very well, and denied the Canucks even a shot on net. The penalty ended for Vancouver, and Boston came back with a huge burst of energy. Michael Ryder was now on the 1st line, and they were creating plenty of chances on Luongo. Kreci had a puck bounce on him in the slot, and later Ryder had a shot blocked down in the slot. Vancouver didn’t play great defense, but they played well enough to survive with Luongo bailing them out. Off a face-off win by Vancouver in the Boston zone, Tim Thomas was inadvertently knocked down by Seidenberg. Vancouver had a huge chance to score, but the Bruins defense collapsed around the puck. Boston got the puck into the neutral zone, and the puck was chipped from the center boards by Kreci to a speeding Peverley. Peverley skated right by the unaware defense, and now had a semi-breakaway. He deked to the forehand, and snuck it right through Luongo’s 5-hole. Boston had taken a very important lead at 11:59, 1-0. Vancouver came back with huge pressure, feeling the need to respond. But Thomas was up to the challenge, even making a save through about 4 people screening. Boston fought right back with good pressure of their own, but Marchand would be called for cross-checking at 16:10. Vancouver now had a great chance to tie the game on the powerplay late in the 1st. Kessler had a good chance early for a one-timer near post. The puck was deflected by the stick of Seidenberg though, and went wide. That would be the only good look for Vancouver, as the Bruins penalty killers were suffocating. Vancouver finally got 1 shot off, and it was just a puck fired in from the center dot. The powerplay ended without a goal, and there was just a minute and a half remaining in the 1st period. Off a face-off win in their own zone, Vancouver sent the puck up ice. The puck was tipped, and bounced into the Boston zone. Manny Malhotra skated by McQuaid, and took a shot at Thomas from the slot. Thomas made the save, and their was a pile up of racing Canucks and Bruins. Thomas fell to the ice to cover up the puck, and he somehow did. Another huge save for Thomas, and the game was still 1-0. Boston came back with a great scoring chance by Ryder in the slot. He was able to get behind the Vancouver defense, and received a pass to get 1-on-1 with Luongo in the near slot. He took a hard wrist shot, that hit the jersey of Luongo, and then bounced off the post and out to the far boards. Ryder just missed making this a 2-0 game with seconds remaining in the period. That would be the last play of the 1st, and Boston exited with a 1-0 lead. Vancouver outshot Boston 12-6, and Tim Thomas was again magical in net. If he was anything less than perfect, Vancouver could have had the lead.
The 2nd period is on, and some more chippy play all around. Boston had pressure on early, with the 1st line with Peverley doing the damage. The Bruins were controlling the puck for the first 4 minutes of the period. Vancouver was not to be denied though, as they came back with some heat of their own. working the puck in the Boston corner, the puck was tipped or passed out to the slot. Raffi Torres was waiting right there, and got a laser beam one-timer off. Thomas was again solid in net, blocking the puck away. As the Canucks sent the puck into the Boston zone, it was picked up by Ference behind the net. As he came around, he was whacked in the face by Raymond. That would result in a high sticking call at 7:41. The Bruins were stifled all powerplay. The Bruins had just 1 good chance, when Lucic took the puck into the far slot. He skated towards the boards, and passed back to Bergeron in the far slot. He got a one-timer off, but the shot went wide. The powerplay ended without a goal, so the game remained 1-0 midway through the 2nd period. The Bruins ran a breakout play from their own zone. The puck was passed up to Seguin at the far center boards. He passed across ice to Ryder, who skated methodically to the top of the near circle. He just fired a wrist shot off, and beat Luongo between his glove and pad. Luongo thought it was going higher, and he was wrong. Boston took a 2-0 lead at 11:11. Less than a minute later, Boston had a face-off in the attacking zone. The face-off was won back by Kreci, and Lucic would be found all alone in the slot. But the play was blown dead, as Andrew Alberts and Peverley were issued matching minor penalties. Alberts received a slashing call, and Peverley a cross check at 12:05. So they skated 4-on-4 for 2 minutes. Late in the matching penalties, Boston sent the puck in deep to the attacking zone. Vancouver picked it up, and tried to clear up the near boards. Chara pinched in the zone and