After two dominant wins in Games 3 and 4, the Boston Bruins got themselves back into the series, tying things up with the Vancouver Canucks at two games apiece in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. With the Bruins manhandling the Canucks in those games, outscoring their foes 12-1, the city had been in an uproar since Wednesday night, dusting off the cones and stocking up on confetti.
It is true even a cynic like myself is getting pretty wrapped up in the emotion of the Final, but if Bostonians are truly fired up about the potential of doing something that hasn’t been done in nearly four decades, they should be cautious of angering the hockey gods and holster the celebration plans. This thing is a long way from over.
Boston might be just two wins away from hockey immortality, but, then again, so is Vancouver.
The Bruins did everything they needed to in Games 3 and 4 to win. They stymied the Vancouver offense on both the defensive end and on special teams. They got another pair of unbelievable performances from netminder Tim Thomas. As predicted would need to happen, the Bruins offense was led by contributions from the secondary lines, a factor even more important now that Nathan Horton is out for the series with a concussion suffered early in Game 3. Even the Bruins power play has come to life, going 2-for-4 in Game 3 and 3-for-17 in the series after scoring just five power play goals in the 18 games of the previous rounds.
Fueled by the emotional high of two painful losses and a bite from the carnivorous Alexander Burrow, the Bruins got under the Canucks skin and rode that path to victory. They have rattled the Caunucks, who seemingly don’t have any answers for the Bruins. Boston, however, must now go back to Vancouver for Game 5 on Friday night, where they must steal a victory if they wish to sip from that infamous silver chalice sometime in the next week. Can they keep that fire burning away from the friendly confines of the TD Garden?
That is the funny thing about wins fueled by the emotional fire: That fire only burns for so long.
To make matter worse for the Bruins, after some of their antics in Games 3 and 4, the Canucks now have a fire of their own burning. They are exactly where the Bruins were last Monday night. Manhandled for two straight games, embarrassed, pissed off and back on their own turf. There is also the inescapable fact that, even though they have been outplayed for two straight games, on paper the Vancouver Canucks are still the far superior team. Will they continue to lick their wounds or bounce back as the Bruins once did and be that far superior team?
Nothing has been decided.
The Bruins do now know how to beat the Canucks as their relentless attack proved, while it can be argued whether or not the Canucks know how to beat the Bruins, given the B’s drastic change in style from Games 1 and 2 to Games 3 and 4. The fate of this series lies in the Bruins ability to continue to execute as they did in the last two contests and their ability to win the clichéd battle of will in the two of the next three games. After this week, it is their series to lose.
The talk from the Bruins in the press the last 60 days has been about how they have always believed in themselves despite the doubters and spent the entire season proving people wrong. This is their final test. Do as they have done for the past two games and we will have witnessed the birth of a new team. Don’t and it’s back to being the same old Bruins.
As good as the last two games were, the questions have not been answered. Even if things are going in their favor and it looks very promising, the Boston Bruins are not out of the woods just yet.
About the Author
Written by Matt Preston
I'm no Heminway or Haggerty, but keeping the dream alive, even if I'm pretty sure my Nana is my only follower. Self-deprecation is key, grammar is optional.