Stanley Cup Finals 2011: 5 Things Claude Julien Must Do (Play Tyler Seguin!)
After two heartbreaking losses in the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final, the Boston Bruins were left with a must-win Game 3 at the TD Garden last night.
They did not just win the game, they destroyed the Vancouver Canucks, with a sound 8-1 thrashing.
But while the Bruins now have the momentum in the series, they are still down 2-1 and have a long way to go if they are to win their first Stanley Cup since 1972.
Play Tyler Seguin More
You got your benefit out of Shawn Thornton in Game 3—the Bruins played a more physical game and destroyed Vancouver.
Playing him last night was a good decision, as Boston could not afford to be battered around by the Canucks for a third straight game.
But Thornton is an offensive liability.
With Nathan Horton out for the Final, the Bruins are already weaker up front.
Tyler Seguin is the best option. He has the speed to skate with the Canucks, and the game-off might have helped him get his head straight.
Keep Zdeno Chara on Point
The cries for putting Zdeno Chara in front of the net on power plays got louder and louder as the playoffs went on and the B’s continued to be pathetic with the man advantage.
Finally, Claude Julien decided to change things up and put the captain in front of the goal.
It did not work.
From Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning to Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, Chara was right by the goaltender and nothing happened.
In the last two games, the Canucks bullied him and prevented him from doing anything good. Chara is best on point, with his ferocious 100-plus mph shot.
Keep Playing Physical Hockey
The Vancouver Canucks left no one in doubt about the way they intended to play this Final after Game 1.
Right out of the gate, they were the more physical and aggressive of the two teams and dominated the Bruins on the boards.
With the exception of the second period of Game 2, the B’s looked limp in the two road games.
Back in Boston it was a different story.
After Nathan Horton was hospitalised by a sickening Aaron Rome cheap shot, the Bruins were a totally different team.
They finished their checks and forced turnovers; while it was not pretty at times (Milan Lucic’s punch in the third period being a particular low point), it showed how the Bruins can dominate the Canucks when they play rough.
Limit Tomas Kaberle
Finally, the Boston Bruins' power play is playing better.
The B's have scored three goals this series with the man advantage—as many as they had scored in their first 18 postseason games. Yet still, Tomas Kaberle is awful.
He still looks uncomfortable with the puck and while the power play has been better, it is in spite of him, not because of him.
In a close series like this, his minutes are wasted and it can be painful to watch him on the PP.
Swamp Roberto Luongo
Roberto Luongo can be a great goaltender. Some would say he is.
But while his calm butterfly style works well most of the time, he has two major weaknesses: He is often vulnerable to bad-angle shots, and when he gets rattled, he can cave spectacularly.
Both are good reasons for why it is important for the Bruins to pummel him with shots.
The Canuck defense kept them quiet in the first two games of the series, but last night they hammered 38 shots on goal at Luongo.
The barrage kept coming throughout the game and he steadily became worse. By the time the fifth goal went past him, he had lost it entirely.
The decision to keep him in the game was questionable and his confidence will most definitely be shaken.