A pivotal point in this year's Stanley Cup Final has arrived.
The Boston Bruins return home to the TD Garden for Monday night's Game 3 in dire need of a victory. If they can defeat the Vancouver Canucks in their first Cup Final home game in 21 years, they'll breathe new life back into their playoff run and the talk will shift to whether they can pull off their second comeback from a 2-0 series deficit, after turning the tables on Montreal in the opening round.
However, a victory by the Canucks on Monday and the Cup will be in the house for Game 4 on Wednesday, as Vancouver will be one win away from its first-ever championship, as well as ending an 18-year drought for Canadian teams. Of course, the Canucks almost let a 3-0 lead slip away in the first round against Chicago, but a 3-0 lead would mean the series was as wrapped up as it could be without actually being over.
As we count down the hours to puck drop, here is your daily NHL.com Reading List, a set of quick links to some of the stories you won't want to miss:
Surviving the grind
Travelling across North America isn’t always the easiest. Having to sandwich five-hour plane rides in between Stanley Cup Final games only makes the task more difficult. With 2,504 miles separating Vancouver and Boston, this year’s Final boasts the longest distance between two cities. Emily Kaplan examines how the long-distance travel is affecting both the Canucks and Bruins when attempting to bring home Lord Stanley’s Cup.
Malhotra's miraculous recovery
After being struck in the eye by a puck March 16, Vancouver's Manny Malhotra's availability for the playoffs seemed doubtful. A deep run by the Canucks however, gave Malhotra enough time to recover and allowed him to return to the lineup for Game 2, Saturday night. Dhiren Mahiban notes that Canucks coach Alain Vigneault was able to take full advantage of Malhotra's superb faceoff ability and defensive prowess.
Pair of near-misses for Bruins
Both Games 1 and 2 were highly contested battles in which Vancouver was able to get a late goal and sneak out with a win. Corey Masisak takes a look at how each of the game-winning-goals could be seen as self-inflicted wounds by the Bruins that could have been avoided and as a result, changed the entire dynamic of the Stanley Cup Final.
Luongo looks like No. 1
The most important player on the ice is almost always the goaltender. It's no secret that the key to the success of both the Canucks and the Bruins has been the man between the pipes. Justin Goldman believes that not only does he have a 2-0 series lead, but that Vancouver's Roberto Luongo currently looks like the more difficult man to beat over Boston's Tim Thomas.
B's still believe it's a series
Only twice in the last 27 opportunities has a team down 2-0 in the Stanley Cup Final come back to win the series. The Bruins currently find themselves in the same predicament, but as Corey Masisak explains, this is a Bruins team that knows this series isn't even close to being over yet.