In danger of falling into what would have been a devastating 3-0 hole in the Stanley Cup Final, the Bruins rallied for a dominating 8-1 win over the Canucks in Game 3. The eight-goal performance was Boston’s best offensive effort of the postseason, and tied its season high for goals in a game.
The win also came at a price, as Bruins forward Nathan Horton will miss the rest of the series with a concussion after an illegal hit by Vancouver’s Aaron Rome. Rome will also miss the remainder of the series, as he was suspended four games by the league for the hit.
To discuss the hit, the Bruins’ offensive resurgence and more, we are joined by Vancouver Sun hockey writer Ian Walker for this edition of Across Enemy Lines.
NESN.com: What is your opinion of Aaron Rome’s hit on Nathan Horton in the first period of Game 3?
Walker: It’s the type of hit the league is trying to eliminate and there’s no place for it in today’s game. There was almost a full second between the time Horton passed the puck and Rome hit him, giving the defenseman ample time to abort. I only hope Horton is OK. I think the Bruins exacted the best possible revenge by handing the Canucks their worst playoff loss in franchise history.
NESN.com: Do you attribute the Bruins’ 8-1 win in Game 3 more to changes by the Bruins offensively or to poor defense by the Canucks?
Walker: You have to give credit where credit is due. I think the Bruins were buoyed by the Boston faithful and took it to the Canucks from the opening faceoff. The addition of Shawn Thornton to the lineup cannot be underappreciated, and the same goes for the play of Mark Recchi. I also give a lot of credit to the Bruins’ coaching staff for finding some chinks in the Canucks armour.
NESN.com: Roberto Luongo wasn’t his usual stellar self in Game 3. Why do you think this was, and do you think he let up a bit after giving up four goals in the second period?
Walker: First off, I’m surprised Cory Schneider didn’t come into the game once it was out of reach, whether Luongo wanted to stay in or not. Luongo had to be very good in the first period to keep the game scoreless after 20 minutes, but his play over the final 40 minutes was nowhere near good enough. Still, I refuse to blame Luongo solely.
NESN.com: There’s been a lot of gamesmanship by both teams so far in this series, particularly stemming from the Alexandre Burrows biting incident. What did you think of the Bruins’ taunting after insisting that the incident was behind them? Do you expect the bad blood to carry over into Game 4 and beyond?
Walker: I have no problem with the taunting, but Mark Recchi and Milan Lucic‘s actions definitely made their coach look bad by acting in a way Claude Julien said his team would not. I think this series has the potential to get very nasty, if it’s not already.
NESN.com: What do the Canucks need to do to put Game 3 behind them and head back to Vancouver up 3-1 after Game 4?
Walker: They need to treat it just like any other loss. I don’t think a player in the Canucks’ locker room thought they were going to sweep the Bruins, so you learn from your mistakes and move on. Like you said, Vancouver is still up in the series and with a win on Wednesday can put them in a situation to win at home. This is nothing new to Vancouver, either. If you remember, they suffered a 7-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 4 of their opening round series and still prevailed, although in seven games.