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Cullen: Thomas stars, Peverley scores as Bruins even series

Scott Cullen
6/8/2011 11:33:51 PM
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After a couple of heartbreaking losses in Vancouver to start the series, the Boston Bruins put up back-to-back no-doubters on home ice, taking Game Four 4-0 to even the series at two games apiece.

With Nathan Horton sidelined due to a concussion (perhaps you've heard mention of the play), the Bruins turned to Rich Peverley to step in at right wing on the number one line and, lo and behold, the former Kitchener Dutchmen paced the Bruins' attack with a pair of goals.

(For those wondering about the obscure Kitchener Dutchmen reference, my not-so-storied hockey career included three years with the mighty Dutchmen.)

Undrafted out of St. Lawrence University, Peverley has been a study in perseverance, gradually climbing the ladder until he reached the NHL and then breaking through after Atlanta claimed him on waivers from Nashville in 2008-2009.

Peverley had a pair of two-goal games in the regular season and had a total of two playoff goals in 21 games going into Game Four.

David Krejci added two assists for the Bruins, moving into the playoff lead with 22 points, an especially impressive total when one considers that he managed one point in seven games against Montreal in Round One, meaning that he's scored 21 points in 15 games since.

Tim Thomas recorded 38 saves to post his third shutout of the playoffs, running his record to 9-0 in this postseason when he makes at least 34 saves. In the last two games, in Boston, Thomas has stopped 78 of 79 shots he's faced (good for a .987 save percentage).

If the Canucks can't beat Thomas, obviously their power play can't be very effective and Vancouver is 1-for-22 (4.5%) with the man advantage in this series, after ranking first in the regular season with a 24.3% success rate and scoring on 28.3% (17-for-60) of their power plays through the first three rounds of the playoffs.

So, while Vancouver's offence sputters, barely threatening Thomas in the Boston goal, Roberto Luongo has picked an inopportune time to have a couple of clunkers. By no means is he the only reason for Vancouver's struggles, but when the franchise goaltender allows 12 goals on 58 shots (.793 save percentage) in Boston, it's no surprise that the series is even going back to Vancouver.

If the Canucks are going to regain momentum, they can take heart in the matchup advantage that will come on home ice and worked in their favour earlier in the series but, considering how narrow the Canucks' margin of victory was in games one and two, they had better find a way to be much, much better in Game Five.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.




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