In real estate, the three most important things are location, location, location. On the surface, you could say the same thing about the series between the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins. To date, with four games played each team has won both of their home games. But the surface, like the stat sheet, doesn’t always tell the whole tale.
Games One and Two were played on the ice of the President’s Trophy-winning Vancouver Canucks. Very few penalties were taken, and two Vezina finalist goaltenders were giving the world the type of duel fans could only dream of in other series. Despite Alexandre Burrows biting Patrice Bergeron, the teams kept their emotions pretty tightly-laced and Game One ended in a 1-0 Canucks win.
The second game was similar, a bit chippier, but also with more intrusive officiating. Burrows was on the ice for the game, as the league decided his clamping his jaw down on another player and torquing his jaw down was not something they could prove to be intentional. Burrows made the most of the opportunity, scoring the Canucks’ first power play goal of the series in the first period. Next up would be an assist on Daniel Sedin’s ninth of the playoffs to tie the game just after the midway point of the third period. Just moments into overtime he would score on a wrap-around goal to give Vancouver a 2-0 series lead.
When the puck dropped in Boston for Game Three, it became quickly apparent the series had shifted as far as the teams had. Aaron Rome laid out Nathan Horton with a hit that drew a five minute major, an ejection, and the longest suspension in Stanley Cup Finals history. The first period ended with a murmur, as the Bruins failed to convert on the major. The second period, however, broke the series wide open. Andrew Ference scored 11 seconds into the period, the exact number of seconds it took Burrows to finish Game Two, on a blast from the point. Mark Recchi turned the power play on with a flick of the stick. Brad Marchand scored shorthanded, and David Krejci would finish the period with the Bruins’ second even-strength goal of the period.
The third period featured a lot of shenanigans that have been well covered elsewhere, and two curious things. The first was Luongo staying in place for four additional goals. Reports state he declined to leave the crease. The second was a further breakdown of the Vancouver special teams. Daniel Paille would score a second short-handed goal, and on a makeshift power play unit with a 7-1 score, Michael Ryder would pot a second Bruins power play goal. Seventy one hits, nine goals and 145 penalty minutes made the teams playing almost unrecognizable to those who competed in Games One and Two.
Game Four, at least in comparison to Game Three, was low scoring. Tim Thomas further padded his case for the Conn Smyth Trophy with a shutout. Rich Peverley would both open and close the scoring with goals in the first and third. In between, Bergeron would out hustle his opponents before connecting on a ten-foot pass to the always-hungry Marchand. Towards the end of the game, as the nasty was pouring from both teams, Burrows would knock the stick from Thomas’s hands in a move that would probably have earned Sean Avery a suspension. Thomas returned the favor with what he called “a love tap,” sparking a melee that saw 28 of the game’s penalty minutes handed out in one dose.
The hockey gods may know where the series goes from here, but they are likely the only ones.