sent the puck around behind the net. Vancouver tried to clear the puck again, but Chara picked up the puck at the point. He sent the puck to the corner and around the net. Bergeron and Marchand went behind the net, with Marchand’s leg inadvertently taking out Ballard. Henrik Sedin picked up the puck, and Bergeron battled along the boards with him. Sedin passed to Ballard, but he couldn’t handle the puck in tight next to the near post. Bergeron tried to jam the loose puck in, but Luongo had his pad down. The puck bounced out to the slot, and Marchand was right there to pick the puck up. He had it on his backhand, and just roofed the puck into the back of the net. Boston had now taken a 3-0 lead at 13:29. The last 2 shots for Boston had found the back of the net. The 4-on-4 would end, with Boston taking the lead off of it. Boston had some more trouble handling the puck in their zone, and again it was Kaberle. Kaberle was being pushed around in the slot, but he just passed it behind himself to Kelly. Kelly was pressured, and just muscled the puck to Boychuk at the far boards. But Boychuk tried to clear the zone, and he sent the puck clear over the glass. So Boston would go on the pk at 18:49, leaving Vancouver carryover time to the 3rd. The Canucks had nothing going, and the period came to a close. Boston had a 3-0 lead, and Tim Thomas was playing out of this world. He stopped all 25 shots he’s faced, while Luongo was just 15 of 18.
The Canucks started the 3rd period with 51 seconds of powerplay time. Vancouver didn’t even muster a shot on net, and the Bruins had a 3-on-2 up ice as the penalty ended. Rich Peverley was skating through the high slot, when he lost an edge. After he fell, Henrik Sedin took a slash at him trying to get the puck. Sedin would be called for slashing at :52, and the Bruins were on the powerplay. The Bruins just looked atrocious, and the powerplay ended with just 1 shot on goal. Vancouver had more shorthanded bids than Boston did shots, both coming by Mason Raymond. His biggest chance came when he took the puck at the Boston point, and Andrew Ference pinched in on him. Raymond deked right around him, and now had a semi-breakaway. But Ryder came streaking down, and lifted Raymond’s stick as he went for the shot. A huge play by Ryder as the powerplay ended. Boston came back though, after a huge hit turned the puck over in their own zone. Kreci picked up the puck, and passed ahead to Lucic. Lucic skated up the side boards entering the attacking zone, with Kevin Beiksa going for the hip check. Lucic stopped, and skated right around the hip check, and Boston now had a 2-on-1 in the slot. Lucic centered a pass for Peverley, but Luongo poked the puck away. Kessler clamped down on Peverley as the 2 went towards the net, and the puck bounced up into their bodies. The puck was lost for a moment, and then appeared in the back of the Vancouver net. Boston had surprisingly taken a 4-0 lead, with Rich Peverley being awarded the goal at 3:39. That was it for Roberto Luongo, as Corey Schneider substituted him in net. Boston came right back with pressure on Schneider, testing him early. He appeared up to the challenge, and Vancouver took the puck into the Boston zone. The Canucks weren’t going to lie down like they did Monday night. As the puck was sent up the far boards, Mark Recchi checked a Canuck into the boards. His stick was up high, and the shaft inadvertently hit him the eye. Boston would go on the pk at 9:14, and Vancouver had a chance to break into this lead. The Canucks would kill their own powerplay though when Ryan Kessler decided to take a whack at the back of the legs of McQuaid. He received a slashing call at 10:25, so they skated 4-on-4 for 48 seconds. Surprise, Kessler continues to play dirty, and I would like to add that McQuaid didn’t even flinch when he was hit. If that was a Canuck, he would have hit the ice whining like a baby. We’ve seen it all series, and it just shows what these 2 teams are really made of. Vancouver had the better scoring chances during the 4-on-4, but Thomas continued to make every save. The 4-on-4 ended, and the Bruins had 1:12 of powerplay time. Boston couldn’t do anything with the puck, and the powerplay ended without a goal. The Bruins were playing a bit sloppy, and they had a tough time getting the puck out of their own zone. But Boston would go back on the powerplay, after LaPierre broke Shawn Thornton’s stick. LaPierre would receive a slashing call at 14:36, and the Bruins had a chance to embarrass the Canucks with a goal off the man advantage. The Bruins again looked pathetic, having trouble even entering the attacking zone. We