Bruins increase physicality in Game 3

It wasn't a topic of pregame discussion, but rather an unspoken assumption in the Bruins locker room: To be successful in Game 3, Boston would have to be more physical through the entire game.

"We didn't talk about it a ton before the game, but it's just part of our game," Bruins forward Brad Marchand said. "We're a pretty physical team and I thought we played hard [Monday night]. Guess we were more physical [Monday night] than we were last time."

The numbers prove it.

In Game 2, Vancouver and Boston combined for 42 first period hits, with the Bruins keeping pace with the Canucks in a hostile road environment at Rogers Arena.

Yet over the next two periods, Boston only recorded 11 hits while Vancouver tallied 18. The final total for Game 2 had the Canucks out-hitting the Bruins, 40-31.

In Game 3, Boston returned the favor, out-hitting Vancouver, 40-31.

"Last game we came out hitting a lot but then we kind of went off with that," defenseman Tomas Kaberle said. "So our goal tonight was to just stay with it and stay with our game plan and be physical."

Much attention, of course, was paid to Aaron Rome's late hit on Nathan Horton 5:07 into the game. The hit -- assessed as a major penalty and game misconduct -- sent Horton to the hospital and Rome to the locker room for the rest of the game.

Yet even before the play, Boston was out-hitting Vancouver, 7-5. And the Bruins maintained that hard style of play throughout the rest of the game.

"I think once the guys started hitting, we just fed off that and continued hitting," Bruins forward Daniel Paille said. "It's nice to see us finish our checks. We realized that is our game. When we play like that, we are a pretty solid team."

In the regular season, Vancouver ranked 20th in the League with 1791 hits (21.8 hits per game). In the 2011 playoffs, the Canucks upped their physicality, leading all teams with 697 hits -- 33.2 per game.

In comparison, Boston has only averaged 26 hits per game through 21 postseason games.

Yet none of that matters to the Bruins. They're just taking it game-by-game.

"You can't really focus on the stats all the time," Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara said. "It's just one of those things that every night is different. We weren't as physical in the first two games and obviously [Monday night] it's just the feel of the game."