Boston forward Nathan Horton was knocked out of Game 3 early in the first period on a late hit from Vancouver defenceman Aaron Rome, but the Bruins responded by scoring four goals in each of the second and third periods to come away with an 8-1 victory on Monday night. The Canucks now lead the Stanley Cup Final two games to one.
Boston is trying to become the third team to overcome a two-game deficit in the Stanley Cup Final after dropping the first two games on the road. Recent history shows it can be done, as the Pittsburgh Penguins hoisted the Cup after Game 7 in 2009 after losing the first two games of the series to the Red Wings.
"We won by a big score tonight, but it's only a win and we're still down 2-1, and that's the way I approach it," said Bruins head coach Claude Julien.
"What's encouraging is that we had our issues scoring on (Roberto) Luongo, and tonight managed to find a way to score a lot of goals on him, so it's certainly good confidence-wise."
The win cuts the Canucks' series lead in half, but the sight of Horton leaving the ice on a stretcher may be the lasting vision from Game 3.
Horton crossed the red line five minutes into the opening frame and made a pass. Rome arrived nearly a full second after the pass was made and delivered the hit.
After laying motionless on the ice for several minutes, Horton was taken off on the stretcher, while Rome was given a five-minute interference major and a 10-minute game misconduct.
Horton was taken to hospital, but was alert and able to move all his extremities. He was expected to remain in hospital overnight for observation.
The NHL has scheduled a disciplinary hearing with Rome, likely to take place on Tuesday regarding the incident.
"There wasn't a lot of talk [in the locker-room], it was more of 'Let's make sure we do this for Horty,"' said Bruins forward Mark Recchi in response to the hit. "[Horton's] been a great teammate all year, and let's get this win for him tonight."
The penalty on Rome marks the second time this post-season that the Canucks' defenceman was given a game misconduct, with the last one coming in the Conference Final series against the San Jose Sharks. It is the third game misconduct on Rome this season and the fourth of his career.
"We'll let the league deal with that, but the hit was a head-on hit, a player looking at his pass, it was a little bit late. I don't think that's the type of hit the league is trying to take out," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said during his post-game comments.
The Canucks were able to kill off the ensuing penalty and the two clubs remained scoreless at the end of the first period.
The Bruins opened the scoring 11 seconds into the second period on a point shot from Andrew Ference, which made its way through a crowd and past Luongo. Recchi added to the lead four minutes later with a power play goal.
Brad Marchand pushed the lead to three when he broke loose on a penalty kill and went in all alone on Luongo. Marchand waited out the Canucks goalie and when Luongo went down, Marchand put the puck in the top of the net for his first shorthanded goal of the playoffs. Marchand was tied for third with five shorthanded markers during the regular season.
David Krejci scored with just over four minutes left in the frame, when he went top shelf past Luongo to cap a four-goal second period for Boston.
Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas made 40 saves and outdueled Luongo for the first time this series.
"We started scoring and the floodgates opened, and we just kept going and trying to score more," Thomas said. "I think that was the right approach and... it was good to see the scoring spread around here.
"That's what we're going to need the rest of the way out to win the Stanley Cup, we're going to need contributions from everyone."
Recchi, 43, became the oldest player to score two goals in a Stanley Cup Final game when he netted his second of the game late in the third. The previous holder of that record was Igor Larionov, who was 41 years old in 2002.
The third period was highlighted by a flurry of penalties, as the game became more and more physical. In total, 98 penalty minutes were handed out in the final frame, including seven game misconducts to Ference, Daniel Sedin, Shawn Thornton, Alex Burrows, Ryan Kesler, Milan Lucic and Dennis Seidenberg.
Thornton was in the Bruins' starting lineup and played in his first game of the series in place of rookie Tyler Seguin, who was a healthy scratch.
The Canucks had held serve in Vancouver and came into Monday night's game with a 2-0 series advantage after a last minute win in Game 1 and an quick finish in overtime of Game 2.
Burrows was the hero in Game 2, as he scored two of Vancouver's three goals, including the game-winner in overtime. Burrows strong performance in Game 2 came on the heels of allegations that he bit Patrice Bergeron's finger during a scrum in the opening game of the series. After reviewing the incident, the NHL chose not to suspend Burrows.
Prior to Game 3, Bruins coach Claude Julien took exception to the Canucks behaviour, most notably the way Canucks forward Max Lapierre taunted Boston in Game 2 by putting his fingers near Bergeron's face in reference to the Burrows' incident.
Julien said the Bruins would never act in a similar fashion, but in Game 3 both Recchi and Lucic put their fingers in Burrows' face just the same.
The series will continue on Wednesday as the two teams take the ice for Game 4 in Boston. The action will return to Vancouver for Game 5 on Friday.
Notes: The Bruins' jacket given to the player of the game was hanging in Horton's stall after Game 3... Monday night's game was played on the anniversary of the trade between the two clubs, which saw Cam Neely and the Canucks first round pick (Glen Wesley) head to Boston, in exchange for Barry Pederson. Neely, who is now the Bruins president, went on to score 344 goals and 641 points over 10 seasons in Boston.