The Canucks took it on the chin in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final losing to the Boston Bruins 8-1 Monday night at the TD Garden in Boston; Vancouver now leads the best-of-seven series 2-1.
It was the perfect storm of mishaps for the Canucks, a comedy of errors that led to a franchise post-season record tying eight goals against in the most lopsided Stanley Cup Final game since 1996.
As bad as that sounds, it’s actually a good thing.
If you’re going to lose, lose big and get it out of your system. Of course that’s a slanted view of what played out in front of a rabid Boston crowd, but the players agree.
“I’d rather lose 8-1 than the ways they lost their games,” said Henrik Sedin. “This is not about a goal differential, we got out played, we’ve got to be better, we know that, this can turn in our favour if we turn it the right way and learn something from it.”
While you can guarantee most Vancouver fans have already swept this game under the rug, the Canucks won’t be so quick to forget about it.
“You don’t want to do that in the playoffs,” added Henrik, “you have to look at it and learn something from it.”
According to Daniel Sedin, there is much to learn.
Daniel’s laundry list included passes, helping the defence, breakouts, forechecking, shot selection and power play, all areas that Vancouver struggled in from the start of the second period onward.
After the opening 20 minutes Vancouver and Boston were even at 0-0 with the Canucks having outshot the Bruins 12-7 overall and 7-0 over the second half of the period.
Early in the middle frame, a mere 11 seconds in, Andrew Ference scored the first of five consecutive goals leading into the third period before Jannik Hansen potted the lone Canucks goal with 6:07 remaining.
The Bruins added insult to injury with another three goals in the final 2:11 of regulation to close out just the third Stanley Cup Final game decided by seven goals or more in NHL history.
When the smoke finally cleared, the Bruins scored twice on the power play and added another two goals shorthanded, while the Canucks were 0-for-8 on the powerplay.
As they’ve done all season, the Canucks were calm, cool and collected post-game, saying all the right things in looking ahead to Game 4.
“It’s one thing if you play good and you lose 8-1, then you’re in trouble,” said Daniel.
“We realize that we weren’t good enough in a lot of areas tonight and I can name a lot of them. We just need to be sharper in a lot of areas and we’ll be fine.”
Roberto Luongo was in net for all eight goals against giving up an octuplet for the third time in his NHL career.
Coach Alain Vigneault offered Luongo the option of giving way to Cory Schneider when the Canucks were down 5-0 with eight minutes to play in the third period, but Luongo wasn’t having it.
“I didn’t really want to leave the crease,” said Luongo, who finished with 30 saves, shrugging off the eight goals against.
“I’ve been through it a few times in my career, I know what I need to do and I’ll be ready for Game 4.”
And now, Luongo with a look at the bright side.
“It doesn’t matter how you lose in the playoffs, they’re all tough to take, but at the end of the day we have to realize that we’re up 2-1 and we have a chance to win the next game and go home 3-1.”
Coach Vigneault on if he was surprised at how the Canucks played in Game 3…
“I really liked our first period. Obviously we had to kill off a five-minute penalty. We did a pretty good job. We had a couple of great scoring chances that, you know, I thought their goaltender made some real good saves on.
“Then the game, you know, shifted in the second. On the first play or the first period we were in the draw, Alex breaks a stick, the puck seems to have eyes and finds the back of the net. Then we lost a little bit of momentum. Then on their powerplay, we put the puck in our own net. Then they scored on our powerplay. Obviously they took the momentum in the second and they kept it.
On bouncing back in Game 4 the way his team did in Round 3…
“In the playoffs, a loss is a loss. You lose in OT or you lose like we did tonight, it's a loss in the loss column. We're going to take tomorrow to analyze certain aspects of our game, then we're going to come here on Wednesday and we're going to get ready to play a good game.
On if Boston’s first shorthanded goal was a spark for the Bruins…
“What gave them momentum tonight was our powerplay, or lack of it. You know, that's been one of our biggest weapons all year long. It's kept the opposition real honest against us, especially on the road, if you look at our percentage. Tonight obviously we weren't good enough. I'm confident that this group will be good enough come next game.”
On the play of Roberto Luongo and the lack of support he received in front of the net…
“Yeah, there were a couple of pucks that went in there that just found their way in. I thought at 4-0, going at the beginning of the third with a powerplay, we might be able to do something. That's why I kept him in. At 5-1, I asked him what he wanted to do. He said, ‘Don't even think about taking me out,’ so that's what I did.”
On this day 25 years ago, Cam Neely was traded from Vancouver to Boston; the Bruins improve to 4-0 in Game 3s during the 2011 Playoffs, the Canucks had outscored their opponents 13-4 in the third period in the last seven games coming into Game 3, seven of the last nine teams to lose the opening two Stanley Cup Final games went on to win Game 3, but only one managed to win the series.