The Boston Bruins are pointing fingers in the Stanley Cup finals, and coach Claude Julien is dismayed.
Article continues below ...
Bruins forwards Mark Recchi and Milan Lucic both taunted the Vancouver Canucks by putting fingers near the mouths of their opponents during Game 3 on Monday night.
Recchi and Lucic disappointed Julien, who said Vancouver’s Maxim Lapierre was ”making a mockery” of the game with a similar taunt in Game 2.
”I don’t want that stuff in our game,” Julien said after the Bruins’ 8-1 victory. ”I think we have to be better than that. Emotions are running high. It was a very physical game. There was a lot of stuff going on. You can live with that kind of stuff, but the other stuff, I don’t want to see.”
This elaborate taunting exchange began with Alex Burrows’ apparent bite on Boston forward Patrice Bergeron’s finger in the series opener. After Burrows escaped suspension, Lapierre taunted Bergeron during a scrum in Game 2 by putting his finger near Bergeron’s mouth, daring him to bite it.
Less than 8 minutes into the first period of Game 3, Recchi skated up to Lapierre after a whistle and put his finger right to Lapierre’s lips for several seconds.
Lucic then dropped his glove and put his finger right at Burrows’ mouth midway through the contentious third period while linesmen separated both players.
”I said this morning that I wouldn’t accept it on our team,” Julien said. ”It happened a couple of times tonight. They’ve been told that I don’t want any of that stuff. You’ve got to live by your words. It was disappointing for me to see that happen after what I said this morning, but part of it is my fault for not bringing it up (enough) to the guys. They did it. Emotions got the better of them.”
HOME SWEET HOME?: The Bruins were home Monday night for the first time in the Stanley Cup finals, but Boston defenseman Andrew Ference wasn’t sure it would be an advantage.
”It’s obviously nice to be in front of your own fans, but I think the stats, especially over the last couple of years, games are up for grabs,” he said. ”It doesn’t matter what building they’re in or whatnot. Obviously, they did a good job in their two games at home. We got to do the same.”
In the first round against Montreal, the road team won the first four games – the Canadiens going up 2-0 in Boston and the Bruins coming back to tie the series in Montreal.
Vancouver won the first two games of its opening series at home against Chicago, but the Blackhawks tied it at 3 before losing Game 7 in Vancouver.
Bruins coach Claude Julien was happy to be home, even though he knows the fans can be rough on his team when it plays poorly.
”We have an opportunity to make it positive by having a good start, giving them a reason to cheer,” Julien said. ”I heard some boos in Vancouver the other night when we started taking the game over. I don’t think Vancouver fans are much different.”
Both teams made the cross-continent flight on Sunday, but the Canucks, who consult with sleep experts, might be able to handle it better.
”We’re more accustomed to traveling than Boston,” Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. ”We’re more accustomed to time zone changes. We’ve done that all year long. Because we travel the most in the NHL, that’s one of the reasons why we try to get a scientific approach to where our guys would have the utmost energy.”
HAMHUIS STILL OUT: Vancouver defenseman Dan Hamhuis missed his second straight game after getting hurt midway through the Stanley Cup finals opener while delivering a check.
He traveled to Boston but was replaced in Game 3 by former Bruins defenseman Andrew Alberts. Hamhuis had one goal and five assists in Vancouver’s first 19 playoff games.
”Because of the injuries that we had throughout the season we used 13 defensemen,” Vigneault said. ”We used quite a few players in our back end that gave them experience. With that experience, they’ve been able to contribute to our team.”
The Canucks could have used Keith Ballard or Christopher Tanev in place of Hamhuis, but ”we feel that Alberts, with his size, with his physicality, is what we need in our lineup right now,” Vigneault said.
CHALLENGING HISTORY: The Boston Bruins must overcome the Vancouver Canucks and history if they’re to come back from a 2-0 deficit in the Stanley Cup finals.
Since the best-of-seven format started in 1939, 32 of 34 teams that won the first two games at home won the Stanley Cup. The 1971 Montreal Canadiens, who beat the Chicago Blackhawks in seven games, and the Pittsburgh Penguins, who came back to defeat the Detroit Red Wings in seven games two years ago, are the only two teams to rebound after dropping the first two games on the road.
The 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and 1966 Montreal Canadiens lost the first two games at home before rallying to win the Cup.
BIG DEAL: One of the most significant events in the Bruins-Canucks connection took place 25 years ago Monday with the trade of Cam Neely to Boston.
Vancouver sent the rugged wing to the Bruins with a first-round draft pick used to take defenseman Glen Wesley for center Barry Pederson. Neely had 344 goals in 525 games for the Bruins before retiring due to injury. Neely, who turned 46 on Monday, is now president of the Bruins.
Several fans showed up at Monday night’s game wearing Neely jerseys from his days with the Canucks, bearing the number 21 and colored brown, yellow and orange
SEGUIN SITS: Rookie Tyler Seguin was out of the Bruins lineup for the first time in the series as Julien chose to go with the much more physical Shawn Thornton, who sat out the previous two games.
Last year at this time, the now 19-year-old Seguin was waiting for the NHL draft. He was chosen by the Bruins with the second overall pick.