|Bruins-Canucks Game 4 preview: 4 keys, stats and players to watch||06.08.11 at 2:20 am ET|
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.
– 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.
|Jeremy Roenick on The Big Show: Vancouver is now the villian||06.07.11 at 6:25 pm ET|
A day after the Bruins’ convincing victory in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals, former NHL pro and current Versus analyst Jeremy Roenick was a guest on The Big Show to discuss the changing momentum in the series.
“I truly believe that [the Bruins] can, and they will tie this thing up 2-2 by the end of [Wednesday] night,” Roenick said. “A message was sent by the Boston Bruins by Denis Seidenberg, by Milan Lucic, by some of the guys that needed to make a statement last night: if you guys want to play like this, we are all in.”
Roenick also shared his thoughts on the perception of the Bruins’ opponents. “The Vancouver Canucks are now the villain in the United States. They are the villain because of the way they played, because of [Alex] Burrows, because of [Aaron] Rome.” Burrows bit Patrice Bergeron‘s finger in Game 1, and Rome was given a five game suspension Tuesday after his hit on Nathan Horton in Game 3.
|Report: Further finger-work will be penalized||06.07.11 at 4:11 pm ET|
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.
|Milan Lucic says Vancouver fans harassed his family at Game 1||06.07.11 at 2:37 pm ET|
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.”
|Mike Murphy hopes to do away with post-Alexandre Burrows finger ‘crap’||06.07.11 at 2:00 pm ET|
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.
“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.”
|Nathan Horton done for playoffs with severe concussion||06.07.11 at 10:25 am ET|
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.
|Steve Levy: ‘Concern’ in Vancouver locker room||06.07.11 at 10:21 am ET|
ESPN personality Steve Levy joined the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning after covering Monday night’s Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals for the cable sports network, and the Sportscenter anchor had lots of praise for the goings on at the TD Garden.
‘That was unbelievable,’ Levy said. ‘The first two games were also thrilling, but last night had everything. The energy in the building was also terrific. We were also in town for Game 7 of the conference final against Tampa and we thought that was unbelievable. Last night topped that. It was really a special all-around night, except for the hit.’
However, it was mostly a special all-around night for the Bruins and their fans. After the crushing 8-1 loss to their Eastern Conference foes, the Canucks looked certainly uneasy, according to Levy.
‘I think there’s some concern, there’s no question,’ he said. ‘I think immediately afterwards there was concern. I think the first two games you saw one-goal games that really could have gone either way, but Vancouver was a whole lot more confident going into last night than they were going into it than coming out of it, no question.’ Read the rest of this entry »