Cup Finals: Game 3 Thoughts/Game 4 Preview
Wednesday, 06.08.2011 / 1:43 PM
And suddenly it’s a series…
Game Three was exactly the kind of in-your-face hockey the Bruins needed to play to convince everyone – including itself – that this will be a grind and not a sweep. The loss of Nathan Horton seemed to provide a rallying cry for the team and they really took out their aggression on Roberto Luongo, scoring eight times and no doubt inviting questions for the Canucks goaltender that he had hoped to not face. Will he melt down again, as he did in the Chicago series for two straight games and did last year when the Canucks were eliminated against those same Hawks? Or will he bounce back strong?
On top of that you have to look at Vancouver’s (lack of) response to Boston’s physical game. It seemed to me the Canucks were sitting back, waiting for some sort of retribution at any moment. Of course, Boston’s revenge came in the form of eight goals, but I swear that the threat of things just exploding at any moment rattled the Canucks. Even the usual bangers for the Canucks like Torres and Lapierre didn’t have as much of an impact in that style game as I expected. So perhaps if you’re Boston, you have to say to yourself “this is how we beat them”. The Canucks have shown that certain players have a tendency to disappear when played physically.
Finally, the question looms for the Canucks about missing defensemen and for Boston about losing its second-leading scorer in Horton. With Hamhuis likely out again tonight and Rome gone for the duration, Vancouver’s D has a tall order ahead of it. They must handle what looks to be increasing forecheck pressure from Boston and move pucks even faster. Boston will look to Mark Recchi to continue his savvy veteran play to help lead the team to victory.
Keys for Boston:
• Keep the physical play at a maximum.
• Focus on continuing to rattle Ryan Kesler.
• C’mon power play!
Keys for Vancouver
• Luongo must step up tonight.
• Bangers have to help control the tempo and aggression in the game.
• Burrows, Kesler, and Raymond must mix it up and produce as well.
That’s it for now, but as always – keep your stick on the ice!