Welcome to Caps 'Round the Clock, a blog covering the Washington Capitals and the NHL. In season, I update the Blog after every practice and on game day with Caps news and information, and then provide a recap and analysis after each contest. I also write a periodical Prospect Watch and weekly feature pieces on the state of the Men in Red and other things Capitals. And of course, I will post videos and tidbits from around the League and offer my two cents as the season wears on. In the offseason, I write a Report Card for each player, and will keep you updated on all the news about the Caps through the summer. I'm glad you're here, and hope you come back!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Rapid Rewind: All Square

The Boston Bruins evened the Stanley Cup Final at two games apiece tonight, hammering the Vancouver Canucks for the second consecutive game by a final score of 4-0.  Boston got goals from Brad Marchand, Rich Peverley twice, and Michael Ryder in order to help draw even, while Tim Thomas made 37 saves for his third shutout this postseason.  Roberto Luongo was awful, getting pulled in the third period, and for the second game in a row the Canucks looked lost and totally clueless for pretty much the entire game.  It's a real series now, and it's going to be a barnburner.

Both teams got off to solid starts, getting rushes in the early going that both Roberto Luongo and Tim Thomas had to be strong on in order to keep it scoreless.  With five minutes gone, the Vancouver set up a dominant shift in the offensive zone and got many chances at a sprawling Thomas, but simply could not capitalize.  At 6:58, the Canucks were awarded a power play when Michael Ryder tripped Ryan Kesler, but could not capitalize despite good zone pressure on the Boston net.  As soon as they killed the penalty, Boston came at the Canucks full tilt and had Luongo down and out, but somehow the Bruins were not able to put one away.  But Boston finally was able to take the lead at 11:59 when Rich Peverley was sent in on a breakaway by David Krejci and buried it through the legs of Luongo.  The Canucks came back hard, and were given a power play at 16:10 when Brad Marchand was boxed for cross-checking.  However, the Vancouver man advantage was fruitless, and the period ended with Boston ahead 1-0.
Boston came out hard to begin the second period, pressuring Luongo with alot of rubber, but the goaltender was able to absorb those shots and keep the Bruins from taking a 2-0 lead.  As the period continued, the game really opened up, with both teams getting rushes up ice and lots of chances, although Vancouver began to get more shots and than the Bruins.  At 7:49, the Bruins were awarded their first power play of the game when Mason Raymond was penalized for high-sticking, but they were unable to capitalize despite excellent pressure; Luongo made some very nice saves as well.  With 8:49 left in the period, however, Luongo allowed a very weak goal when Michael Ryder walked in and beat him high on the glove side for a 2-0 lead.  The Bruins struck again a little more than two minutes later when with 6:31 left Brad Marchand was left alone in front and roofed a rebound past Luongo to take 3-0 lead.  The Bruins continued to blitz Vancouver after their third goal, but Boston was unable to get a fourth.  With 1:11 left, Vancouver got a power play when Johnny Boychuk shot the puck over the glass, but again Vancouver fired blanks and the period ended with Boston up 3-0 and thoroughly controlling everything.
On the power play to start the third period, the Canucks got nothing going before Henrik Sedin took a slashing call at 52 seconds, giving Boston a man advantage; but the Bruins did not score on the power play.  They did score soon after, however, as Milan Lucic charged into the offensive zone and threw the puck in front, where a driving Rich Peverley knocked it in for a 4-0 lead a 3:39.  As the final frame wore on, the Bruins really began to try and shut the game down, not being overly aggressive and seemingly being content to sit back on their lead. With 10:45 left, the Canucks were given a power play when Mark Recchi was sent off for high-sticking, but Ryan Kesler took a penalty soon after to negate it. Nothing came of the shorthanded ice for either team, and after a lull in the middle of the frame as the Bruins locked things up, fireworks began to fly inside of three minutes remaining as both Brad Marchand and Tim Thomas took shots and Canucks players after being provoked, which lead to melees all over the place. The final 60 seconds ticked off, fight-filled, as Boston took a 2-2 into the locker room.


So who starts game five in goal for the Canucks?  This is a serious question. Luongo's stats are much better on home ice than away ice (he's actually been dominant at Rogers Arena), but he was pretty awful in this game for the most part.  Cory Schneider is young and untested for the most part, but he can play goalie.  He also grew up rooting for...the Bruins?  Weird.

Something is wrong with Ryan Kesler and the Sedins.  After looking very good in games one and two, the Canucks' superstars have fallen off the face of the earth in these two games in the Hub.  I don't know what it is, but if Vancouver has any hope at all of turning this series around and bringing the Cup with them, those three have to be at their best.  Anything less is not good enough; this is the Stanley Cup Final.

I am going to go out on a not-so-brittle limb and say that whoever wins game five will win the Stanley Cup.  The Bruins are roaring right now, and the Canucks have absolutely no answer for them.  Right now, it's ugly, and Boston has all the momentum.  Can Vancouver pull theirselves together?  Don't put your money on it.

Game five is Friday night in Vancouver.

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