BOSTON -- Much was made of the defensive depth of the Vancouver Canucks coming into the Stanley Cup Final. That depth was put to the test Wednesday night in Game 4 against the Boston Bruins, and it didn't pass the test in a 4-0 loss at TD Garden that evened the best-of-seven series at two wins apiece.
Ballard, who replaced the suspended Aaron Rome, led all players with six blocked shots. However, a pair of them came after Ballard coughed up the puck in his own zone.
With Aaron Rome gone for the series due to a suspension and Dan Hamhuis (lower-body injury) a question mark, it's likely the six defensemen who played Wednesday will be the unit the Canucks use for the rest of this series, which returns to Rogers Arena in Vancouver for Game 5 on Friday night (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).
Following the game, Bieksa, who had a game-high three giveaways, spoke to the media:
Q: Do you think Rome's hit on Nathan Horton has caused the Bruins to wake up in this series?
A: How could a hit wake you up in the Stanley Cup Final? How could you not already be woken up? How could you not be as motivated as you could possibly be? If it took that for them to get motivated, great they're back in the series. But it's 2-2, and that hit had no impact on us other than we lost a good defenseman for the rest of the series.
Q: How much did the ice (the temperature in Boston was in the 90s Wednesday) factor into the sloppy play?
A: There is bad ice out there, so when you say sloppy play it's relevant to the conditions. I think both teams were a little sloppier than they were in Vancouver because of the ice. It's unfortunate that it's a factor, but it's a factor and both teams are turning pucks over because of it. It's just a matter of not doing it as much as them.
Q: Do you feel players need to simplify their games and just shoot the puck more often?
A: They're in the shooting lanes. They're doing a good job of blocking shots. Let's give them credit first. But yeah, maybe we need that shot-first mentality. There's times when we're putting pucks on net and making it easy for them. We definitely have to make Tim Thomas' life harder.
Q: Are you sensing struggles in the transition game on the back end?
A: I don’t know. I'd have to watch some film. Right now, it seems like our gap is a little bit loose. That's one of the reasons why we're turning those pucks over. Basically, it comes down to working as a five-man unit, and we're not doing that right now. We're not doing it in our end, their end or the neutral zone. We have to get back to that.
Q: How do you regroup?
A: It's a tight series again. We won two at home, they won two at home. We go back to our place, where we've played very well this playoff. We start fresh, best two-of-three. It's a great opportunity for us to put these two games behind us.