The Boston Bruins couldn’t have enjoyed the scenery late
Saturday night while their team bus crawled through the raucous
street party that consumed downtown Vancouver after the Canucks
moved halfway to their first NHL title.
Maybe the Stanley Cup finals’ move to the East Coast will
finally give the Bruins something to celebrate.
With Game 3 looming Monday night at TD Garden after a quick
cross-continent trip Sunday, the Bruins realize the jam they
brought back from Canada isn’t sweet.
Only four teams have rallied from an 0-2 finals deficit in 46
tries. Boston must win four of the next five games to beat the
Canucks, the NHL’s best regular-season team and the winner of seven
of their past eight playoff games.
”We’ll be disappointed, and we’re allowed to be,” said
43-year-old Mark Recchi, who ended an 11-game goal drought with a
power-play score in Game 2. ”But we’ll take a lot of positives out
of these games. When we get off that plane, we’ll forget all about
it. We’ll worry about Monday, and doing our job at home.”
Recchi is right: The Bruins probably shouldn’t spend any time
contemplating the historic depth of their plight.
Boston has rallied from an 0-2 deficit to win a series just once
in 27 tries – although it happened in the first round of this
postseason against Montreal.
”Now is not the time to squeeze your stick and to panic,”
Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron said after the team arrived in
Boston on Sunday afternoon. ”It’s time to go back to what’s been
giving us success. … Squeezing our sticks is not going to help us
at all. We’ve got to go out there, play our game, make sure we play
loose, and at the same time play hard and desperate.”
The Bruins are still smarting from their late struggles in Game
2, in which they lost for just the third time in 41 games this
season when they had a lead after two periods. Vancouver dominated
the third period for the second straight finals game, with Daniel
Sedin tying it midway through before Alex Burrows won it with his
thrilling wraparound goal 11 seconds into overtime.
”We have four lines that go out there and play the same way,”
said Sedin, the NHL scoring champion. ”We get pucks deep. We
forecheck really hard. It wears teams down. It’s been like this the
whole season. It’s nothing new for us. I think when we’re at our
best, we usually have a lot of success in the third period.”
Coach Claude Julien will remind his Bruins that they largely
played well in two one-goal losses. Their defense held the Canucks’
top line scoreless for the first five periods of the series,
bullying Daniel and Henrik Sedin into ineffectiveness.
What’s more, Boston still hasn’t lost a Game 3 in the
postseason, even winning a pressure-packed game at Montreal in the
first round after losing the first two games at home.
”The positive is we basically lost both games by one goal,”
Boston forward David Krejci said. ”That hurts, but we know we’re
in the game and we know we can do it.”
Yet cracks already have appeared on Boston’s surface in the
The Sedin twins’ line broke through for the tying goal in the
third period of Game 2 with a beautiful passing display after
forcing a turnover by workhorse Bruins captain Zdeno Chara.
The same line was on the ice to start overtime – thanks to a
nifty bit of gamesmanship by Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault, who
ordered his top line onto the ice moments before the puck dropped –
when Burrows scooted past Chara, around goalie Tim Thomas and
behind the net for the electrifying winner.
”I thought we took over (with) five minutes left in the second
period,” captain Henrik Sedin said. ”You could see they were
maybe a little bit tired, and that’s when we came hard at
Chara and partner Dennis Seidenberg have played superbly
throughout the postseason, and Chara was on the ice for more than
28 minutes against Vancouver in Game 2. But the Sedins weren’t
alone in thinking Chara appeared to tire as the game went on.
Vancouver is trying to wear out the 6-foot-9 star by sticking to
a strategy of constant physical collisions, even if the Canucks
take the worst of those crashes. By finishing their checks on the
hulking defenseman, the Canucks believe they can wear him – and it
showed in Chara’s numerous misplays and turnovers.
”I guess all of a sudden you lose a game, and now we’re going
to start wondering about certain players,” Julien said in Chara’s
defense. ”I think it’s really about our whole team. It’s not about
Yet Julien already made a move to rest Chara, taking him out of
the slot and putting him back on the point, where he’ll take less
”I don’t think we played very well, to what our standards are
all about,” Julien added. ”I think the decision-making, the puck
management, it’s what’s costing us games. When you turn pucks over
in the neutral zone, this is a team that thrives on it. We know
that they thrive on it, yet we kept turning pucks over in the
If they hope to get back in the finals, the Bruins will need
goals from players who didn’t grow up in the Vancouver area.
British Columbia natives Milan Lucic and Recchi scored in Game 3,
but Boston has just three goals in its last three games going back
to the conference finals.
That’s not enough help for goalie Tim Thomas, who has his own
problems: He was caught too far away from his net on both of the
Canucks’ late goals in Game 2. The Vezina Trophy finalist isn’t
about to change his aggressive style, but the Canucks might have
figured out how to manipulate it to their advantage.
What’s more, Roberto Luongo has been solid for the Canucks,
stopping 64 of the 66 shots he faced. The Olympic gold
medal-winning goalie is two games from his first Stanley Cup title,
but the Canucks’ former captain is determined to keep Vancouver
focused on the work ahead in Boston.
”That’s what playoffs are all about,” Luongo said. ”You don’t
want to get too high after a win and too low after a loss.
”(Game 2) is a big win for us, but you’ve almost immediately
got to put it behind you and start focusing on the next one. We
know going into Boston, it’s not going to be easy. We want to make
sure we’re focusing on the next one, not on what we just