Inspired Bruins get on track in Game 3

After two heartbreaking losses in Vancouver to open the Stanley Cup Finals, it took a scary moment to get the Boston Bruins back on track Monday in their dominant Game 3 win over the Canucks.

At 5:07 of the first period, Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome leveled Nathan Horton with a headshot in the Bruins’ offensive zone. Horton left the game on a stretcher and Rome was handed a five-minute major for interference and a game misconduct.

The Bruins didn’t score on that power-play opportunity. But when given the chance to open up the floodgates, they were able turn on the offense and win one for Horton, pounding the Canucks 8-1 in a physical contest.

“It’s always very tough when a guy goes down,” Bruins forward Brad Marchand said. “We were very worried about Horty but it just gave us a little extra motivation to win tonight … so hopefully he’s going to recover fine.”

While the immediate power play didn’t go their way, the man advantage did allow the Bruins to find their offensive flow, which paid off in their four-goal second period.

“We talk about the results and didn’t get the results,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said about his team not scoring on the five-minute power play. “But one thing you can’t do is take away our momentum, and it didn’t do that. I didn’t think we were discouraged more than we realized we had to stay with it. The power play at least gave us some momentum and didn’t take it away.”

Although they were outshot 12-7 in the first period, the Bruins took advantage of that momentum in the opening moments of the second when Andrew Ference sneaked a shot from the point past Roberto Luongo just 11 seconds into the period.

“They came at us pretty hard in the first there,” Marchand said. “They always seem to have a good start and we were able to get that goal in the second after a couple of lucky bounces.”

From there the Bruins kept their foot on the pedal and never looked back, going 2 for 4 on the power play — with goals from Mark Recchi (two goals) and Michael Ryder (one goal, two assists) — while adding shorthanded tallies from Marchand (at 11:30 of the second) and Daniel Paille (11:38 of the third period).

“Well, we’re happy to get some goals,” Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said. “It’s good for our confidence and we hope to get another [win].”

With things getting a little out of hand in the third period — and not just on the scoreboard — the Bruins stuck up for each other when things got chippy. The teams combined for 125 penalty minutes in the contest (65 for Boston, 60 for Vancouver) and capped the fireworks in a period that featured Bruins goalie Tim Thomas (40 saves) leveling Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin and Boston’s Milan Lucic taunting Alex Burrows, the Canuck who was caught biting the Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron in Game 1. While the Canucks’ Maxim Lapierre made light of the biting incident in Game 2, Julien didn’t like seeing it from his players.

But nonetheless, Boston took a page out of the Big Bad Bruins playbook from the 1970s by dominating the physical play.

“Obviously we got a little carried away when it was 4-0 and 5-0,” Recchi said. “But we play our best hockey when we play on the edge. We play physical, we’re passionate about it and we get involved.”

The Bruins will look to tie the series in Game 4. And while they’ve had a lot of bonding experiences throughout the season, the Black and Gold can become even closer after this huge, motivational win.

“We knew what this game meant,” captain Zdeno Chara said. “ It was a big game and obviously we approached it that way and I thought we were really sharp mentally and physically.”