were now down to under 3 and a half to play, and the only thing the Bruins were playing for now was the shutout. Brad Marchand was skating into the attacking zone, when he stopped and skated around Erhinhoff. While he went by, he grabbed the head of Ehrhoff and threw him down. As he went to the corner, Daniel Sedin came charging at Marchad. He ducked under Sedin’s check, and Sedin tumbled over him. Ballard came in and grabbed Marchand, and the 2 tussled down to the ice. The best part was when McQuaid came over to back up his foreword, and he grabbed Ehrhoff. McQuaid had his helmet off, and his gloves down. He was ready to fight. Ehrhoff threw his gloves down, saw McQuaid, and went right to the turtle. He wanted no part of this fight once he saw he couldn’t match up. The commentator said that was a bad matchup, and McQuaid would wreck Ehrhoff. He added that people don’t seem to know how tough Adam McQuaid is. That just had me laughing in my chair. It is absolutely true. All of us in Boston have seen McQuaid beat the life out of some people, and know exactly what he was talking about. As for the game, there were some penalties issued at 17:33. Marchand received a roughing minor served by Seguin, as well as holding and tripping minors. Ballard received a roughing minor, and McQuaid received a game misconduct. So the Canucks had 4 minutes of powerplay time, and even decided to empty their net. Vancouver was desperate for a goal, which is not a sign of faith in your team when you already have a 4 minute powerplay if you ask me. During the powerplay, Burrows chopped the stick out of Tim Thomas’s hand. A little later, Thomas slashed the back of Burrows leg, and Burrows turned around and cross-checked him. Thomas smacked at Burrows, and Seidenberg threw him down to the ice. A small scrum ensued, with more penalties being assessed at 18:09. Burrows received a cross checking minor, Kessler received a roughing minor and a game misconduct. Chara received a roughing minor and a game misconduct, and Kelly received a slashing minor. So it remained an extended powerplay for the Canucks. Schneider was put back in goal for the final minute and a half. The Canucks did a good job of holding the puck in the Boston zone, getting some point shots off. Boston would clear the zone though, and the puck skated down the ice as the period ended. The Boston Bruins had fought hard, and come away with 2 wins at home to even the Stanley Cup Finals. Game 4 was over, with the Bruins winning 4-0.
Another great win for the Bruins, and a terrible loss for the Canucks. Boston dominated all facets of the game again last night, and Tim Thomas was his usual self. For the Bruins, it has been the mark of consistency in net, with timely goal scoring. For the Canucks, it’s been a tale of 2 teams. In Vancouver, the Canucks scored 4 goals, with Luongo allowing just 2. Luongo even shutout the Bruins for the first 4 periods of these Cup Finals. But once they got to Boston, they became a different team, as did the Bruins. Boston has upped the physicality, and has really worked over the Vancouver star players. Luongo has turned into a puddle these 2 games in Boston, allowing 12 goals in the 2 games here. Meanwhile, the Bruins were very unfortunate to lose both games in Vancouver. Considering that Tim Thomas was stellar in both games, it came down to not enough offense and bad turnovers for the Bruins. The 1st line for each team really set the tone in this game. Lucic had an assist with 5 shots on net. Kreci had 2 assists with 3 shots on net. He also leads all skaters in points and goals in these playoffs. Peverley had 2 shots and 2 goals. The 1st line for Vancouver meanwhile did nothing. The Bruins pk has also been tremendous, with the Bruins powerplay actually being better than Vancouver’s these Cup Finals. Vancouver is just 1 for 22 on the powerplay, while the Bruins have 3 goals on their chances. When the game is even strength at 5-on-5, the Bruins are +24, and the Canucks are -2. The Bruins are 10-1 scoring 1st, and 8-1 when leading after 2 periods. Kreci becomes just the 6th Bruin with 10 goals and 10 assists in the postseason. This is also the 1st shutout win in the Stanley Cup Finals for Boston since game 3 of the 1978 Finals against Montreal. Marchand tied a Bruins rookie record with 8 playoff goals in a single postseason. Claude Julien has now tied Don Cherry for the most playoff wins by a Bruin coach with 31. It was quite a historic night in Boston. Heading into game 5, Boston has all the momentum. The Bruins seem to be inside Luongo’s head, and their coach now faces a big decision. Does he start Luongo or Schneider in game 5?
