Editor’s note: Starting Tuesday, March 24, NESN will re-air memorable games from the Boston Bruins’ Stanley Cup run. Up next is Game 3 of the 2011 Stanley Cup final against the Vancouver Canucks. See the full schedule by clicking here.
The Bruins returned to Boston for Game 3 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final in a troubling 2-0 hole.
But did things ever change in that third game.
The Bruins put an 8-1 walloping on the Canucks to win their first game of the series and really jumpstart a team that had suffered two gut-wrenching losses in Vancouver.
Here are six things you might have forgotten about Game 3, which viewers can watch at 8:30 p.m. ET Thursday night on NESN.
1. It was the Aaron Rome-Nathan Horton game
This certainly was one of the turning points of the series.
During the first period, Horton skated through the neutral zone and zipped a pass to Milan Lucic, and after taking a few more sides, Horton was leveled with a nasty, blindside hit by Aaron Rome that required the winger to be stretchered off the ice after a lengthy delay.
It was n ugly play that forced Horton, who had been one of Boston’s most important players all postseason, to miss the rest of the series, and Rome, in turn, was suspended the remainder of the series.
“I think what I recall is it was a blindside hit that we’ve talked about taking out of the game,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said after the game, via The AP. “That’s my view on it. Let the league take care of it. We’re trying to clean that part of the game out.”
There also was this reaction from Alain Vigneault, which started fine but turned boneheaded real quick.
“I never want to see any player leave in that situation,” Vigneault said. “The hit seemed to be a little bit late. … That was a head-on hit, player looking at his pass. It was a little bit late. I don’t think that’s the hit the league is trying to take out.”
2. Tim Thomas was fantastic
The Bruins ended up not really needing a ton of help from their netminder, but in the event they did, he had them well taken care of.
Thomas turned away 40 shots in the victory, — including two impressive stops on Mason Raymond right on the doorstep. It also was the game he flattened Henrik Sedin after he caught a loose puck right on top of the crease.
3. The score didn’t really get out of hand until the back half of the game
The first period actually ended up finishing scoreless, but the Bruins put four unanswered goals on the Canucks during the second.
Boston added a fifth in the third before Jannik Hansen scored Vancouver’s loan goal of the game, but the hosts really put it away with tallies at 17:39, 18:06 and 19:29.
4.There was an absurd amount of third-period penalty minutes
Ready for this? There were 98 (!!!!) penalty minutes in the third period.
The game had gone off the rails, and 56 of those penalty minutes came during a borderline melee at 11:16 that ultimately ended with Ryan Kesler and Dennis Seidenberg fighting.
When all was said and done, Andrew Ference, Shawn Thornton, Milan Lucic, Seidenberg, Kesler, Kevin Bieksa, Alex Burrows and Daniel Sedin all got 10-minute misconducts at some point in the third period. Fun!
5. Shawn Thornton got back in for the first time in a while
When Tyler Seguin made his playoff debut in Game 1 against the Lightning, it was because Patrice Bergeron was out with a concussion. But Seguin had played so well in Games 1 and 2 that Julien really had no choice but to keep him in the lineup, which forced Thornton out for Games 3 and beyond of the conference final.
But he made his return in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, with Seguin having been a non-factor in the first two games of the series. By bringing Thornton back to the lineup, the merlot line with Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell was reunited.
6. Kevin Bieksa had a great line after the loss
You obviously don’t want to lose by seven goals in the championship round, but credit to Bieksa for having a sense of humor about it after the game.
“Still 2-1 for us. Luckily, we are not playing with an aggregate score,” the defenseman said. “Next game is huge for us, and if we take care of that, we are in a great position. You don’t want to lose 8-1. It’s embarrassing at this time of year.”