Monday, June 6, 2011

Bruins Bite Back, Get the 2-point Conversion, Win Game Three 8-1

The Boston Bruins drubbed the Vancouver Canucks with a stunning eight goal annihilation. Michael Ryder was credited with three points (a goal and two assists) and embattled veteran Mark Recchi tallied two, the Bruins scored two shorthanded and two powerplay goals and Tim Thomas was outstanding in stopping all but one of the 41 shots he faced. Nathan Horton was injured on a questionable hit from Aaron Rome and had to leave the game via a stretcher. Of the 17 Bruins’ skaters who finished the game uninjured, twelve registered at least one point and seven recorded multi-point games.

With Shawn Thornton in for the Bruins for the first time since game two of the Bruins conference semifinals versus Tampa, the B’s looked to up their physical edge and hopefully take home their first win of the Cup Finals. Coming out with energy early, the Bruins seemed to pressure the Canuck defense with some early zone play. The Boston crowd was stunned five minutes in, when Nathan Horton was rocked with what seemed to be a very late and blind-side hit to the head from Canuck defender Aaron Rome. Horton was taken by stretcher to Mass General Hospital after a lengthy delay that also saw Rome ejected on a game-misconduct interference call. The five minute powerplay that followed produced several significant chances but ‘Nuck goaltender Roberto Luongo held his ground and kept the score tied. Both netminders were solid throughout the first, and the teams went to the locker room knotted at zero.

The second period started with an early goal from the Bruins. D-man Andrew Ference snuck a slapper past Luongo eleven seconds in, giving the B’s their second lead of the series. Just over four minutes later, Mark Recchi scored his second powerplay goal of the series, knocking a puck off of Vancouver center Ryan Kesler’s stick past the Canuck goalie and giving the Bruins the first multi-goal lead for either team in this Stanley Cup Final.

A spurious slashing call on Milan Lucic gave the Canucks their third powerplay of the evening, but consistently aggressive penalty killing disrupted the usually dominant Vancouver PP, and Bruin agitator Brad Marchand made a pretty do-it-yourself rush up the wing and out-waited Luongo with a smart wrist-shot that gave him a shorthanded goal and the Bruins a big 3-0 lead. With less than five minutes to go, David Krejci fired home a bad Luongo rebound for his playoff-leading eleventh goal and putting the Bruins up by an even four. With the hometown Bruin fans rocking, the teams went off the ice after 40 with two extremely different emotional states.

Coming out of the dressing-room still on the PP, the Canucks sought to turn up the effort and narrow the gap. The game grew chippier and chippier as the third period progressed, with several players receiving misconducts including Milan Lucic, Shawn Thornton and an unlikely Daniel Sedin (along with four others). The Bruins tallied their second shorty of the evening when Daniel Paille (whose PK play throughout the game was sublime) gave a stellar solo effort and knocked the puck just past Luongo. With the game solidly in-hand, two plus-effort-goals from Recchi and Chris Kelly and a powerplay tally from the Bruins (Michael Ryder) and Jannik Hansen from Vancouver scored the 'Nucks lone goal, pushing the score to 8-1, and as the clock ran down, the Bruins celebrated their first Stanley Cup Final Win since 1990.

In this wild game, 125 penalty minutes were given out, including eight misconducts. Tim Thomas was nearly perfect, allowing only 1 goal on 41 shots while his counterpart allowed eight on thirty-eight (a .789 Save %). Christian Ehrhoff led all skaters with nearly 28 minutes of ice-time. The vaunted Vancouver PP went 0 for 8 and is now 1-for-16 on the powerplay, one goal shy of the oft-maligned Bruins’ PK, which totaled 2 goals tonight. This was the first game in the series where the Canucks won the faceoff battle, 38 to 27 (58 %). The Bruins played amazingly well physically and outhit the Canucks 40 to 31. June sixth was the anniversary of one of the greatest trades in Boston history, which brought 50 goal scorer and current Bruins’ team president Cam Neely to Beantowne. The 8-1 final score was the most lopsided result in a Stanley Cup Final since 1996's Colorado-Florida match of the same score.

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