The Bruins are coming off 2 devastating wins in Boston, and now know what they must do. If the Bruins are going to win the Cup Finals, they must win 1 game in Vancouver. Preferably game 5, as it sets up perfectly for the Bruins to win the Cup in game 6 at home. And I’m starting to believe that is going to happen. But it’s been a tale of 2 cities, as each home team has dominated these games. I feel good about the Bruins in game 5, and I think they will win. With all the troubles Luongo is having, and the 1st line for Vancouver, it just seems like the Bruins have everything going their way. If Boston wins game 5, they will have the perfect chance to win the Stanley Cup in game 6. Losing game 5 would mean more pressure to win 2 straight games, including game 7 in Vancouver. You can’t give the Canucks a chance if you’re Boston, and they need to step on the throat of Vancouver Friday night.
Boston has struck again, winning game 3, 2-0. Tim Thomas picked up just his 2nd shutout in his postseason career in a very good performance. While he wasn’t great, the Boston defense was. And the offense gave Thomas an early lead to work with, scoring just 1:09 into the game. Patrice Bergeron was back for game 3, but that meant someone had to sit in his place. Shawn Thornton drew the short straw, and was a healthy scratch in the game. But having Bergeron on the ice was a huge boost for the team. The looked very solid defensively, and dominated all aspects of the game tonight. The Lightning put out a very poor performance, and the Bruins came away with a great win in Tampa.
The game started with Bergeron getting right on the ice, centering the 2nd line. But it was the 1st line of Boston that struck. Boychuck sent the puck down the far sideboards to Lucic. He dug the puck out from the corner, and centered a pass for Kreci in front of Roloson. The puck bounced off his stick a little, but he settled it quickly. He was 1-on-1 against Roloson in the crease, and deked to sneak his backhand shot into the back of the net. Boston scored quickly, up 1-0 at 1:09. The Lightning followed that up with a great chance in the slot by Malone. He tried a wraparound attempt, but Thomas just held the near post. The Boston offense had pressure early, forcing the Lightning D to make bad plays. But off a Boston turnover, the Lightning had a couple great chances in a row to score. Thomas stopped a shot from the point, and then turned around to find the puck. The puck had actually bounced right in front of him, and Tampa picked it up. Purcell had a great chance to score, but Thomas spun back around, saw the shot, and made a terrific right leg save. Midway through the period, Boston almost put another puck in the net. Paille brought the puck up ice, and passed ahead to Campbell as he entered the attacking zone. Campbell took a shot from the far circle that Roloson stopped. The puck was not covered up though, and Roloson fell backwards as the puck went somewhere between his legs. Peverley was charging at then net, and then started jamming away when he saw the loose puck. A whistle would eventually be called, but a skirmish commenced. The Lightning players didn’t like Peverley attacking the net, and started roughing him up. Campbell came in to back him up, and after giving a shove to Gange, Gange started hitting him. After the dust cleared, Campbell and Gange would be sent to the box for offsetting roughing minors at 10:21. So they skated 4-on-4 for 2 minutes. Tampa had a 2-on-1 after Seidenberg was caught up ice. St.Louis was coming through the far side, with Lecavalier on the near side. As St.Louis made a pass across ice, Chara poked his stick out to break up the scoring chance. Back to 5-on-5 they skated. Off a face-off win by Boston in the attacking zone, Peverley had a chance in the near slot with an open net. His shot went wide though. Boston was bringing the puck up ice, and Kreci received a pass at the Boston bench. As he was turning around, Marc-Andre Bergeron blindsided him with his shoulder, and Kreci went down. The play would be whistled dead, and Bergeron was issued an elbowing penalty at 17:29. Kreci remained on one knee for some time, before finally going to the bench. The Boston powerplay was pathetic though, barely causing Roloson to sweat. The period would end with the Bruins up 1-0.
