The Boston Bruins aim to tie the Stanley Cup Finals with a win over the Canucks.
The Vancouver Canucks know just how much one hit can
change a series.
In Round One of the playoffs, the Canucks had a cushy 3-0
series lead over the Chicago Blackhawks before a dirty hit by Raffi Torres on
Brent Seabrook woke up the Blackhawks. The Canucks were then pushed to the
brink before eliminating the Blackhawks in overtime of Game 7.
In Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals, Aaron Rome lit up
Nathan Horton and now both will miss the rest of the series (due to suspension
and injury). The hit seemed to spark the Bruins, who went on to spank the
Can the Bruins keep momentum on their side and even up
the series or will the Canucks rebound after getting embarrassed?
Canucks Can Win Because…:
They have been in this position multiple times in these
Once again, the Canucks came up with a shoddy effort and
once again, they fired up their opponent with a dirty hit and once again, they
lost a defenseman, which will likely get Keith Ballard out of the press box
But the good news is they’ve lived through and survived
The Canucks fired up the Blackhawks with a big hit but at
the end of the day, they advanced. They’ve been the recipients of some rough efforts
from goaltender Roberto Luongo these playoffs but he’s rebounded just fine and
was even a Conn Smythe Trophy candidate prior to Game 3. And they’ve had to
rely on Ballard before and he’s held his own.
The Canucks had a similarly undisciplined effort in Game
3 against the San Jose Sharks when they took 10 penalties. They rebounded with
a win on the road in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals. They’ll aim for
the same in Game 4 after collecting a total of 70 penalty minutes in Game 3 of
the Stanley Cup finals.
They just need to get back to basics. For starters, they
need to get their power play going, which has not been an advantage for them in
this series as it was supposed to be. Secondly, they just need to keep firing
away at Bruins netminder Tim Thomas because the more they shoot, the more
rebounds and chances they’ll have to score.
Game 3 aside, Boston’s offense has been challenged this
series and now they’ll be without Nathan Horton. It might only take one or two
goals for the Canucks to win this, but they just need to be disciplined, stick
to the game plan and execute.
The Boston Bruins
Can Win Because…:
Momentum is on their side and the Canucks blue line is a
Not only did the Bruins get their offense going in Game
3, they also won’t have to face yet another Canucks defenseman for the rest of
Clearly, the loss of Aaron Rome is not equal to the loss
of Nathan Horton when going on talent alone, but make no bones about it: losing
Rome will be a blow to Vancouver. The Canucks supposedly have plenty of depth
on the blue line but they are already without shutdown defender Dan Hamhuis,
and rumor has it that he’s out for the series, and now Rome is gone too. That
makes a mess of the pairings, which is partially why the Canucks gave up eight
On top of that, Canucks forward Ryan Kesler, who finished
as minus-3 in Game 3, appears to be dealing with a leg injury that has clearly
slowed him down.
In one game, the Bruins have managed to steal the
momentum (a Game 3 victory that I predicted) of the series and with Game 4 at home, a win could really put the heat
on the Canucks when the series shifts back for Game 5.
Even the Bruins power play is clicking, scoring three
times on 13 opportunities in the series while the Canucks unit is just
one-for-16. On top of that, the Canucks power play gave up a pair of
shorthanded goals in Game 3.
Boston needs to keep doing more of the same and this
series could very well be tied up after Game 4.
Outlook & NHL
Game 3 was an aberration and we’re not likely to see
other team runaway with Game 4. Emotions boiled over and tempers flared in Game
3 and both teams’ performance was uncharacteristic.
The NHL odds boards are listing the Bruins as favorites tonight, and if they look like half the team they were in Game 3, this game will easily go in their favor. Craig Tattan has backed the Bruins throughout the NHL playoffs, and his NHL Free pick for the tonight is no different. He feel that the momentum has finally swung, and while it is unlikely to be another blowout, the Bruins should control Game 4.
Vancouver won’t be as sloppy in Game 4 but even so, it
just feels like Boston has arrived in the Cup finals and they won’t be caving
in at home. This is still a must win for Boston and backstopped by a confident
Tim Thomas, look for them to even the series up in a tight affair.