Published June 9, 2011
Backed by the stellar goaltending of Tim Thomas, the Boston Bruins came back to Boston, held serve and won — no, destroyed — Roberto Luongo and the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals Wednesday.
The series is now tied at two and headed back to Vancouver, where a fan-packed Rogers Stadium erupted with cheers when — after Rich Peverley scored his second goal of the evening — Canucks coach Alain Vigneault waved the white flag for Luongo and removed him from the game.
The Canucks tried to take their cue from their coach and get in the “blue paint” and disrupt Thomas’ aggressiveness. They had no chance, as Thomas was his feisty self and his teammates would have none of it. The Canucks had two power plays in the first period, which the Bruins killed off with more spectacular goaltending, while the Bruins had a good advantage in puck possession, but only seven shots. But one of those shots was on a Peverley breakaway and thus the beginning of the end for Luongo and the fight-less hockey team from the Great Northwest.
It has been Bruins hockey since their return to Boston, as they have fought and clawed and broken down the Canucks, outscoring them 12-1 in two games at the Garden.
Synchronicity or coincidence, I’m not sure, but Monday, Cam Neely was the honorary captain, and on Wednesday night, it was the Great Robert Gordon Orr. Monday, the Bruins scored eight goals, Wednesday night they scored four. You tell me!
These games in Boston were about: the Bruins playing their game, not letting Vancouver get their speed going, being extremely physical, finishing checks, Tim Thomas not letting a BB behind him, going to the net, and putting quality scoring opportunities on Luongo — who is in one those spells where he couldn’t stop a beach ball. The Canucks’ problems were mostly defense, but a lot of them had to do with being outworked and outsmarted by the Bruins, who had a lot more going for them than just goaltending.
In the first two games the Bruins weren’t outworked, they just seemed tired halfway through the games, since there were coming off a hard-fought, seven-game Eastern Conference final series.
Coach Claude Julien was asked what kind of carryover can be brought out west. Julien’s thoughts: stay the course, bring our game with us. Simple as that. We have to bring our game; it has to continue in Vancouver. It doesn’t matter where you are, you got to play the same way, whether you’re at home or on the road.
Now the Bruins need to show that they can continue this type of hockey away from the friendly confines of the TD Garden and their fans.
We are now promised a Game 6 and it will be an elimination game and the Stanley Cup trophy will be in Boston. I will stop right there because I still haven’t been able to let myself go there. But just imagine!