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Alain Vigneault still unhappy with Tim Thomas, talks to league 06.08.11 at 12:38 pm ET
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Canucks coach Alain Vigneault expressed frustration with Bruins’ goaltender Tim Thomas Wednesday, saying that he has spoken to the NHL about the way Thomas plays outside the crease and initiates contact with players. He also had a problem with Thomas’ hit on Vancouver center Henrik Sedin in the third period of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals, a hit that occurred in the crease.

“We’ve asked the league, obviously,” Vigneault said. “Part of Thomas’ way of playing is playing out of the blue paint, initiating contact, roaming out there. He seems to think that once he’s out, he’s set and makes the save, that he can go directly back in his net without having anybody behind him. That’s wrong. He’s got the wrong rule on that.

“If we’re behind him, then that’s our ice. We’re allowed to stay there. We’ve talked to the NHL about that. We’ve talked to the NHL about him initiating contact, like he did on Hank, and they’re aware of it. Hopefully they’re going to handle it.”

Vigneault had also complained about Thomas after Game 1, in which Thomas drew a tripping call on Canucks winger Alexandre Burrows.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Alain Vigneault, Alexandre Burrows, Henrik Sedin
Bruins-Canucks Game 4 preview: 4 keys, stats and players to watch 06.08.11 at 2:20 am ET
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The Bruins, coming off an 8-1 win over the Canucks in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals, have a chance to tie the series up Wednesday in Boston. Thus far in the playoffs, the Bruins have followed up their first win of a series with another one the next day. Here is a preview of Game 4:

FOUR THINGS THE BRUINS NEED TO DO

Figure out life after Nathan Horton, and fast: At the very least, David Krejci and Milan Lucic will be playing with someone they haven’€™t played with much this season, so they’€™ll need to click fast. Michael Ryder and Rich Peverley seem to be the best options.

Beat them physically, but watch out: The refs are going to be on extra lookout for extra curricular stuff. The Canucks might want to entice the Bruins, but the B’€™s have to keep in mind that the other guys aren’€™t interested in fighting as much as they are in drawing penalties. As for the finger stuff, there probably aren’€™t many players who want to be the one that ends up costing his team a goal because he stuck his fingers in another players’€™ mouth.

Keep the pedal to the metal on the power play: The Bruins have now scored power play goals in back-to-back games for just he second time this postseason. The other time occurred in Games 3 and 4 of the conference semifinals vs. the Flyers.

Treat it as a must-win: The Bruins can either tie the series or end up going to Vancouver down three games to one. It would be hard to imagine the B’€™s overcoming such a deficit, so the level of desperation has to be high on Wednesday night.

FOUR STATS

– The Canucks outshot the Bruins, 41-38, in Game 3. The B’€™s are now 10-4 in games in which they’€™ve been outshot. They had a 6-0 mark in such games through the first two rounds, and have gone 4-4 when being outshot the last two rounds.

- Tim Thomas allowed five goals in the team’€™s Game 6 loss to the Lightning. Since then, he’€™s allowed five goals over four games.

– Former Boston College and Bruins defenseman Andrew Alberts has had a negative rating in four of the five games he’€™s played this postseason. The 16:28 he played in Game 3 made for a postseason high. Part of that is a result of the team having five defensemen for all but five minutes of the game.

- Chris Kelly‘€™s goal in Game 3 was his first since removing the full cage from his helmet. Kelly had four goals while wearing the cage, but had gone 11 straight games without a goal, nine of which were cageless. Now, the curse of the cageless Kelly can be laid to rest.

FOUR PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON

Tyler Seguin: The rookie hasn’€™t registered a point since Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals, and he hasn’€™t played particularly well since Game 3 of that series. Now his scoring ability is more of a need for the Bruins than a luxury with Horton out.

Roberto Luongo: Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault didn’€™t want to pull Luongo, and Luongo didn’€™t want his coach to pull him on a night in which the floodgates opened wide. Now it’€™s a matter of how he bounces back. There’€™s no history to guide this one, as he had never allowed eight goals before, and the only time in which he allowed seven was Game 6 against the Blackhawks last year in the second round, a contest in which Vancouver was eliminated.

