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BOSTON (CBS) – For a period, Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals was tense and a bit dangerous as Vancouver defenseman Aaron Rome clocked Nathan Horton at the 5:07 mark of the first period.
Horton lay on the ice for several minutes motionless and dazed and eventually was taken off on a stretcher. Before the period was over, Bruins PR had alerted the media that Horton had been taken to Mass General Hospital and all extremities were in working order.
However, reports after the game had Horton thinking he was still in Vancouver. Rome was ejected from the game and was suspended for the rest of the Finals Tuesday afternoon. The Bruins announced Tuesday morning that Horton has a severe concussion and will not play for the remainder of the Stanley Cup Finals.
After that hit, the Bruins play looked a bit like they were in shock mode and who could blame them. Mark Recchi would later say no one likes to see a teammate leave the ice like that. After the game, the now infamous ratty 80’s style Bruins Jacket was hanging in Horton’s locker. Boston’s subsequent five-minute power play produced six shots, but yet again bore no fruit.
But when they came out to begin the second period, it was a team with renewed purpose. Andrew Ference fired a shot from the blue line which made its way through a few bodies and behind goaltender Roberto Luongo and the rout was on. The Bruins would finally score on the power play when Recchi was centering a pass to Rich Peverley that never got to him, instead deflecting off the stick of Ryan Kessler and between the legs of Luongo. The highlight goal of the night came with Boston killing a Milan Lucic slashing penalty. Andrew Ference poked the puck away from a Canuck and Brad Marchand skated down the right side, played the puck off the boards past a defender to himself to swoop in on Luongo, faked him down and out then lifted the puck over the prone goalie and a 3-0 Bruin lead and the Garden crowd was rocking!
The Bruins would score four more in the third including another power play and shorthanded goal and surprisingly, Vancouver never changed goaltenders. Canuck’s coach Alain Vigneault said Luongo wanted to remain in the game for all eight. There was a lot of nastiness in this game as Boston, in particular, Recchi and Lucic who taunted the Canuck players with fingers for them to bite.
But what this game was about was the Bruins taking it to Vancouver. The Sedin twins were basically invisible as Daniel had two shots on goal and Henrik none, who was never a threat. Ryan Kessler, who hasn’t been the same since Lucic’s heavy check on him in Game 2 was totally ineffective and was a minus-three. His frustration led to picking a fight with Dennis Seidenberg in the third period when things were getting feisty.
Unlike Games 1& 2, Boston never let down and kept the pressure on the Canucks, keeping the speedy Vancouver players from getting it going. The Canucks did get some solid scoring opportunities but Tim Thomas was again spectacular, stopping 40 of 41 shots, which means he really does know how to play goal in the style in which he is accustomed to. Home ice and feeding off the energy from the crowd at the TD garden certainly seemed to make a difference.
The Bruins have now cut the Vancouver lead to 2-1 in the Stanley Cup Finals. Recchi said that it’s time to move on and capture Game 4 on Wednesday. Tim Thomas added that they are back in the series just a bit more than they were before Monday night’s game, but it’s just baby steps.
It was a giant step for trying to get this Final series back on an even keel and will take the same type of effort on Wednesday. Hey, the Bruins have been in the series and say for a couple of breaks the other way in the first two games, they could be ahead. But there is more work to be done and they need to go back to British Columbia with this series tied and all the pressure on the Canucks.
98.5 The Sports Hub is the only local station to listen to every game of the Stanley Cup Finals. Coverage begins an hour before each game with the Bruins Pregame show hosted by Dave Goucher & Bob Beers.