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FIve Thoughts: Alex Burrows’ Game 2 heroics a very bad sign for Boston

Jun 5, 2011, 9:30 AM EDT

Boston Bruins v Vancouver Canucks - Game Two Getty Images

Just as it goes with virtually every Stanley Cup finals game there are tons of thoughts that pop up in the aftermath of the game. Game 2 between Boston and Vancouver is no different and with the Canucks winning the game 3-2 in overtime. Storylines abound after such a turn of events.

1. There’s obviously a lot of outrage in Boston today after seeing Alex Burrows play perhaps his best game of the playoffs scoring two goals and adding an assist. It’s very clear to us that the NHL erred in not suspending Burrows for one game and while Bruins coach Claude Julien said the right things after the game there’s no doubt they and the rest of the Bruins have to be furious about it. They must put it out of their heads and then focus that anger into making sure Burrows doesn’t beat them on the ice again.

Allowing Burrows to essentially have his way with them the Bruins looked sadder than anything else. Think of it like seeing the movie “The Karate Kid” and instead of Daniel LaRusso crane kicking Cobra Kai into defeat, Johnny sweeps the leg and ends his miraculous run. If the Canucks continue to outwork, outhustle, and outplay the Bruins and take Game 3 the fans in Vancouver can start calling for that body bag for the Bruins as well as calling for the Stanley Cup.

2. One thing that’s been a severe disappointment for the Bruins is the play of their defense. Last night’s overtime goal came thanks to a bad play from Andrew Ference followed by Zdeno Chara’s inability to cover ground fast enough to catch up with Burrows. The kind of speed that Vancouver has is a major issue for a lot of players the Bruins have and while we’ve seen this be a problem for them in past seasons (think back to Boston getting bounced out by Carolina in 2009) what the Canucks do with their speed and their physicality is something Boston didn’t really deal with too often during the regular season.

The Bruins are used to wearing down teams by roughing them up. Vancouver enjoys that part of the game and even feeds off it at times. That kind of stubborn resilience can be mentally defeating to deal with. Guys like Chara, Ference, Milan Lucic, and Nathan Horton are delivering physically but the hits aren’t enough to get Vancouver to slow down and fall more in line with Boston’s strengths to grind the game out. Vancouver fights through the checks and keeps on motoring. Since there’s nothing legally the Bruins can do to stop them, every game turns into a war of attrition for them. That’s hard to deal with.

3. One thing the Canucks did right last night was get under Tim Thomas’ skin. While Thomas plays great when he’s fired up for a game and playing aggressive, he’s seen moments in the past where his fiery nature got the best of him and caused him to give up a bad goal. While that didn’t happen last night, Thomas got a bit more jumpy and agitated with the way the Canucks buzzed the net and found ways to make contact with him.

Late in the game, Thomas was even complaining at one point about Henrik Sedin’s presence in front of the net while other times the Bruins defense helps shove Canucks forwards into Thomas. The Bruins defense has to do a better job of putting up the wall to protect Thomas. They want him locked into the game but not to the degree where he’s looking to get his own shots in on opponents to avenge previous misgivings. Intensity is good but not when it turns into reckless play.

4. The Bruins’ top line will need to have more of a presence if they’re going to come back in this series. David Krejci, Nathan Horton, and Milan Lucic combined for seven shots on goal in Game 2 after piling up 13 all together in Game 1. While Lucic was able to get a goal thanks to their work in front of the net, seeing Krejci come away with four shots while Horton had just one is disappointing. When you’re the top line you have to do more, always. Vancouver’s top line was lights out in Game 2 in leading the way to victory. That sort of effort and skill is what it takes to win. While Roberto Luongo is having a lot to say about that line’s lack of success for Boston, they’ll need to do more of what they started in Game 2 from here on out. Scoring a grimy goal on a rebound by holding your ground looks just as good on the scoreboard as the highlight reel one does.

