Thursday, June 9, 2011
Well folks, we got a series now
Since Nathan Horton got knocked out in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals (by a vicious cheap shot by Aaron Rome), the Boston Bruins have outscored the Vancouver Canucks 12-1 and most importantly, they've gone from life support to having all the momentum in the world with a 2-2 series tie heading back to Vancouver.
The B's closed out an extremely memorable two games at the TD Garden with a 4-0 win last night in Game 4 that was every bit as impressive as their 8-1 Game 3 ass kicking. One had to wonder if Boston could carry over the emotional response to Horton's injury. Now, I think everyone has to question whether Vancouver has the balls to not only fight back in this series but avoid choking away a 2-0 series lead.
Perhaps nothing signifies the tenor of this series than the two starting goaltenders. Tim Thomas of the Bruins has been dumped on his whole life and now in the biggest stage of his career, he's showing why he's undoubtedly the NHL's best. On the other end of the rink, we had all heard that Roberto Luongo was the outstanding player that somehow usually screws things up (minus the 2010 Olympics, but Canada was a wagon).
Thomas made 38 saves in Game 4 for his fourth career playoff shutout and the third of this magical run. Luongo had 16 saves and he was mercifully pulled in the third period in favor of Marblehead, MA native Cory Schneider (9 saves) by his asleep at the wheel coach Alain Vigneault. Hey, it only came one game too late (since Luongo was left to give up all eight goals in Game 3). As Ryan said, there's no doubt that Louie will be back in there tomorrow night, but yeah, good luck with that. Dude must have the confidence of an ugly porn star at this juncture.
Like every championship team in any sport, Claude Julien and the Bruins can do no wrong right now. Rich Peverley and Michael Ryder picked up the slack on the first line with Horton out and both responded in a big way. Peverley scored twice (his third and fourth of the playoffs) and Ryder (seventh of the playoffs) had another tally.
Brad Marchand continued to be a lovable rat, getting in the Sedin sisters' faces and not backing down from any of the other fake tough guys on the Canucks. Marchand scored the other goal (his eighth of the playoffs, tying a Bruins rookie record).
Peverley opened the scoring with a wrist shot right through Luongo's huge five hole at 11:59 of the first period. David Krejci started the play with a slick one-handed pass while Zdeno Chara had the other assist.
Ryder's goal at 11:11 of the second period was further proof that Luongo was a puddle. It was a long wrist shot that was just slightly tipped by Sami Salo's stick. It went right under Luongo's glove hand. Tyler Seguin and Chris Kelly had the assists.
Marchmont ended it with a backhander following some top-notch work behind Vancouver's net by Patrice Bergeron. Again, another shot that Luongo could have stopped if he was on his game.
Finally, Peverley put in his second at 3:39 of the third period after a sweet move by Lucic that left Kevin Bieksa looking for his jock strap. Lucic threw it at the net (he had a great game by the way) and it ricocheted off Peverley's body. The perfect goal for such a hard-working, versatile guy.
For the Bruins to win the Stanley Cup for the first time in 39 years, they'll have to win a game in Vancouver. Why not Game 5? Get a lead, continue to bury Luongo and I think this is over on Monday in Boston. However, let's not get ahead of ourselves though. This series is far from over and the B's know that. Tomorrow is the third consecutive huge game and the Canucks play great at home.