Bergeron and the 2nd line started the 2nd period, and Marchand created a chance early. He knocked the puck away from a Lightning defender, and Recchi went to the corner to get the puck. He passed back to Bergeron, who passed across ice to Marchand in the far slot. But a great move by Roloson allowed him to make the save. Kreci was back on the ice, and skating well. A very good sign for the Bruins going forward. 5:58 into the period, both teams had just 1 shot. It was a defensive period early, both teams battling hard. Boston finally got a 2nd shot off, this one from Ference at the point. Roloson made the save easy, but it was what happened after the play that was interesting. Marchand was next to Roloson, in case of a rebound. He tripped over a Lighting stick, and made incidental contact with the face of a Lightning player. He would be called for high sticking at 5:58, giving Tampa an important powerplay now. The Boston pk was terrific, denying Tampa any good looks at Thomas. The penalty ended, and the game remained 1-0 midway through the 2nd. Boston was heading up the ice, when Tampa would be called for too-many-men at 9:51. Boston was on the powerplay for the 2nd time tonight. It was pathetic again, not able to set up anything. The penalty would be cut short, when the puck bounced off of Bergeron’s stick into the neutral zone. Bergeron was forced to bump Hall to prevent a breakaway, and he would be called for interference at 11:09. They played 4-on-4 for 35 seconds, before the Lightning went on the powerplay. Stamkos had a great chance for a tip-in in the slot, but the puck went just wide. Tampa didn’t score, but they looked much better on the shortened powerplay. Boston acted quickly once Bergeron got out of the box, with Chara finding Bergeron near the Tampa blue line. He slowly skated into the attacking zone, waiting for Peverley to get up ice for a 2-on-1 chance. He passed across ice to the near slot, but Roloson made a spectacular right-to-left pad save to keep Boston off the board. Boston had another chance, as Marchand tried to wraparound the puck near post. Bergeron was attacking far post for a rebound, and was knocked down by Eric Brewer. Brewer would be called for hooking at 16:55. The Boston powerplay was very slow to start. They weren’t able to set up the offense for a minute and a half. Finally though, Boston started moving the puck well, with Seidenberg getting 2 point shots off that Roloson stopped. Boston held the puck in the attacking zone for a good 30 seconds, even after the penalty had ended. The penalty ended without a goal, and Tampa finally iced the puck. Tampa coach Guy Boucher called a time-out, to get his players some rest. Nothing else from Boston though, and the 2 teams went to the dressing rooms to end the 2nd. Boston was still up 1-0 after 2.
