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Tim Thomas shuts out Canucks, Bruins even series

Posted By WEEI On June 8, 2011 @ 10:57 pm In General | No Comments

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.

Michael Ryder and Brad Marchand also scored for the B’s. Both players have scored in consecutive games.

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.


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