Yesterday, Tram’s Table gave scientific evidence that Game 3 should belong to Boston. After that scary injury to Nathan Horton just five minutes into the game, the Bruins made good on my nonsensical trend argument by running the record of post-lockout home teams to 6-0 in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals. What’s more of a talking point seems to be the manner in which they did it: by pounding Vancouver 8-1.
Last night’s game was one in which momentum seemed to play a big role, as Boston not only scored twice on the power play, but also twice on Vancouver’s power plays. One would have to think that momentum played a part in those shorties, as Boston got the snowball rolling immediately after the first intermission.
With the series back to an interesting 2-1 count, everyone is inevitably going to refer to Game 4 as “pivotal.” And while it is true that Wednesday’s game should go miles toward determining who will lift the Cup, each team has to approach the game fresh and without any lingering emotion of the first three games.
For Vancouver, it is important that they clear their minds of Game 3, and remember that the next one is always the biggest one. In truth, they came to Boston seeking a split, and they are still in contention for just that. It would be silly to try to preach about what a Game 4 win would mean for the Canucks, so we’ll just call it a BFD.
Boston must also forget about Game 3, because they don’t get to take any of those goals with them. Last night’s game is done and dusted, and they still have 60+ minutes to go before they can feel content with their work at home. This is an intense spot for the Bruins, as they must fight the urge to feel vindicated with their 10-5 series lead in goals. Bruins backers were arguing that the B’s should feel good about themselves because they could have won either game in Vancouver, and last night’s annihilation will only add to that positive feeling surrounding the team. But often times we have seen that positivity morph into complacency, and that is why the Bruins must play Game 4 as if they have three losses. Because, while a comeback from a 3-1 series deficit is not impossible to overcome, it’s much more difficult a task than this team wants to force itself to accomplish.
Yesterday we looked at how every Stanley Cup final since the lockout has started in exactly the same way: with the home team holding for a 2-0 lead, then hitting the road for a loss. For those interested, Game 4 went to the road team from 2006 to ’08, with that team consolidating their newfound 3-1 series lead into the Stanley Cup championship all three times. But in the past two playoffs, the home team held serve again in Game 4 to even the series. Last year, it didn’t matter, as Philadelphia lost the next two games to Chicago, who won the series in six games. But in 2009, the Penguins turned their 2-2 series into a title by winning Games 6 and 7. In the five seasons since the lockout, the Pens are the only road seed to win the Cup. Boston looks to join them on that list, and the next step on that journey is Wednesday, June 8, when the Bruins will host the Canucks again at 8 p.m. ET, live on Versus in the U.S.