The 3rd period started nice and slow. Exactly how the Bruins wanted to play the period. Tampa finally got the offense moving after the 2 minute mark, and they pressured Thomas heavily. Good defense didn’t allow Tampa to get many shots on net though. Any shots they did get off were kept out by Thomas. The Lightning weren’t taking many great shots. They were just throwing bad angle shots on net, and then jamming away in the crease. Boston came back with 2 good rush chances. Marchand had a 1-on-1 chance, getting behind the defender, and pushing to the backhand. Roloson stood tall and made the save. The Kreci line had a 3-on-2 up ice, with Kreci coming across to the near circle. He made a centering pass to Lucic, but Roloson made the save. Tampa tried to clear the puck, but Lucic just kept the puck in the attacking zone as he went for a change. He sent the puck all the way around the boards, and it was picked up by Boston. Ference had the puck at the point, and took a shot through 2 Lightning players, and Kelly screening. The puck was almost stopped by Roloson’s pads in the butterfly. The puck slowly trickled through the pads, and beyond the goal line. Boston had taken a 2-0 lead at 8:12. Boston was in prime position now to win this game, and go up 2 games to 1. Tampa came right back with pressure, and it resulted in a penalty by Boston. Chara would get called for hooking on St. Louis at 9:49, putting Boston on a critical pk. Boston won the opening face-off back. Boychuck lost the puck though to Gange, who passed to St. Louis. He had a chance right in front of Thomas now. As he went to the backhand, Thomas made a diving poke check clearing the puck off his stick, and preventing the scoring chance. The rest of the penalty was very quiet for Tampa, and the game remained 2-0. As the game went beyond the 15:00 mark, Boston started playing conservative hockey. The Bruins were just protecting the net, collapsing on the puck, and clearing it on every shift. The Tampa offense had nothing going against the Boston D. Tampa would empty their net at the 17:51 mark with a face-off in the Boston zone. Good puck control by Tampa kept Boston from getting an empty net bid, but it would be all for not. The Boston Bruins had won game 3 behind the perfect Tim Thomas, 2-0.
This is exactly the type of game the Bruins want to play against this Lightning team. They scored a quick goal by Kreci, the defense was stellar, and Tim Thomas was perfect in net. There was nothing very eye-popping about this game. It was a very systematic victory by Claude Julien. Once the Bruins scored that 1st goal, they kept up on the Lightning. They never backed down in the attacking zone, and the defenders were very aggressive in the first 2 periods. Once the 3rd period came along, Julien was very contempt to just roll the lines out there, and chip the puck in deep. This was not a spectacular game by any means, but it was a very solid effort by the Bruins. Having Bergeron back really improved this teams defense. He was terrific on face-offs, besting Lecavalier (who has killed the Bruins in games 1 and 2 at the dot) all night. This game was the first time that we really even heard Recchi and Marchand’s names. Bergeron greatly improved the performance of those 2, by setting them up and taking away the puck from Lightning players. Thomas had a good game but not great. I know he had a shutout, but he wasn’t tested all that much until the 3rd period. Thomas had 15 of his 31 saves in the 3rd period alone. Most of those shots were not good scoring chances anyways. Tampa was just taking as many shots as they could, trying to get a cheap goal or a rebound attempt. Thomas was good, and he made some spectacular saves when he needed to, but he was by no means great.
Tampa Bay just laid an egg tonight. Their offense stunk all night. They just couldn’t break through the Boston defense for good scoring chances. The defense had a couple of breakdowns, most notably during the 1st period. Kreci’s goal was a result of the man covering him, Viktor Headman, abandoning Kreci in the slot to chase Lucic and the puck. The 2nd goal was just a result on being out-hustled, and out worked for the puck. Roloson was great in net Thursday night. The 2nd goal was a soft one, and one that he’ll have next time out. The 1st goal though, was just skill and bad defense. His defensemen left him out to dry, and Kreci is one of the most talented Bruins. You could argue Roloson had a better night than Tim Thomas, and I would listen. Tampa is now in a must-win situation. If they lose game 4, on home ice, and go down 3-1, they will not win this series. The Bruins have home-ice, (even though it probably won’t matter) and are a great road team. So even if the Bruins lost game 5 at home, I think they would go into Tampa and close the game out in 6. In fact, that’s what I think will happen. Boston is the better team, and plays better on the road than at home. Look for the Bruins to win another low scoring affair in game 4, but I think Tampa staves off elimination in game 5. I said it before the series officially started, Bruins in 6, and I’m sticking by it.