|06.09.11 at 12:48 am ET|
What the Canucks lack in goals against Tim Thomas, they make up for with talk about him. Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault and his players have had plenty to say about the Boston netminder all series. It started out in Vancouver when Vigneault questioned whether or not Thomas was entitled to ice outside his crease, and whether or not he should be allowed to have a clear path back to the crease. Vigneault said the refs were being too lenient by letting Thomas set up outside his crease, despite the fact that the NHL rulebook says a goalie is allowed to do that.
Then after Game 3, several Canucks players questioned whether or not Thomas’ check on Henrik Sedin was legal. The complaints about Thomas wandering from his crease continued as well.
So it should come as no surprise that the Canucks once again chimed in on what Thomas can and can’t do after Wednesday’s Game 4. This time the grievances were the result of a scrum late in the third. Alexandre Burrows slashed Thomas’ stick and leg while the Canucks were on the power play, so Thomas slashed him back. Burrows responded with a cross-check on Thomas and a scrum ensued.
Henrik Sedin, however, either didn’t see Burrows’ initial slash or he simply chose to ignore it, because he said after the game that he fully expects the refs to pay more attention to Thomas’ antics next game.
“I’m sure the referees are going to take a look at that and look for it next game,” Sedin said. “It’s not the first time it happened and it’s not going to be the last time. I think the referees are looking at the same tape that we are.
“They’re going to do that for sure. They’re going to look at those tapes and they’re going to see what goes on with [Zdeno] Chara and Thomas in front, and they’re going to have to call those. It’s not going to continue.”
When asked to respond to everything the Canucks are saying about him, Thomas said he’s not worried about what they’re saying.
“I don’t think it was ever an issue to begin with,” Thomas said. “I think it was made an issue by the people that were talking about it. But in reality, it was never an issue.”
As for his slash of Burrows Wednesday night, Thomas offered a drastically different account than that of Sedin. Thomas said it was the Canucks who were doing the agitating all night and not getting called for it.
“They’d been getting the butt end of my stick, actually,” Thomas said. “They did it a couple times on the power play in the first period, also. … That was like the third time that [Burrows] hit my butt end on that power play. The game was getting down toward the end, so I thought I’d give him a little love tap and let him know, ‘I know what you’re doing, but I’m not going to let you do it forever.’ “
|06.09.11 at 12:25 am ET|
Horton was declared out for the remainder of the playoffs due to a severe concussion, the result of a blindside hit from Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome Monday. He came in the room after Wednesday’s game to pass on the team’s 1980’s jacket, awarded to the game’s MVP. Horton still had the jacket in his stall because he had scored the game-winning goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals and the team did not want to take it from him. On Wednesday, he came in to give the jacket to Rich Peverley, who scored two goals filling in for Horton on the first line.
“It was pretty emotional,” Peverley said. “Nathan came in, and he’s a big part of this team. Just to be able to see him and know that he’s healthy and safe, that’s very important to us.”
Julien did not tell the team that Horton was in the building, and it was a pleasant surprise for his teammates.
“I didn’t know,” linemate David Krejci said. “It was a good feeling when [Julien] said that Horty was here. It was good to see him smile, telling us he’s feeling OK, he’s feeling much better. It was good to see him.”
The pre-game festivities featured Bobby Orr waving Horton’s No. 18 flag, and as the Bruins built their lead, chants of “Nathan Horton” rang out from the crowd.
“He’s such a good team guy,” Shawn Thornton said of Horton. “He does everything for us and he has all year. Everybody on this team loves him. He makes everybody around him feel better about themselves. I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever met a more positive guy in the room. For him to come in, guys were pretty excited.”
|06.08.11 at 10:57 pm ET|
By DJ Bean and Scott McLaughlin
The Bruins evened the Stanley Cup finals up at two games apiece Wednesday night at TD Garden, chasing Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo on the way to a 4-0 win. Tim Thomas picked up his third shutout of the playoffs.
Rich Peverley, seeing time on the first line with Nathan Horton out for the remainder of the playoffs, had a two-goal night for the Bruins. His second of the night chased Luongo in the third period, making way for Marblehead native and former Boston College goalie Cory Schnieder. Peverley had entered the game with two goals the entire postseason.
As for Thomas, he has now allowed only five goals over his last five games, and one goal over the last two. He took a vicious hack at Alexandre Burrows after the Vancouver winger cross-checked him in the third period. Thomas took a slashing minor for the play.
The pre-game ceremonies were topped off by Bruins legend Bobby Orr waving a No. 18 flag in honor of Horton. With the B’s leading in the third period, chants of “Nathan Horton” filled the arena.
The B’s and Canucks will head to Vancouver for Friday’s Game 5. The teams will return to the Garden for Game 6 on Monday, the last Bruins’ home game of the season.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Claude Julien‘s decision to give both Peverley and Ryder time on the first line in place of Horton paid off. David Krejci gave a nice pass to Peverley in the neutral zone in the first period, and Peverley flew past Raffi Torres en route to beating Luongo on a breakaway. Even following the goal, Ryder continued to see time with Krejci and Milan Lucic. Lucic and Krejci picked up assists on Peverley’s third-period goal, which chased Luongo from the game.
– Marchand was clearly a man on a mission, and for the second straight game, he was able to cash in. No, his second-period goal wasn’t anywhere near as pretty as his shorthanded goal in Game 3, but he certainly displayed a high level of skill and fanciness in putting together sound rushes. He also displayed his signature feistiness, though he needed to be calmed down a couple of times after dives from Henrik Sedin.
