If the Bruins want to steal this Stanley Cup from the Canucks, they're going to have to rip it out of their hands. In the first two games, I didn't think they had the inclination to do that.
In Game 3, the Bruins finally decided they weren't going to go quietly into that good night. They got a couple of good breaks early in the second period and they took off from there. On the night, they were a much more physical bunch. That was long overdue. From here on out, I think we’re in for a fight. Buckle up!
-- I have to think that Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome will get a suspension for his way-late, first-period hit on Bruins right wing Nathan Horton, who left the ice via stretcher. For his play, Rome received a five-minute interference major and a game misconduct. Most importantly, Rome left his team short-handed for most of the game (but more on that in a minute).
Horton was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital. The club reported that he was moving all extremities. That’s terrific news. It will be interesting to see if he can get back into the series. If he can't play in Game 4, I would expect Tyler Seguin to return to the lineup. Seguin, who played in the first two games, was replaced by Shawn Thornton in Game 3.
-- For the second time in three games, the Canucks were forced to play a significant portion of the game with just five defensemen.
In Game 1, Dan Hamhuis left with injury after delivering an early second period hip check to Bruins left wing Milan Lucic. On Monday night, Rome got the boot at the 5:07 mark of the first period. That meant increased minutes for Kevin Bieksa, Christian Ehrhoff and Alex Edler. Wisely, the Bruins took every opportunity to pound the overtaxed Vancouver blue line.
With Rome likely out of Game 4 (probably suspension), I figure Keith Ballard will suit up for his first Cup final game. I wonder if Alain Vigneault also would consider putting defenseman Chris Tanev in the lineup for Andrew Alberts. Vigneault seems to like using Ballard and Tanev as a pair. He did that in the Western Conference final against the Sharks when both Ehrhoff and Rome went down with injury. In that situation, he chose to leave Alberts on the sidelines.
-- For the second straight game, a team that cleanly won a center ice faceoff to begin a period found themselves digging the puck out of their own net 11 seconds later.
The Bruins' second-period onslaught began on just such a play when Alex Edler's stick broke when he went to make a simple pass. That mishap led to a sequence of events that culminated in an Andrew Ference floater finding its way through a crowd of players and into the net.
Sometimes, I guess, it doesn't pay to be so efficient in the faceoff circle.
-- Boston was credited with 40 hits on the night. Andrew Ference led the physical charge with six hits. Tim Thomas even got into the act, drilling Henrik Sedin at the top of his crease in the third period. Thomas finished with one hit and 40 saves.
-- After a strong start, Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo surrendered eight goals in the final 40 minutes. To be honest, I thought he would be pulled after the second period. I guess we'll see how he'll bounce back in Game 4. I wonder if anyone will suggest that he change his style after a bad outing.
-- According to NHL stat guru Greg Inglis, the Bruins' 8-1 win was the most lopsided Cup Final game in 15 years -- to the day! On June 6, 1996, the Avalanche blasted the Panthers by the same 8-1 count.