Henrik and Daniel Sedin: It has to have dawned on the Sedin twins that they haven’€™t been their dominant selves this series. Aside from a two-point performance in Game 2 from Daniel, the Sedin twins have been kept off the scoring sheet. Daniel has an even rating this series, while Henrik has only a minus-1 rating and a big hit from Thomas in Game 3 to show for himself.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Andrew Alberts, David Krejci, Milan Lucic
Report: Further finger-work will be penalized 06.07.11 at 4:11 pm ET
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According to a report from ESPN.com, NHL vice president Mike Murphy has told both the Bruins and Canucks that from Game 4 onward, any player waving their fingers or putting their fingers in the mouths of other players will recieve a two-minute penalty and 10-minute misconduct.

Players have taken to the aformentioned actions in wake of Alexandre Burrows biting Patrice Bergeron. The Bruins’ center was facewashing the Canucks’ winger when Burrows bit his finger, and since players have gestured to one another with their fingers. Defenseman Adam McQuaid got in Burrows’ face in Game 2 and asked “are you going to bite me?” and Maxim Lapierre, Milan Lucic and Mark Recchi have since waved their fingers at other players.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Stanley Cup Finals,
Milan Lucic says Vancouver fans harassed his family at Game 1 06.07.11 at 2:37 pm ET
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Milan Lucic has been the man of the hour throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs, as he hails from Vancouver and plays for the Bruins. He had plenty of family in attendance for the first two games of the series at Rogers Arena, but when asked Tuesday to address the rowdiness of Boston fans, noted that his family had a tough time in Vancouver.

A Vancouver reporter asked Lucic about the way Boston fans treat out-of-towners, saying that Vancouver natives had phoned his station saying they were verbally abused, among other things, by Bostonians after Game 3.

“It’s funny they say that,” a suddenly fired-up Lucic began, “because I remember after Game 1, people in Vancouver throwing popcorn and peanuts at my grandparents. That’s almost as low as it gets as that goes. They’re my grandparents. They’re in their sixties. If there is anyone you should show respect to, it’s them.

“Also, my uncle and his uncle, [fans] were pouring beers on their seats in Vancouver. There’s no difference between the two cities. I said it before the series started: they’re two really passionate [fanbases], they’re really into their teams, and there’s nothing more that Boston fans want than for us to win and there’s nothing more than Vancouver wants than for their team to win.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Milan Lucic, Stanley Cup Finals,
Mike Murphy hopes to do away with post-Alexandre Burrows finger ‘crap’ 06.07.11 at 2:00 pm ET
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NHL vice president of hockey operations Mike Murphy met with the media Tuesday at Walter Brown Arena to discuss the league’s disciplinary actions in the Stanley Cup finals. Murphy suspended Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome for four games due to a late hit that ended Nathan Horton‘s series, something he viewed as a bad situation for the game given that the finals lost two players.

While Murphy’s decision on Rome has been well-received by people throughout the game, the league has been under heat since electing to not suspend Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows for biting Patrice Bergeron in Game 1. Since then, Burrows factored into all three Canucks’ goals in a Vancouver win in Game 2, while players from both teams have waved their fingers at one another and stuck their fingers in one another’s mouths, mocking the play on which Bergeron cut his finger and had to receive a tetanus shot.

Murphy said Tuesday that his intention is for such actions, for which Mark Recchi and Milan Lucic were criticized by Claude Julien, to stop.

“We made the right decision on Alex Burrows,” Murphy said. “We spoke with Alex, but I’m not here to speak about that. I dealt with that. We’ve moved on past that.

“We will deal with the issues of the series, the choppiness that’s gone on. [Senior vice president of hockey operations] Kris King is in charge of the series. We’ve addressed it. We’ve addressed it with the teams as early as this morning. I will be speaking with both general managers and coaches before the day is over about the crap that we’re seeing and the garbage that’s going on and some of the issues.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Aaron Rome, Alexandre Burrows, Claude Julien
Nathan Horton done for playoffs with severe concussion 06.07.11 at 10:25 am ET
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The Bruins announced Tuesday morning that first-line right wing Nathan Horton is out for the remainder of the Stanley Cup finals due to a severe concussion. Horton left Monday’s 8-1 Bruins’ Game 3 win in the first period on a stretcher after taking a blindside hit to the head from Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome.

Horton had 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in 21 postseason games prior to the hit, though he did not have a point in the Stanley Cup finals. He totaled 26 goals and 27 assists for 53 points in the regular season.

