The Boston Bruins got back into the Stanley Cup final with a decisive 8-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks in Game 3. Here’s a report card on the two teams (with performance rated one-to-10)
Vancouver: Roberto Luongo had a strange goal go in 11 seconds into the second period, then had a teammate put a power play goal past him and the race was on. He should have been lifted after Boston’s fifth goal, a short-handed effort by Dan Paille. He just waved at everything after that. Now he has to show mental resilience to bounce back in Game 4. Stopped 30 of 38 shots. 2.
Boston: Tim Thomas looked to be fighting the puck in the first period, but managed to make the saves and kept going. He stopped Chris Higgins on a breakaway before he was finally beaten when the score was 5-0. And he threw a bodycheck on Henrik Sedin. He may have sent a message to Vancouver about how tough he is to beat at home. Made 40 saves. 9.
Vancouver: After Aaron Rome was ejected 5:07 into the game for an ugly hit that sent Nathan Horton to hospital, Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault used every combination of the remaining five possible and nothing worked. Christian Ehrhoff got 27:22 of ice time and was minus-3. Alex Edler played 26:26 and was minus-4. Look for Rome to be suspended and Keith Ballard to play Game 4. 2.
Boston: The Bruins gave up 41 shots and had Thomas to thank for holding the Canucks to one goal. Their defence wasn’t all that good. They turned over the puck, gave up some big chances, but got away with it. Tired-looking Zdeno Chara had a relatively light workload with 23:26, which could help for Game 4. In a crash-bang game with tons of hitting, it wasn’t easy for any rearguard. 5.
Vancouver: In a hyper-physical game in which Boston outhit Vancouver 40-31, Ryan Kesler’s line with Higgins and Mason Raymond did much of the work as the Sedin twins generated almost nothing. The third line finally got the goal from Jannik Hansen. They got shots and chances, but only one goal. 5.
Boston: Even with big man Milan Lucic still struggling, and missing his linemate Horton for nearly the whole game, the Bruins hit, caused turnovers and buried nearly every chance. Michael Ryder had a goal and two assists and stood out, as did Brad Marchand with a goal and a helper. The 43-year-old Mark Recchi had an inspired game and got two goals. The surprise was to see Tyler Seguin come out of the lineup for tough guy Shawn Thornton, who was a physical force in his 5:50 of play and got two shots. 9.
Vancouver: They didn’t score on eight chances and now the power play that was red hot going into the final is 1-for-16 in the series. By the end of the game, they sent out the third line rather than the usual top unit. And they gave up two short-handed goals, and two power play goals on four chances to Boston. As awful as it gets. 1.
Boston: It looked like the same old inept Bruins power play when they didn’t score on a five-minute advantage early on, but then they caught a break when Kesler tipped Recchi’s pass in his own net and Ryder got another in garbage time late. Marchand deserves a medal for his short-handed gem to make it 3-0 in the second frame and Paille got another on a turnover to make it 5-0. The PK was perfect. 9.