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Pregame Notebook: Game 5 at Vancouver

by Hannah Becker / Boston Bruins
BOSTON – With two exciting victories under their belt, the Boston Bruins have flown to Vancouver, where they will take on the Canucks in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final.

With Wednesday night’s 4-0 victory, the Bruins evened the series at 2-2, making the Final a best-of-three situation.

The home team has won each of the first four games, but with home-ice advantage in favor of the Canucks, the Bruins will have to take at least one road game to hoist the Cup.

They will look to do that tonight. Game time is 8 p.m.

Thomas, celebrates his shutout with teammate Johnny Boychuk at the end of of game 4 of NHL Stanley Cup Final hockey against the Vancouver Canucks at the TD Garden in Boston on Wednesday, June 8, 2011. The Bruins won the game 4-0 and the series is now tied at 2-2. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward)
Game 4 Recap
Rich Peverley scored twice and Tim Thomas made 38 saves en route to a shutout of the Canucks, as the B’s turned the series into a best-of-three situation. They’ll head back to Vancouver for Game 5 on Friday night.

The B’s got on the board first with a snipe off the stick of Rich Peverley. Peverley blazed through the neutral zone, beat the Canucks defensemen and wristed a shot five-hole through Luongo.

“It was a nice play by Krejci and I tried to gain a lot of speed and I just tried to get a five-hole snuck through,” Peverley said of the goal.

Boston was happy taking a 1-0 lead into the first intermission, but the B’s weren’t done scoring yet. Boston added two more goals in the second period, while still being outshot with a 25-18 shot differential in favor of Vancouver after two.

Clearly, the shots on goal didn’t tell the tale of the game, as the B’s added two more tallies before the first 40 minutes of action were up. Michael Ryder netted the B’s second goal, assisted by linemates Tyler Seguin and Chris Kelly. Ryder’s seventh goal of the postseason came at the 11:11 mark and less than two minutes later, Brad Marchand made it 3-0 with a snipe assisted by Patrice Bergeron.

“Segs just had it wide there and I was just on the other side of the ice and he just happened to see me.  He threw it across and I didn’t have much speed because the puck was just rolling,” Ryder said of his goal.

“I knew I just wanted to get a shot on net.  I think it hit the defenseman’s stick and dipped on [Roberto] Luongo but I’ll take that.”

Peverley added a second goal for good measure in the third and the B’s went up 4-0. The goal off the skate of Peverley just slipped between Roberto Luongo’s skate and the left post, but it was enough for the Bruins to force Luongo out of the game.

Cory Schneider came in to replace Luongo, and kept the Bruins off the board for the remainder of the game.

“I mean a win is a win, a loss is a loss. I don’t put too much thought into how many goals are scored over the course of a couple of days. It’s just a win. Now we have to focus because that’s not an easy barn to win in,” B’s forward Shawn Thornton said.

Horton makes surprise appearance in B’s locker room
When they skated off the ice to the tune of the roaring sold-out TD Garden crowd of 17, 565, the Boston Bruins didn’t think the moment could get any better.

Former Boston Bruins standout defenseman Bobby Orr, left, waves a banner bearing the name and number of current Bruins right wing Nathan Horton before Game 4 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup finals against the Vancouver Canucks, Wednesday, June 8, 2011, in Boston. Horton suffered a concussion from a hit by Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome during the first period of Game 3 on Monday night. (AP Photo/Char
They had just defeated the Vancouver Canucks, 4-0, tying the Stanley Cup Final series at 2-2, outscoring the Canucks 12-1 in the last two games.

But when the B’s players made their way into the locker room, they had a surprise waiting for them that made the entire night just that much better.

Nathan Horton walked into the room.

The injured Bruins forward is going to miss the remainder of the Stanley Cup Finals with a severe concussion he suffered in the opening frame of Game 3 when Canuck defenseman Aaron Rome checked Horton in open ice.

Rome has been suspended four games and Horton has been absent from the Bruins locker room since the hit, and the moment he walked through the curtain was the first time any of his teammates had seen him.

They greeted the always smiling forward with laughter and a round of applause.

“It’s good to see him. It’s good to see him smile. He’s a great guy and friend, so it was good. I can’t describe it. Like I said, he’s a great guy and good friend so it’s really, really, really good to see him,” Horton’s linemate, David Krejci said.

“I was so glad he came.”

In addition to being a fan favorite, Horton is also a hit among his teammates. Horton’s big smile and always-positive attitude keeps things light in the locker room. 

“He’s an unbelievable teammate, he’s so positive, he’s in such a good mood all the time. He makes everyone around him feel better about themselves. Anything we can do for him obviously we are going to try to go,” B’s forward Shawn Thornton said.

Bruins look to stay composed
The penalty minutes have been piling up for both teams in the first four games of the series. The Bruins have been able to capitalize on their special teams opportunities, scoring on both the power play and penalty kill, while minimizing Vancouver’s potent man-advantage.

But with tempers flaring in the wake of the Burrows’ biting incident, Lapierre and Bruins taunting, and Rome’s hit on Horton, it’s important for the Bruins to stay composed and limit their time in the box.

Vancouver’s penalty kill was the best in the league in the regular and postseason and the Canucks are confident they will be able to turn the power play around. While the Bruins penalty kill has been great throughout the season, they don’t want to be giving the Canucks any extra opportunities.

“No, it's not easy to do,” Rich Peverley said of controlling emotions on the ice.  “But you have to know that we've done it before and we've been even keeled and if you want to win, you can't get too hot and you can't get too low and it's part of the whole playoffs.

“It's part of the process of trying to win a championship so we have to do it.”

Emotion can be a good thing, and it has been something the Bruins have been able to feed off of during the postseason. The energy of the crowd is often a key factor in home ice advantage.

The Bruins clearly used the emotions that sprung up after Horton went down in Game 3 to charge themselves up and propel them to an 8-1 win.

The emotions of the playoffs themselves, with the increased intensity, lengthened season, long flights and heightened media attention, are raised.

For many players is helps them keep up their adrenaline going throughout the games, but it can also be a draining experience.

“It's been a lot of ups-and-downs and, you know, you expect that a little bit, but it's been a lot of fun and it's been an opportunity you may never get, so when you're here, you have to relish it and try to take advantage of that opportunity,” said Peverley.

One way for a team to control their emotions is to put events of past days and games behind them. If the Bruins can get through the two-victory hangover and play a simple road game in Vancouver, they could likely return to Boston with a chance to hoist the Cup on home ice.

“I think you have to, especially in playoffs, you know, you have to worry about the next game all the time. You can't get too high, you can't get too low,” said Patrice Bergeron

“We have to bring the same energy we had in the last two games, but that being said we've have to turn the page and get ready for the next one.”
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