With Horton out, the Bruins will likely turn to Michael Ryder on the first line, with Tyler Seguin re-entering the lineup on the team’s third line with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Aaron Rome, Nathan Horton, Stanley Cup Finals
Bruins explode past Canucks in Game 3 win 06.06.11 at 11:02 pm ET
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The Stanley Cup finals finally saw one team win a game convincingly, and the Bruins were on the right side of it as they crushed the Canucks, 8-1, in Game 3 Monday night at the TD Garden. Boston now trails Vancouver, 2-1, in the best-of-seven series.

The Bruins got goals from Andrew Ference, Mark Recchi (two), Brad Marchand, David Krejci, Daniel Paille, Chris Kelly and Michael Ryder, with the first four coming in the second period and the B’s beating Roberto Luongo four more times in the third. Luongo remained in the game the whole way despite allowing a career-high eight goals.

Both Marchand and Paille scored shorthanded goals, while Recchi’s first of the night was his second power-play tally in as many games, Krejci now leads the NHL in postseason goals with 11. Jannik Hansen scored the Canucks’ only goal, ending a Tim Thomas shutout bid with 6:07 left in regulation.

While it was a big win for the Bruins, the lasting image of the game will be a motionless Nathan Horton lying on the ice at the blueline after taking a blindside hit to the head from Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome. Horton had dished the puck to Milan Lucic seconds earlier and was defenseless when Rome dropped him, causing the back of Horton’s head to hit the ice first. The first-line winger left the game in a stretcher and was transported to Mass General Hospital. The Bruins later issued a statement saying he was able to move his extremities.

Thomas turned in a solid showing, making a number of Canucks’ nights frustrating on 40 saves. Thomas made two huge saves on Mason Raymond in the first period and stopped Chris Higgins on a breakaway in the third period. For all the whining about him not staying in the blue paint, Thomas provided some irony in the third period by leveling Henrik Sedin in the crease.

The teams will play Game 4 at the Garden Wednesday before traveling to Vancouver for Friday’s Game 5.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

– Marchand has shown this postseason that he can go a few games without scoring, but the slumps always end before they hurt the Bruins too badly. This marks the third time in these playoffs that the rookie has gone four games without a goal and scoring the fifth game. His shorthanded goal in the second was a beauty.

– Ference did plenty to bounce back from a costly showing in Game 2. In addition to his goal to put the B’s on the board in the first period, No. 21 registered six hits through the first two periods on Monday. No better way to make people forget a couple of bad moves with the puck Saturday than by turning in a performance like the one Ference gave Monday.

– Before the game, it was easy for some to question Claude Julien‘s decision to sit Tyler Seguin in favor of Shawn Thornton. Thornton made his coach look smart, playing with an edge while not crossing the line. Thornton was flying around the ice and, unsurprisingly, hitting everything that moved. He landed a hit on his first shift of the game that got the crowd on its feet. Then in the second, he blew by Jeff Tambellini on a rush into the zone and drew a hooking call that led to Recchi’s power-play goal.

– We pointed it out when Johnny Boychuk was on the ice for eight straight goals against, so it’s only fair to do the same when it comes to Ryan Kesler knocking off half that in just one period. Kesler was on the ice for all four of the Bruins’ second-period goals, and he tipped Recchi’s pass to Rich Peverley through the five-hole of Luongo before the puck made its way to Peverley. Kesler punched Dennis Seidenberg in the third period when the B’s defenseman was down.

– Recchi scored a power-play goal for the second straight game, further silencing critics who wanted him off the man advantage. Recchi held the puck in the lower right circle before centering a pass for Peverley that deflected off Kesler’s stick and through Luongo’s five-hole. Even if Kesler hadn’t tipped it in, the pass was going straight to Peverley’s blade. It was Recchi’s first two-goal game since Nov. 24 against the Panthers.

– It isn’t really a secret that Luongo can be beaten high to the glove side, but the Bruins hadn’t been able to test him there much in Games 1 and 2. They did in Game 3, though. Ference’s goal knuckled right by Luongo’s glove as the netminder had trouble reading it. Later in the second, Krejci beat Luongo high-glove, too, when he buried the rebound of a Michael Ryder shot. Marchand also beat Luongo high, but the goalie was already down on that one thanks to Marchand’s patience.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

– If Rome wanted to remind people exactly what Rule 48 is, he should have just recited it in pre-game media availability. Horton is the last player who would be on the deserving end of such a dirty hit, as the 26-year-old winger plays a tough style without crossing the line. If Rome isn’t suspended for the remainder of the series, the NHL will be opening its doors for criticism even further.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Stanley Cup Finals,
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