The Boston Bruins entered Game Three in their home building down 2-0 in the series to the heavily favored Vancouver Canucks and desperate for a victory. They blew out Vancouver in an 8-1 rout, but suffered a loss before they had even started things.
Midway through a back and forth scoreless first period, Aaron Rome laid an illegal, blindside hit on Bruins forward Nathan Horton. Horton lay on the ice for several minutes and was eventually carried off on a stretcher to a local hospital. Rome was given a game misconduct and five minute misconduct major, but the damage had already been done. The already thin Bruins offense has now been stretched to the limit. On the ensuing power play, Boston was unable to solve the enigma that is Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo and the game remained scoreless after the first period.
Just 11 seconds into the second period, an Andrew Ference shot was deflected wide by David Krejci and fluttered over a helpless Luongo's shoulder into the net to open up the scoring and give the Bruins a much needed 1-0 lead. It was only Boston's second lead of the series. Just four minutes later, the Bruins made it 2-0 when a cross crease pass from Mark Recchi was mistakenly deflected by the Canucks Ryan Kesler in the crease and trickled between Luongo's pads, marking the first two goal lead for either team in the entire series.
12 minutes into the second period, and the rout was on. Bruins forward Brad Marchand caused a turnover during a Canucks power play and, with Milan Lucic on the bench, he beat the entire Canucks defense, skating through multiple defenders before holding the puck and outlasting Luongo, then firing the puck top shelf to make the game 3-0. After two frustrating games and an infuriating first period at home, the Bruins finally took out their frustration out on the Canucks team that looked like they wanted to hurry up and finish the game so they could return to the locker room.
Game Three was Boston's game to win, and they took advantage despite the absence of their top forward Horton. Was it a statement game? Does Boston have enough firepower to overcome the loss of Horton for the remainder of the playoffs? Was it a fluke, an emotional beatdown over a Canucks team that checked out of the game early? Game Four just became must-see TV.
Game Four is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, June 8, 2011. Television will be on Versus and CBC.