Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Bruins Embarrass Canucks 8-1, Lose Horton for Rest of Series
The Bruins entered Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals down 2-0 to Vancouver and needing. They got more than that. They made a statement to the Canucks.
The TD Garden was rocking at the start of the game, but Vancouver seemed to have the better of the play. With 14:56 left in the first, the series took a major turn. Bruins forward Nathan Horton skated through center ice with the puck, and then passed it off to David Krejci on his left. Horton took off for the net, but was rocked with a crushing hit by Vancouver defenseman Aaron Rome. Rome was given a major penalty for interference and a game misconduct. Horton left the ice on a stretcher. He has a severe concussion and will not return in the series, and as Bruins fans know well any concussion can be career-threatening.
Rome has a disciplinary hearing at 11:00 a.m. today. With Horton's diagnosis, it is highly likely he will be suspended. In my opinion, it was a dirty hit. Horton lets go of the puck, and about a second and a half later Rome hits him from the blind side. The primary target of the hit is Horton's head, and it appears that Rome leaves his feet, though that may just be momentum from the hit. When the NHL instituted "Rule 48" to punish blindside hits to the head, this is exactly what they should have had in mind. Today, the NHL gets a second chance to do the right thing. I'd love to see Aaron Rome gone for the rest of the series, as Horton is, but that's a pipe dream. He should get 2-3 games, but honestly I would not be surprised if he only gets one. I don't think the NHL would want him playing his first game back from suspension in Boston.
UPDATE: Rome has been suspended for four games. Good to see the NHL make the right call, though it's a little troubling that I'm surprised when the league makes a good call.
Vancouver maintained an edge in play for the rest of the period, but could not score. Off the opening faceoff of the second period, the puck went cleanly back to Canucks defenseman Alex Edler. His stick broke making a pass, and David Krejci picked up the puck and sent a shot whizzing past Roberto Luongo but wide. The puck went around the boards to the left point, where Rich Peverley tapped it to Andrew Ference. Ference sent it toward the net, and it found the top corner. It looked like it was tipped on the way in, but Ference got credit for the goal. Luongo was screened on the shot, partially by his own players, and reacted far too late. Interestingly, the goal was scored 11 seconds into the period, the same amount of time it took Alex Burrows to score in overtime of Game 2.
With Jeff Tambellini in the box for hooking, the Bruins added another goal. Mark Recchi got the puck down low on the right side, and tried to slide it to Peverley at the net. Vancouver's Ryan Kesler dove for the pass, but ended up knocking it through Luongo's pads, giving the Bruins a 2-0 lead. Vancouver had a power play chance with Milan Lucic in the box for slashing, but allowed Boston's Brad Marchand to steal the puck at center ice. He beat one defenseman at the blue line by chipping the puck off the boards, then recollected the puck and drove hard to the net. Kesler, the favorite for the Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward, was on him, but Marchand cut inside of him and then outwaited Luongo and put the puck upstairs for a 3-0 lead.
That goal seemed to really deflate Vancouver. Minutes later, Michael Ryder walked over the blue line and was given the time to fire a shot at Luongo. Luongo made the save but gave up a big rebound. Krejci got to it first and fired a shot over Luongo's glove side for a 4-0 lead.
The third period was scoreless until Daniel Paille scored shorthanded for Boston with 8:22 left in the game. Johnny Boychuk collected an errant Vancouver pass at his own blue line, and fed Paille skating through the neutral zone. Paille, one of the fastest players around, had enough speed to fight off a defenseman and put a shot on Luongo. The shot trickled between Luongo's glove and left pad for a 5-0 lead. It was definitely a soft goal. Boston penalty kill 2, Vancouver power play 0. Vancouver did pull one back on a pretty pass to an open Jannik Hansen at the side of the net, but Boston was not done.
The Bruins scored three goals in the last 2:21 of the game. Recchi, Chris Kelly, and Ryder on the power play scored to make it an 8-1 romp.
The game was filled with strange incidents. Bruins goalie Tim Thomas was credited with a hit when he leveled Henrik Sedin in front of the net. The puck popped in the air off of a Boston turnover, and Sedin came to the top of the crease where Thomas exploded out and hit him. No penalty was called on the play.
There were also two incidents of biting-related drama. Recchi taunted Maxim Lapierre with the same "finger-near-the-mouth" move that Lapierre pulled in Game 2 on Patrice Bergeron. Later in the game, Lucic did the same thing to Burrows after , who did the actual biting in Game 1. Bruins coach Claude Julien said after the game that he warned his team against any biting-related taunting, but that seems suspicious to me. Mark Recchi doesn't strike me as the kind of player who goes against his coach's wishes, but maybe even he can get swept up by the emotion of the game.
There were three incidents of questionable hitting from Vancouver, one of course being the Rome hit. In the third, Kesler took a boarding penalty for hitting Paille. Kesler clearly left his feet for the hit, drawing the call. Later, Raffi Torres, already nearly suspended for a hit on Chicago's Brent Seabrook in round one, left his feet to deliver an elbow to Boston's Johnny Boychuk. Luckily for both players, Torres missed, but his intent was clear. All three hits were, in my opinion, dirty, and it doesn't reflect well on the Canucks players or the organization when players are clearly looking to "hit to hurt", as NBC's Eddie Olczyk labeled Torres' flying elbow.
Lapierre had an interesting moment in the first period. David Krejci bumped him skating through the neutral zone. It looked like it was shoulder-to-shoulder, not to mention very gentle, but Lapierre arched back and then grabbed his face. It was an embarrassing attempt to draw a penalty; NBC's Pierre Maguire called it "complete embellishment." In the third, Boston's Andrew Ference made an icing touch-up and then hit Daniel Sedin squarely on the shoulder. Sedin went down with his hands covering his face. Once again, it looked like a sad attempt to draw a penalty. Sedin then got up and headlocked Ference, which looked absolutely ridiculous. Both players received misconduct penalties.
Horton is gone for the rest of the series, but last night the Bruins sent a message to Vancouver that they will not tolerate the cheap tricks the Canucks are known for. Vancouver also sent a message, that when pushed they will immediately fall down clutching their faces. This is now a completely different series.
Posted by scotthoughts at 9:08 AM