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Game 3 Preview; Bruins return home in must-win situation

June 6, 2011

Despite being tied with the Canucks for 59+ minutes in each of the first two games the Bruins are coming home in an 0-2 hole. Game 1 ended shockingly when Raffi Torres scored with 18.5 seconds left in regulation and Game 2 ended just 11 seconds into Game 2’s overtime period when Alex Burrows ended things. Do the Bruins hang their heads because of opportunities lost or do they find the silver lining in the first two games?

It’s hard to be positive when in a two-game hole but I do think the Bruins have a little to be hopeful about and some history on their side, albeit of a much lessened degree. The Bruins of course went down 0-2 at home against Montreal before taking the series in seven games. Although the Canucks are a much better team the Bruins can find some resolve in knowing that they’ve done it before. The Bruins can also lean on their mental resolve. The Bruins are famous in these playoffs for battling from behind, responding well to losses, and embracing the underdog role.

Game 2 was particularly frustrating because so many thought that Alex Burrows should have been suspended. Burrows came through with two goals, including the game-winning goal. It was also frustrating because the Canucks twice made light of the incident. The first time being one of the Sedins joking about Burrows being a vegetarian, and the second being Max Lapierre mocking Patrice Bergeron in a scrum with his finger outstretched in front of Bergeron’s mouth. It seems to me that the Canucks are getting cocky and in a way that’s understandable. They’ve been able to find another gear down the stretch and put game’s away, so why not be confident? Hopefully the Bruins can find a way to exploit that confidence in Game 3.

Another major point of concern for Boston must be the physicality in the series. The Canucks came out hitting everything that moves in Game 2 and if the Bruins can’t win the physicality battle they don’t have much hope of winning the series. The Canucks are faster, more skilled, and if they are physical that’s three strikes for the Bruins. I think Shawn Thornton could find his way onto the ice tonight, and probably should. The Bruins lack an enforcer on the ice and this series is starting to show how that could be a useful roster spot. The Canucks have taken some liberties in the first two games and Thornton could remedy that.

Roberto Luongo still hasn’t really been tested this series. The Bruins got goals on traffic plays, what seems to be a weakness of Luongo. Still, the Bruins haven’t sustained much pressure or gotten Luongo out of his comfort zone. Hopefully some desperation on the Bruins end tests Luongo.

Dan Hamhuis hasn’t practiced since he went down in Game 1 so it’s likely that Vancouver won’t make any lineup changes. The Bruins haven’t announced anything yet but the one rumored move could be Thornton for Tyler Seguin.

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