5. Vancouver’s work in the third period is becoming the thing of legend for them. Their depth and the way their lineup has been juggled this year have provided them with many challenges this year but they’ve been resilient all year long and their stamina late in games is astounding. Vancouver continues to find ways to battle hard to the end and pull games out late. Coming back to beat Boston in overtime is something no team had done to them yet in the playoffs. Boston was 4-0 in overtime games in the playoffs before last night. That’s a rough time to take your first defeat.

Vancouver, however, has been doing this sort of thing all playoffs long in either finding ways to comeback late in games or finishing teams off. That sort of toughness is what makes them so hard to beat and Boston is now finding this out the hard way. Giving up the game-winning goal with 18 seconds left to play in Game 1 and now Game 2’s overtime winner coming just 11 seconds in are excruciating ways to lose.

  1. polegojim - Jun 5, 2011 at 9:54 AM

    Good Points Joe – Burrows questionable event doesn’t change the fact that he’s also beating them at ‘hockey’… and doing so badly. How about making him pay by by beating the Canucks?

    Vancouver is ‘that’ good, and if the Bruins psyche is that fragile, this is over now.

    Let’s hope Boston makes a series of it on home ice. They need a ‘positive statement’ game badly.

    • beelover - Jun 6, 2011 at 3:09 AM

      Lets face it all we hear is how 1 goal in each game is the difference. Wake up people if it wasn’t for Thomas these first two games would have been totally embarrassing and the bruins know that. They are way out of their league but at the same time they should be happy they play in the east because they probably wouldn’t even make the playoffs in the west and should enjoy their win against Tampa because that is as close as it will get. The Canunks are continually changing their strategy in a game and Boston just does’nt have the coaching or the horses.

  2. 8man - Jun 5, 2011 at 10:02 AM

    I believe Vancouver is the better team. But I also believe any team is beatable. The Bruins can win 4 of the next 5. They could also win four in a row. They are no strangers to trailing in a series. Game 3 tells us everything.

  3. marianandlloyd - Jun 5, 2011 at 11:27 AM

    Oh WOW!!! you guys really see things from one angle only. Burrows is one of many good players in the Canuck organization. Bergeron and Burrows go way back to Juniors together. Their animosity was started back in the Quebec organization. They even speak French to each other on the ice. Boston media is trying everything to give Boston an advantage even manipulating the fans. There will be NO suspension. GET OVER IT! Now you want someone to go out on the ice and injure Burrows cause you didn’t get the penalty you wanted?? So you want to end a great hockey players career?? For a finger?? Really?? Who are you people??

    • polegojim - Jun 5, 2011 at 1:34 PM

      @marianandlloyd – are you talking to Joe?

      I don’t see any comments calling for ‘revenge’. I see several that say Boston should retaliate by…WINNING a game.

      All the comments are very complimentary to Vancouver. U might want to back off the Estrogen.

  4. nolanorth - Jun 5, 2011 at 2:14 PM

    I’ll tell you what, you stick your finger IN my mouth.. I’ll bite it completely off! Keep your damn finger OUT OF HIS MOUTH!!!

    • mgp1219 - Jun 6, 2011 at 12:49 PM

      nolnorth,
      you probably have something shaped similar to a finger in your mouth all the time

  5. guyincognito67 - Jun 5, 2011 at 4:39 PM

    RE: 1 – I can’t listen to Mike Milbury whine about Burrows anymore. Get over it. It wasn’t that bad and it wasn’t out of nowhere either. Funny how there are no comments on Krecji’s crosscheck to Hamhuis’ head after that beautiful hip-check on Lucic. FYI – Hamhuis hasn’t played since.

    RE: 3 Saying that the Canucks are finding ways to make contact with Thomas is very misleading. It’s a lot harder finding ways to avoid him. He plays a few feet out of the crease. He’s going to get bumped by his own D clearing the front of the net and corralling oncoming rushers. The league rules protect him from interference (like that slew foot in game 1 that was called) but he’s going to get way more incidental contact playing out there. He’s also going to get burned for being out of position as he was on BOTH game-winning goals.

    2 Very close games so far and the next 2 or 3 will also be great but I don’t see this series going further than that.

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