BOSTON – If the Bruins’ 8-1 victory in Game 3 didn’t indicate their dominance, then a rally for an injured teammate did.
At 5:07 of the first period, Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome leveled Nathan Horton with a headshot in the Bruins’ offensive zone. Horton would leave the game on a stretcher and Rome was handed a five-minute major for interference and a game misconduct.
The Bruins didn’t light the lamp on that power play opportunity. But when given the chance to open up the floodgates, they were able to respond in honor of Horton.
“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 then we realized we had to stay with it. The power play at least gave us some momentum and didn’t take it away.”
“It’s always very tough when a guy goes down,” added Bruins forward Brad Marchand. “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.”
Although they were outshot 12-7 in the first period, the Black and Gold seized momentum in the opening moments of the second period when Andrew Ference sneaked a shot from the point past Roberto Luongo just 11 seconds in.
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 also adding two shorthanded tallies from Marchand (at 11:30 of the second) and Daniel Paille (11:38 of the third 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.”
With things getting a little out of hand in the third period – not just on the scoreboard – the Bruins stuck up for each other when things got chippy. The teams combined for 145 penalty minutes in the contest (75 for Boston, 70 for Vancouver) in a period that saw Tim Thomas (40 saves) level Henrik Sedin and Milan Lucic taunt Alex Burrows – taking a page out of Maxim Lapierre’s playbook on Patrice Bergeron in Game 2 – something Julien wasn’t too fond of afterwards.
Nonetheless, Boston took a page out of the Big Bad Bruins playbook from the 1970’s 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.”
It’s safe to say on this night that the Bruins executed their game plan for Game 3 and 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 a huge 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.”