After a pair of convincing wins on their home ice, the Boston Bruins are rolling. They’ve outscored the Canucks 12-1 over the last five periods, sending a message they’re no pushover in this series.
They don’t, however, have a lead, as the series is now tied at two games apiece, with the Canucks owning home-ice advantage.
Here to provide some prospective from the Vancouver side of things is Ian Walker of The Vancouver Sun.
NESN.com: Canucks fans reportedly were thrilled when Alain Vigneault finally put Roberto Luongo out of his misery and put in Cory Schneider. The obvious question is, does Vancouver now have a goaltending controversy?
Ian Walker: No. Not at all. Roberto Luongo will most definitely start Game 5. He got them this far and can’t be blamed for all the Canucks’ troubles of late. He will be on a short leash and should he falter badly on Friday, then we could have something to talk about.
NESN.com: The Bruins increased the level of physical play upon returning home, and it was pretty evident that they were able to outmuscle the Canucks. How do the Canucks get back to dictating the style of play in their favor?
Walker: Vancouver needs to use its team speed to its advantage. It also needs to get its power play clicking, which would work as a deterrent for some of the physical play that crosses the line. The Canucks have always maintained theirs is a team toughness, but lately they do seem to be getting bullied by the Bruins.
NESN.com: Most people assumed the absence of Nathan Horton would hurt the Bruins more than the absence of Aaron Rome would hurt the Canucks. With the way Keith Ballard played in Game 4, does that assumption need to be revisited?
Walker: I feel for Keith Ballard. No doubt, he had a nightmare in Game 4. It was probably his worse game as a Canuck. But when you don’t play in a competitive game for weeks at a time and then are thrust onto the biggest stage — with the team around you already a little fragile — it does not bode well for your success. It will be interesting to see what the Canucks do on defense in terms of personnel for Game 5. I wouldn’t be surprised to see rookie Chris Tanev should Dan Hamhuis not be healthy enough to go.
NESN.com: Henrik Sedin registered two shots on goal in Game 4 — his first shots on goal of the series. When will we see Henrik Sedin the Hart Trophy winner in this series?
Walker: No one puts more pressure on himself than Henrik, nor his brother Daniel, for that matter. We’ve seen this before in the playoffs, and Henrik found a way to contribute in other ways. The shots stats are a bit misleading as he prefers to pass, but the Canucks’ offense is definitely struggling and they need their leader to step up.
NESN.com: What were the Canucks saying about the increased level of chippy play late in Game 4, particularly the Brad Marchand and Tim Thomas incidents?
Walker: Obviously, they’d like to see more of the extra-curricular stuff called by the refs, but they seemed more concerned with what they need to be doing rather than focusing on things they don’t control.