NHL

Bruins host Canucks in Game 3 of Stanley Cup Final

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Sports Network
6/6/2011 3:25:49 PM
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(Sports Network) - After suffering a pair of close losses in Vancouver, the Boston Bruins will try to get on the board in the Stanley Cup Final tonight when they host the Canucks in Game 3 at TD Garden.

TSN.ca's Stanley Cup Final Hockey Blog is set to cover it tonight and you can log on at TSN.ca and take part at 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt.

The Canucks took the opener of this best-of-seven series by a 1-0 score and then claimed Game 2 in overtime. Boston is hoping a change of venue can help its club pick up a win this evening.

Today's game marks the 25th anniversary of the trade which saw the Canucks ship Cam Neely and the team's first round pick (Glen Wesley) to Boston for forward Barry Pederson.

Neely spent three seasons with the Canucks, who drafted him in the first round (ninth overall) of the 1983 NHL Entry Draft. In 201 games, the Comox, BC, native scored 51 goals and 53 assists before the trade on June 6, 1986.

The Bruins president and Hockey Hall of Famer went on to play out his career with Boston, racking up 344 goals and 641 points over 10 seasons. 

The Bruins are 7-3 on home ice in these playoffs and have taken three in a row and seven of their last eight at TD Garden. Meanwhile, Vancouver has a 5-3 record as the visiting club this postseason.

Boston, which will also host Game 4 on Wednesday, is in a tough spot historically, as only two teams have ever taken a Cup Finals series after getting swept in the first two games on the road. However, the last time was in 2009 when Pittsburgh beat the Red Wings in seven games despite falling behind 2-0 in the series after losing the first two tests in Detroit.

After Game 2, Bruins head coach Claude Julien pointed out that his club lost the first two games on home ice in its opening-round series against Montreal and rebounded to win that series in seven.

"We didn't come here just to roll over. We're definitely going to go back home and regroup and bounce back," added Julien.

Alexandre Burrows is a big reason Boston is down two games and he proved to be a controversial hero for the Canucks in Saturday's 3-2 OT victory. Burrows was not suspended after biting the finger of Boston's Patrice Bergeron in Game 1 and the forward came back with a three-point night in the second contest. He had two goals, including the game-winner 11 seconds into overtime, and an assist in the victory.

A critical storyline following the series opener was the playing status of Burrows after he bit Bergeron during a scrum at the end of the first period. The league opted not to suspend the 30-year-old Quebec native, who, in addition to tallying in OT, opened the scoring with a power-play goal and set up Daniel Sedin's game-tying marker in the third period.

"If we start using that as an excuse, we're a lame team," said Julien about Burrows escaping supplemental discipline.

Burrows wasted little time in the extra frame, beating an overly aggressive Tim Thomas on a wraparound and depositing the puck into an open net to give Vancouver a 2-0 lead in this best-of-seven set.

Burrows' decisive goal was the second-quickest overtime goal in the history of the Stanley Cup Finals. First place belongs to Brian Skrudland of the Montreal Canadiens, who scored just nine seconds past regulation in Game 2 of the 1986 Cup Finals at Calgary.

"Anybody that follows our team knows he's a really important part of our team," said Vancouver head coach Alain Vigneault about Burrows. "He plays five-on-five, he plays [on the] power play, and he kills penalties. He's one of our go-to guys. Again tonight he came up big in key moments."

Roberto Luongo, coming off his fourth career playoff shutout, stopped 28 shots in the win.

Milan Lucic and Mark Recchi scored 2:35 apart in the second period for the Bruins, while Thomas finished with 30 saves. Recchi, at 43 years and 123 days, became the oldest player in the history of the Stanley Cup Finals to score a goal.

Vancouver won despite playing without one of its top defenseman in Dan Hamhuis. The veteran was injured in Game 1 when he delivered a hip check on Lucic and he sat out the second tilt with an undisclosed issue. Hamhuis is considered day-to-day and will likely be replaced by Andrew Alberts again if he cannot play tonight.

However, Canucks forward Manny Malhotra did make his dramatic return to action on Saturday, playing in his first game since sustaining a severe injury to his left eye on March 16 against the Colorado Avalanche. It's been a remarkable recovery for Malhotra, who was originally thought to be out for the season when he was hit in the eye with a puck back in March.

Wearing a full-face shield, Malhotra only logged seven-plus minutes of ice time in Game 2 but the faceoff-wiz did win six of his seven draws.

Vancouver has never won a Stanley Cup title and is in the Finals for the first time since 1994 when they were ousted by the New York Rangers in seven games. However, the Canucks, who won the Presidents' Trophy as the club with the best regular season record this season, have now won 11 of their last 14 games.

The Canucks are not only carrying the hopes of a city and franchise, but also those of a nation. A Canadian team hasn't lifted the Cup since Montreal defeated Wayne Gretzky's Los Angeles Kings in 1993.

The Bruins, meanwhile, have won five Stanley Cups, but none since 1972. They are 0-5 in the Finals since then, the last loss coming to Edmonton in 1990. Boston is 5-22 in Cup Finals games since the '72 championship and has lost 12 of its last 13 contests on the NHL's biggest stage.

The Canucks and Bruins have never faced each other in the playoffs and the clubs only met once this season with Boston notching a 3-1 decision at Rogers Arena on Feb. 26.



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