On the road again
By Joey Kenward
In search of their fifth win in a row in this year’s playoffs, the Canucks are on the road for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals tonight against the Boston Bruins. The Canucks, who are also riding a five-game home ice winning streak, are going to a city where they have not had a lot of luck in the past. Vancouver’s lifetime record in Boston is 8-38-8.
"It's definitely a pivotal game of the series. It either puts us up with a nice lead or it makes it another series again," said Kevin Bieksa, looking ahead to game 3.
"These guys have showed in the past that they've been able to come back from down 2 and they are capable of it and we know they're going to bring their best game tonight and it's up to us to match that."
Vancouver is not expected to make many, if any, changes to their line-up tonight following their win in Game 2. Manny Malhotra will likely skate again on the fourth line. In his first game back from his eye injury, Malhotra played 7:26 and won six of seven face offs. Dan Hamhuis traveled with the team to Boston, but did not take the pre-game skate this morning.
"Physically I felt a lot better than I thought I would in terms of the bumps and bruises and soreness of in game action again," said Manny Malhotra. "As far as the emotional aspect it was a moment I'll never forget to be in front of Canucks fans and to recive an ovation like that was an incredible feeling."
"As far as the play on ice playing seven and a half minutes I felt it was a good transition into playing again and we did a decent job and kept the game very simple. Vic and Tambo were playing really well and creating some opportunities for us. We've said it since the beginning of playoffs we live and learn from the last game and move on to the next so we're ready for tonight."
The Canucks improved their overtime record in the playoffs to 4-2 on Saturday with their 3-2 victory over the Bruins. Alex Burrows had the winner 11 seconds into the extra frame, which became the fastest overtime goal in Canucks playoff history. The record had been previously held by Colin Campbell, who scored 28 seconds into OT in what was a 4-3 win on the road over the Los Angeles Kings April 18, 1982.
With his overtime winning goal on Saturday, Alex Burrows tied Greg Adams for the Canucks franchise record for most career playoff overtime goals (3). Currently leading the NHL playoffs in first goals (4), Burrows now has three multi-goal games in his playoff career. In all three scenarios, his second goal has been an overtime winner.
After going 0-for-6 on the power play in Game 1, the Canucks went 1-for-2 in Game 2. They lead the NHL playoffs in power play success on the road, having scored 12 times on the man advantage away from Vancouver.
Returing to a building where they’ve gone 7-3 in the playoffs, the Bruins are likely going to make at least one change to their line-up. Shawn Thorton could make his series debut against the Canucks in place of Daniel Paille. Thorton has not played since Game 2 of the Eastern Conference series against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Bruins are 1-26 lifetime when starting off a playoff series having lost the first two games. Their lone series victory when that has occurred came in the first round this year when they rallied to defeat the Montreal Canadiens.
Tim Thomas has given up just four goals against in his last three games. His appearance in Game 2 established a Bruins record for most minutes played in a single playoff year, a record held by Andy Moog since 1990.
"Same as San Jose, Nashville or Chicago, it's not a big difference," said Henrik Sedin, when asked about the playing in Boston. "We've got a lot of big rivals in the western conference and we treated that extremely well and I don't think Boston can be any different. Personally I don't listen to the fans unless we're on home ice. If they're going to be loud that's fine, it's part of hockey and it should be like this."
Boston has failed to win in their last five appearances in the Stanley Cup Finals. In two of those, they were swept in four straight (1988 vs Edmonton and 1977 vs Montreal).