COACHING CHANGES TRANSACTIONS POWER POLL DEPTH CHARTS CURRENT ODDS
By Dan Di Sciullo
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The Boston Bruins had many reasons to be upset after losing the first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals.
A dangerous check by Vancouver's Aaron Rome on Boston forward Nathan Horton in the opening minutes of Game 3 didn't make the situation any better, but before long the Bruins were turning their indignation into offense.
Boston managed just two goals total in dropping the first two games of the series in Vancouver, but the B's delivered an abundance of offense on Monday, scoring eight times in front of their hometown fans.
The raucous crowd at TD Garden was not only treated to an 8-1 rout by the hosts, they also witnessed the Canucks and Bruins combine for 145 penalty minutes, an astounding number for a playoff game of any kind, let alone a Stanley Cup Finals contest.
Fifteen of the penalty minutes were for Rome's scary hit on Horton, who had to be wheeled off the ice on a stretcher before being taken to a local hospital. The Vancouver defenseman drilled Horton a few seconds after he had gotten rid of the puck, and although it appeared as though Rome led with his shoulder and not his elbow, the hit did seem to be of the blind-side variety.
It seems a no-brainer that Rome will be suspended, although the Bruins have been down that road before in this series already. After all, common sense suggested that Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows should have received a suspension for biting the finger of Boston's Patrice Bergeron in Game 1.
But, the league opted not to ban Burrows for a single game, and as it turned out the Vancouver pest was the one dishing out punishment in Game 2. Burrows scored twice, including the game-winner 11 seconds into overtime, to lift the Canucks to a 2-0 lead in the series.
That perceived injustice is what caused Boston to play with such a big chip on its shoulder in Game 3 and the Bruins were not about to sit by and wait for the NHL to discipline a player. So, before the league could get its say in the Rome case, Boston's offense came through in a big way in the absence of Horton.
Boston head coach Claude Julien said he talked about Horton to his players in the first intermission and the Bruins clearly had an extra gear to start the second. Andrew Ference scored just 11 seconds into the second period and Boston would hold a 4-0 lead by the end of 40 minutes.
Of course, the Bruins would score four more times in the third and would also use the final period to further express their displeasure with the Canucks.
Most notable was Boston's Milan Lucic's taunting of Burrows for his infamous finger-biting incident. While locked in a scuffle with Burrows, Lucic stuck his finger in the face of Burrows in a mocking attempt to get the Canuck to bite it. Thankfully, Burrows declined Lucic's offer.
Julien had to be happy with his team using frustration to propel themselves to a blowout win in Game 3, but he was less than thrilled with Lucic's antics and his team's overall lack of restraint in the third period. Earlier on Monday, Julien had warned his players to not to let their emotions get the better of them and he was disappointed that the message was not received.
"I don't want that stuff in our game. I think we have to be better than that," said Julien when asked about the Lucic-Burrows incident. "Emotions are running high. It was a very physical game. There was a lot of stuff going on. You can live with that kind of stuff. But the other stuff ... I don't want to see."
The hit on Horton, combined with the lopsided score in the third period, could have led to the Bruins getting carried away with the extracurricular aspects of the game on Monday. Julien was right to take his troops to task for their actions after the whistle because he knows anything that doesn't help your team win is unnecessary this time of the year.
The test for Boston in Game 4 is to hold on to the good parts of its rage. The Bruins' determination in getting to the front of the net and taking punishment resulted in a windfall of goals. Dialing back the intensity at this stage would be dangerous to say the least.
After all, with a chance to tie the series on Wednesday or fall behind 3-1, the Bruins can't afford to play it safe.