– We wrote here after Game 3 that the Bruins did a good job exposing Luongo’s weak glove — three of Monday’s goals beat the netminder high to the glove side. Ryder continued that trend in Game 4 when he snapped off a fluttering shot that Luongo just waved at with the leather. Luongo might’ve been screened a bit by his own defenseman, but it was still a shot he should’ve had. It wasn’t a rocket and it wasn’t a snipe — it was actually only about two feet off the ice. Not every shot high-glove is going to go in, but the Bruins would be well-advised to keep shooting there until Luongo proves he can stop it.
– When it came to his normal role as a third-liner, Ryder got some help from an old friend in Tyler Seguin. The rookie turned in a characteristically timid play in the Canucks’ zone, stopping short of going in the corner and allowing the Canucks to break it out as a result, but made up for it later in the shift by feeding Ryder.
Seguin’s assist was his first point since Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals. The Bruins are going to need both Ryder and Seguin to turn in big performances going forward, and on Wednesday Seguin showed that the good can outweigh the growing pains.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– When Peverley scored with 8:01 left in the first, shots were 7-5 Vancouver. Whether the Bruins eased up a little after the goal or the Canucks just picked up their play, shots for the rest of the period were 5-1 in favor of Vancouver. The Canucks didn’t generate a ton of sustained pressure or long offensive-zone possessions, but they were able to get shots on rushes and force Thomas to make some quality saves. The shot deficit carried over into the second, as Vancouver registered eight of the period’s first nine shots. The Bruins pressured Vancouver’s defense plenty during the first eight minutes of the second — even controlled play at times — but they couldn’t translate it into shots.
-At 16:10 of the first period, Marchand was called for cross-checking Kevin Bieksa. At full speed, it was easy to see why the ref thought it was a penalty, but replay showed that it was a pretty soft call. Bieksa had lost an edge and was already falling to the ice when Marchand barely got his stick on Bieksa’s back. Luckily, it didn’t cost the Bruins thanks to another great penalty kill.
Bieksa later rewrote the book on embellishment when he grabbed his face following a check from Mark Recchi in the third period. He apparently sold it well enough, as Recchi was sent to the box for high-sticking despite not making contact with his face in any way. Yes, Recchi should have controlled his stick better, but that’s a tough break when you don’t commit the infraction.
|06.08.11 at 7:49 pm ET|
The question that has been on everyone mind since Nathan Horton’s season was announced as over was answered Wednesday in warmups. Rich Peverley skated on the first line, meaning is the team’s first option at filling in for Horton on the team’s top line. Tyler Seguin is skating on the third line with Chris Kelly and Michael Ryder.
|06.08.11 at 7:45 pm ET|
Join DJ Bean, Mike Petraglia and many others from TD Garden for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals. The Bruins trail the Canucks, 2-1, in the series.
|06.08.11 at 2:45 pm ET|
ESPN hockey analyst Barry Melrose joined the Mut & Merloni show Wednesday afternoon to talk about the Stanley Cup finals and Wednesday night’s Game 4. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
When asked if he would be sitting with the Green Men at the game, Melrose joked: “I stay away from the Green Men. I can’t even believe they got into the country. I’m a little embarrassed about letting those guys in.”
He added: “We keep al-Qaida out, but we let these two guys in? What’s that all about?”
Melrose said that the finger-taunting in Game 3 has helped made this series an exciting one. However, it may come back to bite Boston in Game 4.
“I think [Alexandre] Burrows should’ve been suspended,” Melrose said. “I said that from Day 1. I think that if he would’ve been suspended that would’ve put away the finger crap. But I like the finger stuff. I thought it was funny. I had some fun with it. It’s interesting. Five years from now when we’re talking about this series, what are we going to talk about? We’re going to be talking about that stuff with the fingers and [Milan] Lucic and Burrows and stuff like that. I have no problem with that. It’s interesting. But, the NHL doesn’t want it.
“Obviously, the referees are going to crack down tonight. They’re going to be reffing very close to their vest. I think that favors Vancouver. Boston’s got to be aggressive. They’ve got to be physical. And the referees are going to be told to call everything, so we might see a lot of penalties tonight.”
|06.08.11 at 2:09 pm ET|
Combine temperatures in the 90s with Tuesday night’s Glee concert and there will naturally be questions about the ice conditions heading into Wednesday night’s Game 4. Players on both sides said the playing surface was a little soft during morning skate, leading to pucks ending up on their edge or taking bad bounces.
Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows didn’t hold back at all when asked about the ice.
“It was terrible this morning,” Burrows said. “And it was sloppy last game. I’m not sure if the concert had anything to do with it.”
Bruins players said it wasn’t quite that bad and that they didn’t expect it to be a huge factor in the game. Rich Peverley said everyone just needs make sure their passes are hard enough to reach their destination, while Johnny Boychuk noted that players will definitely need to take extra care of the puck.
“It’s not too bad,” Boychuk said. “We did it in Tampa Bay, where it’s hot. It’s about the same conditions as that. You just have to play it safe, I think. You can’t really take too many chances, because when you do, it’s probably going to end up in the back of the net.”
Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault also downplayed the impact the ice could have on the game, pointing out that both teams will have to deal with it.
“The ice is the same for both teams,” Vigneault said. “Throughout the season, teams play sometimes on real good ice and sometimes on ice that is not as good. I think it will get better, though, as the day goes on.”
Claude Julien said he didn’t think there were any issues with the ice, and even cracked a joke when asked about it.
“I know I was flying. I don’t know if you guys noticed,” Julien said. “It was very good. They made some adjustments to this building. I think it’s been some great adjustments. To me, the ice looked really good. I think the guys were pretty pleased with it last game as well.”