By Brian Willwerth
The Bruins lost one of their star players just five minutes into Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals. They emphatically made sure they would not lose the game on their home ice.
Boston’s offense erupted in an 8-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks Monday night at TD Garden. The Bruins cut Vancouver’s lead in the series to 2-1 – a series that’s starting to see bad blood boil over between the two teams.
The play that everyone’s talking about happened five minutes into the game. Aaron Rome leveled Nathan Horton near the blue line. Horton was down on the ice for several minutes, and had to be helped off the ice on a stretcher. Rome got a major penalty for interference, and a game misconduct. Horton ended up in the hospital. Word came near the end of the first period that he did have movement in all of his extremities.
The Bruins and their fans viewed that as a cheap shot. And did it ever fire up the home team.
The Bruins scored the first goal of the game just eleven seconds into the second period. Andrew Ference’s shot from the point found its way through traffic, and past Roberto Luongo, to give Boston a 1-0 lead.
Four minutes later, the Bruins added to their lead on the power play. Mark Recchi’s pass went off Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler’s stick and past Luongo to make it 2-0.
Then Brad Marchand scored what may have been the prettiest goal of the series. He stole the puck at center-ice, passed it off the boards to himself, broke in on goal and lifted it over a fallen Luongo to give the Bruins a 3-0 lead. And to top it all off, it was a shorthanded goal to boot.
The scoring didn’t stop there. David Krejci picked up the rebound of a Michael Ryder shot and knocked it past Luongo for the Bruins’ fourth goal of the period.
Boston got its second shorthanded goal of the game in the third period, courtesy of Daniel Paille. That made it 5-0. After Jannik Hansen spoiled the shutout, the Bruins scored three more goals within a 1:50 span. Recchi, Chris Kelly and Michael Ryder got into the act during that time.
And then, there was Tim Thomas. He was sensational once again. He stopped 40-of-41 Vancouver shots. Many of his saves were of the spectacular variety. Yes, we’ve said this before about him.
Game 4 is Wednesday night at TD Garden. Will there be any discipline stemming from Rome’s hit on Horton? That’s up to the NHL to decide. One thing is certain: we have ourselves a series.