Stanley Cup Final: Did the Boston Bruins Expend Too Much in Game 3?

Chris HuebnerContributor IIIJune 7, 2011

The Canucks are in the Bruins' head
The Canucks are in the Bruins' headHarry How/Getty Images

“It is one game.”

That is not what Canucks fans should be saying. That is not what Bruins fans should be saying. That is what everyone should be saying.

Game 2, which involved a stunning overtime goal only 11 seconds into the period, may have signaled a momentum shift permanently in the favor of the Canucks. But it didn’t.

It was one game.

Game 3 was an absolute blowout. The Bruins went onto the ice and absolutely embarrassed the Canucks. After the first period, it was 0-0; after the second period, the Bruins were up 4-0. The game ended in an 8-1 annihilation.

But it is just one game.

The Bruins came out of their locker room at the start of the second period with more motivation than they ever could have asked for. They were playing at home. They were given a chance to respond to Canuck pests like Alexandre Burrows and Maxim Lapierre. They were, more importantly, just given the news that Nathan Horton—the victim of a clearly illegal hit delivered by Aaron Rome—was moving all of his extremities at Mass. General Hospital.

So they came out in the second period and smacked the Canucks in the mouth. To give Vancouver credit, I thought that they fought back, until the score climbed towards the insurmountable.

But Boston wouldn’t stop.

They kept fighting, scoring, hitting and expending energy until the game finished. That might get them into trouble.

I am not talking about on-ice adjustments. Both coaches have proven to be at least competent in that department. They are both in the Stanley Cup Finals, after all. I am not talking about inciting a Vancouver response by continuing to “run up the score.” I am talking about emotion. I am talking about energy.

The Bruins came out in the second period and played with an amount of energy that they may never be able to produce again. There was so much emotion, which had been brewing since the Burrows biting incident, that was finally able to be released, to the delight of their cheering fans.

In that emotional period, Boston won the game and put it away. But as the game went on, as it became chippy and violent, the Bruins kept going, even though they did not need to, even though the score was too much for Vancouver to match.

Vancouver seemed to stop playing in the second period. The misconducts, the fight between Ryan Kesler and Dennis Seidenberg, were largely instigated by Boston players. It was Lucic who started punching Burrows in the head. Burrows was almost grinning in the aftermath of the skirmish as he was led off the ice.

Furthermore, the Canucks were coasting in the third period. The Vancouver fourth line played more in this game than it had all series. Jeff Tambellini played 2:30 in Game 1 and 5:50 in Game 2. In Game 3, he played 9:17. By contrast, Boston was still firing on all cylinders, which I think will cost them.

Every goal, every fight, every hit could have felt so vindicating, so relieving for the Boston Bruins. They, and their fans, can feel as if they were beating up the Canucks, as if they were burying the first two games of the series solidly in the past. But the series is still two games to one in Vancouver’s favor.

Will the blowout bother the Canucks? I don’t think so. Vancouver has been able to put playoff blowouts behind them in the past. They lost games four through six by a combined score of 16 to 5 against the Blackhawks. Then they won Game 7 to secure the series.

Boston still needs to win a few more games to get the cup. To do that, they need to play with energy. The problem is that they may have expended it all in Game 3.

Does Boston have enough in the tank to take down the Canucks? Did they expend too much in Game 3? Or will the Game 3 blowout swing the series back in Boston’s favor? Comment below!