|The Patriots converted their two point conversion off the TD.|
The Boston Bruins took game three of the Stanley Cup Final Monday night, smashing the Canucks inside TD Garden by a final score of 8-1 in a rowdy, physical, and classic hockey game. Boston got goals from David Krejci, Chris Kelly, Brad Marchand, Mark Recchi twice, Daniel Paille, Michael Ryder and Andrew Ference during their rout, and Tim Thomas was spectacular in goal once again, making 40 saves on 41 shots. With their win, the Bruins scored four times as many goals in this game as they had in the series so far, and cut the Canucks' lead in the series to 2-1.
The Bruins came out hard in the opening 30 seconds, generating a chance on Roberto Luongo in front that the goaltender had to be strong on. After some furious back and forth action as the period continued, Nathan Horton was knocked out cold by a cheapshot from Aaron Rome, who was issued a five minute major for interference at 5:07. The Bruins had an unbelievably good power play in terms of pressure, but were denied by the brilliance of Roberto Luongo at least four times to keep the game scoreless. The Canucks were given a power play of their own at 11:41 when Adam McQuaid sent the puck over the glass, but they, too could not score to take the lead. As the opening frame began to wind down, both teams began to try and break the ice with some rushes up ice, and this time it was Thomas' turn to make two amazing saves on Mason Raymond after he ended up alone in front. After a furious end to the period, the period ended tied at 0.
The Bruins got off to a great start in the second as well, opening the scoring 11 seconds in when Boston took advantage of a broken Vancouver defenseman's stick and Andrew Ference floated one past Luongo. The Bruins kept pressing and were awarded another power play at 2:42 when Jeff Tambellini was boxed for hooking, and took a 2-0 lead when Mark Recchi finished some beautiful passing in front at 4:22. At 6:22, the Canucks were awarded a power play when Ference dumped Alex Burrows, but Vancouver, though they got many chances of their own, could not beat Thomas. The middle frame continued at a breakneck pace, with both teams getting amazing chances, but the Bruins were whistled for another infraction at 10:30 when Milan Lucic was sent off for slashing, but Brad Marchand scored a shorthanded goal at 11:40 to extend the lead to 3-0. At 15:47, the Bruins scored again when David Krejci put a rebound past Luongo, sending TD Garden into a state of absolute bedlam. Johnny Boychuk was called for high-sticking at 17:36 for 4-minute Canucks power play, but they could not get anything done before the end of the period and the frame closed with Boston ahead 4-0.
On the power play to open the final frame, Vancouver was not able to capitalize, but were given another man advantage at 2:50 when Michael Ryder was called for roughing. Again, the Canucks' power play fired blanks, and the Bruins slowly began to try and shut the game down. The away side would not go quietly, however, and fireworks began to fly as hits were thrown all over the place and Shawn Thornton was given a misconduct and a minor penalty at 7:58 for another Canucks power play. But after a fruitless minute, Ryan Kesler was called for roughing to set up four on four. No goals were scored with the teams down a man, but fireworks ensued all over the place with fights and misconducts; despite this Dan Paille scored another goal at 11:51, this one of the shorthanded variety, to go up 5-0. Vancouver cut the lead to 5-1 with 6:07 to go, but Mark Recchi made the lead 6-1 soon after and then Chris Kelly added another with a little over a minute to go, and then Michael Ryder made it 8-1 with 45 seconds left. And that was that.
Well, it's a series now. The Bruins came back with a vengeance tonight, taking no prisoners and showing the Canucks the grit that got them to the Cup final. They outhit the Canucks, outskated them, and were just plain dominating from the start. Heck, they even scored on the power play. If Boston can win game four, there is a very good chance they bring home Lord Stanley's cup.
Aaron Rome will likely be suspended for his awful, dirty hit on Nathan Horton, as he should be. But the real story is Horton, and how the Bruins will react to potentially missing their best winger for the rest of the final with a concussion. It's one thing to come back and break out offensively riding the momentum and the energy of losing a top player during the game; it's something totally different to do it if he doesn't even suit up.
This series is getting so chippy it's not even funny; there were 125 penalty minutes tonight. Both teams are slashing, hooking, tripping, biting, taunting, and chirping like a beer league game, and I love it. This is what hockey is all about. This is how great rivalries are born, even across conferences. This final has had it all so far: great goaltending, huge hits, scoring, pace. I'm on the edge of my seat.
Game four is Wednesday night in Boston.