Monday, June 13, 2011

Game 4 Final - Bruins 4 Vancouver 0

Frustration Reigns for Canucks
By Thomas Chace Jr.

June 8, 2011

In a day filled with whining, the Boston Bruins gave the Vancouver Canucks a real reason to cry, all the way home. When the Bruins Zdeno Chara leveled Max Pacioretty earlier this season, Montreal fans called 911 and wanted “Big Z” arrested. Vancouver fans should be calling 911 for several reasons of their own. The Bruins team should be charged with assault the way they have dominated the Canucks in Beantown and they should also file a missing team report.

The Vancouver team complained that Aaron Rome should not have been suspended for his hit on Nathan Horton. They felt it was a clean hit but the NHL felt otherwise, handing Rome a four game suspension, ending his Stanley Cup run.

The Canucks players talked about how bad the ice was in their morning skate. As far as I know both teams play on the same ice surface, even Head Coach Alain Vigneault acknowledged that.

Coach Vigneault did ask the league for help in determining whether or not Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas was playing by the rules as he tends to venture out of his crease in his aggressive style. When Boston General Manager Peter Chiarelli was asked about this, he said he called the league and was told it was a “non-issue.”

Defenseman Kevin Bieksa said today that the Bruins are playing like bullies. He was right. Since Nathan Horton was taken off on a stretcher, the Canucks have shown no interest in standing up for themselves.

After all of that, there was a crucial Game 4 to play. To begin Game 4 the Bruins brought out number 4, Bobby Orr, as their honorary captain for tonight’s game. He stood amongst the crowd and waved a Nathan Horton flag as the huge throng of Bruins fans roared like lions.

Despite the bad blood in this series the officials allowed the teams to play without infractions for almost half the period. Vancouver received the first power play of the night and was shut down again by the excellent penalty killing of the Bruins. Immediately after the kill the Bruins Milan Lucic was stoned by Canucks goaltender, Roberto Luongo. Luongo, who stayed in net for all eight goals on Monday night seemed like he had regained his confidence.

Vancouver tested Thomas at the 1:01 mark but he was not really challenged the rest of the first period. A surprise, as one would expect Vancouver to step up after their drubbing on Monday night in Game 3. Vancouver did not capitalize on the two power play opportunities they had in the period. They have scored only one power play goal in this series.

The first goal of the game was scored by Horton’s replacement, Rich Peverley, at the 11:59 mark and sent the building into a frenzy. The first period ended with Vancouver leading in shots on goal but it didn’t seem that way as Boston skated off with a 1-0 lead.

The Bruins fourth line featuring Greg Campbell, Danny Paille, and Shawn Thornton had two shifts in the first six minutes of period two and hemmed in the Canucks and kept up the Bruins momentum.

Vancouver was clearly frustrated as they continued their futility on the power play, missed passes, committed icing, and were offsides quite often. They were completely out of sorts and at 11:11, Michael Ryder scored to make the score 2-0. This occurred right after the announcement that “Bobby Orr Soars” was named the greatest moment in Stanley Cup history. Several moments later Brad Marchand scored during a 4 on 4 situation for a commanding 3-0 lead, resulting in Coach Vigneault calling a timeout. Marchand beat defenseman Keith Ballard, who was replacing Aaron Rome on the blue line for Vancouver.

Right out of the gate in the third period Henrik Sedin was sent off for an uncharacteristic slashing call, a sure sign of the player’s and team’s frustration. At 3:39, it was Peverley again with a score and the rout was on again. The Bruins crashed the net and burned Bieksa and got goaltender Luongo pulled and took a 4-0 lead. In Boston, the crowd screamed “We Want the Cup”. In Vancouver, 10,000 fans watching the game at Rogers Center cheered the move by Vigneault.

With 7:38 left in the game the sellout crowd chanted “Nathan Horton, Nathan Horton”. A fitting tribute to their first line right wing, who unexpectedly showed up in the Bruins locker room after the game to present the game jacket to his replacement Rich Peverley. How fitting.

The series will head back to Vancouver now for Game 5. The Sedin twins were called “Thelma and Louise” tonight by Versus analyst Mike Milbury. They certainly have a lot to complain about now. Only now they can keep it to themselves on their long flight home.

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