The Boston Bruins evened the Stanley Cup final with a 4-0 victory over the Vancouver Canucks in Game 4 on Wednesday night. Here’s a report card on the two teams. (with performance rated 1-to-10)
Vancouver: The goalie controversy from the first round against Chicago re-emerged as Roberto Luongo was beaten for four goals on 20 shots, after being left in for eight in Game 3. Cory Schneider stopped all nine shots he faced after relieving Luongo when Rich Peverley made it 4-0 at 3:39 of the third. Luongo could have been sharper but wasn’t getting much help from his teammates. Now there’s debate on who will start in Game 5. 4.
Boston: Tim Thomas stopped all 38 shots he faced and has saved 77 of 78 shots in the two games in Boston. He was sharp on some good chances in the first period, but nearly all the shots came from far away from then on. And he sent a message to Canuck net-crowders late with a nasty slash on Alex Burrows. 9.
Vancouver: With Aaron Rome suspended, Keith Ballard got back in the lineup and struggled on bad ice and in an ultra-hostile environment, despite starting the game paired with steady Kevin Bieksa. But the giveaways and misreads were spread around the six rearguards in this one. Alex Edler’s gaffe on Peverley’s first goal in the first period hurt most, and Ballard’s slow reaction on Brad Marchand’s 3-0 goal helped seal the win for the Bruins. 4.
Boston: They checked and battled and made the Canucks’ league-best attack look ordinary. Vancouver skated hard in the first and had chances, but as the game wore on, they were pushed to the fringes, and the big D led by Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg allowed almost nothing close to Thomas. 9.
Vancouver: Coach Alain Vigneault used the Sedin twins a lot—more than 21 minutes each—and they got some early chances, but faded as the game went on. The second line led by Ryan Kesler and the third trio centred by Max Lapierre were also ineffective. Confidence looks to be draining from a group that normally dazzles with speed and creativity. Getting an early goal could have made a difference, but it never came. Defencemen took 18 of the team’s 38 shots. 5.
Boston: It wasn’t quite the festival of goals they had in Game 3, but hard work and a dose of opportunism was more than enough. Peverley played in injured Nathan Horton’s spot on the David Krejci line and scored twice. For a second straight game, Marchand scored on pure hustle and Michael Ryder, one of Boston’s unsung playoff heroes, got a key goal 11:11 into the second on a shot that went off Sami Salo’s stick and made Luongo look bad. Milan Lucic had five shots. 8.
Vancouver: The Canucks’ power play is starting to look like Boston’s inept unit through the first three rounds. It went 0-5, for a 1-for-21 record in the series. They generated little and looked tentative and slow. The PK didn’t allow a goal on four Boston man advantages. 5.
Boston: Despite failing to score, the Bruins power play at least looked dangerous and the two goals they scored in Game 3 looked to have given them new energy. The penalty kill was all but flawless. The area that was thought to be Vancouver’s main strength, special teams, now looks to have shifted Boston’s way. 6.