Saturday afternoon was the rematch of last year's Stanley Cup Final between the Boston Bruins and the Vancouver Canucks. No big deal right? Well, not so much.
This was hyped as everything but a normal game. It is a horrid habit by the media, but they had every right to build it up as a showdown.
The antics that Vancouver pulled in that nationally televised series disgraced their franchise just a little bit. The Aaron Rome hit on Nathan Horton. The "biting incident" between Alex Burrows and Patrice Bergeron. The "pumping" of Tim Thomas' tires. The Jannik Hanson crotch shot on Adam McQuaid. For your information, that was just to name a few.
The Bruins would not see all of the faces that they encountered last June in this game. Rome was out with a broken thumb and Boston College graduate Cory Schneider got the start in goal over Roberto Luongo, which was a surprise move by Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault. Luongo had won three out of his last five starts. However, he was lit up in the Stanley Cup Finals by the B's.
Tim Thomas started in goal for Boston. Brad Marchand made his return to the lineup after missing Thursday's game with flu-like symptoms.
Just four minutes into the game, fans saw gloves and sticks on the ice. Shawn Thornton slashed Burrows as he was exiting the ice, causing Burrows to respond. Thornton went back after Burrows and was met by six Canucks. Both teams were in the middle of a line change so that is the reason for the odd man situation.
Maxim Lapierre jumped in and starting throwing cheap shots like the tough guy that he is (sarcastic tone). Milan Lucic came off the bench during the scrum and that led to him receiving a game misconduct. If you watched the replay, Henrik Sedin (one of the six Canucks involved with Thornton) left the ice before Lucic came off the bench so the game misconduct was necessary. The call was later rescinded after the game. Horton and Gregory Campbell had two separate fights in the opening period.
When the Bruins were skating five-on-five (eight minutes or so), all they were really doing was playing dump and chase throwing hits along the way. Vancouver responded by capitalizing on a five-on-three power play. Ryan Kesler put the Canucks on the board first after putting a deflected shot behind Thomas. Marchand tied the game after a great pass from Tyler Seguin.
The Vancouver defense played very sloppy in the second period. There were three different occasions when the Bruins had a breakaway with the goaltender. Daniel Paille even got interfered with during one of them and was allowed a penalty shot, which was eventually saved by Schneider.
Boston began to settle in and started playing their game. Rich Peverley put the B's on top at 7:12 of the second period. The goal came after Benoit Pouliot realized an icing was waived off and pursued the puck to get it to Peverley. The Canucks grabbed two power play goals toward the end of the period to take the lead back. Burrows and H. Sedin had the tallies.
Vancouver had a continued five minute power play into the third period due to the major clipping penalty called against Marchand. He hit Sami Salo low at the knees and it appeared that Salo was injured on the play. Cody Hodgson put another power play goal past Thomas during the remaining penalty time.
David Krejci brought the B's back within one but they failed to capitalize on a late six-on-four man advantage. Boston dropped this game by a score of 4-3.
Throughout the game the referees were kicking people out of the face-off dot left and right. The refs had nothing to do with this loss though. Over 100 penalty minutes between the two teams. The Bruins will have to go forward with suspensions likely coming their way.
The B's will be back in action Tuesday night against the Winnipeg Jets at the TD Garden.
Gold Star: Nathan Horton...What a physical and aggressive game he played in this one.
Black Star: Tim Thomas...Four goals is four goals even if they are on the power play.