If the Bruins intended to get even with the Vancouver Canucks for the violent hit that ended Nathan Horton's season in Game 3, they did it in the most worthwhile way possible.
They got even in the series.
Rich Peverley, who replaced Horton on the first line, scored twice, Brad Marchand and Michael Ryder also scored, and the Bruins tied their Stanley Cup Final series with the Canucks at two games apiece with a 4-0 victory tonight at TD Garden.
The Bruins took a 1-0 lead in the first period on Peverley's third goal of the playoffs, added two more in the second, and chased beleaguered goalie Roberto Luongo in the third on Peverley's second tally.
Luongo stopped 16 of 20 shots before being relieved by Cory Schneider at 3:39 of the third period. Luongo, who gave up all eight goals in Boston's 8-1 victory in Game 3, has allowed goals on 11 of the last 44 shots he has faced in this series.
Meanwhile, his Bruins counterpart, Tim Thomas, stopped all 37 shots he faced in another performance that was both steady and spectacular.
The Bruins, led by tireless defensemen Dennis Seidenberg and Zdeno Chara, again shut down the high-scoring Sedin twins, Daniel and Henrik, who combined for 198 points in the regular season. And Vancouver's power play was 0 for 5, meaning it is now 1 for 21 in this series after converting at a 24.3 percent rate during the regular season.
With little more than a minute remaining, Thomas got the crowd roaring by whacking the Canucks' Alex Burrows with his stick as he set up near the crease. Burrows, of course, was the Canuck who bit the Bruins' Patrice Bergeron during Game 1, then flaunted the fact that he got away with it after scoring the winning goal in Game 2.
The message has been sent: The Bruins aren't putting up with the Canucks' antics anymore.
Game 5 is Friday in Vancouver.
Final score: Bruins 4, Canucks 0: And the Bruins get even with their second straight sensational performance. Rich Peverley scores twice, David Krejci has two assists, and Tim Thomas stops 37 shots as the Bruins head back to Vancouver tied at 2-2. We'll be back with more right here in a moment . . .
18:09: Tim Thomas makes his feelings clear about Canucks pest Alex Burrows, whacking him in the leg with his stick as the Vancouver forward sets up in front of the net. Burrows got a few swings in on Thomas before Dennis Seidenberg planted him on the ice. Bruins fans are unanimous in their approval.
17:33: Good scrap going between Chara and Christian Ehrhoff after Brad Marchand flips Daniel Sedin along the boards. Keith Ballard gets the rest of the night off after coming after Marchand. Adam McQuaid was also in the middle of the fun.
11:07: Bruins will have a man advantage for 1:11 in eight seconds when Recchi comes out of the box. Ryan Kesler is off for slashing.
9:14: Mark Recchi sent off for high sticking Kevin Bieksa, who acts like he lost at least three eyeballs on the play.
7:00: Great stat you might have just heard on Versus: On 5-on-5 hockey this postseason, the Bruins are plus-25, the Canucks minus-2.
3:39 third period, Bruins 4, Canucks 0: The Bruins' first line has mercifully put an end to Roberto Luongo's night. Rich Peverley scores his second of the game, essentially crashing the puck into the net after Milan Lucic threw it on net while breaking in along the right boards. David Krejci made the play happen, chipping it ahead to Lucic and sending him on his way. Luongo was pulled, much to the crowd's satisfaction, after giving up four goals on 20 shots, with former BC netminder Cory Schneider coming in in relief.
2:43: Michael Ryder makes a terrific defensive play to poke the puck away from Mason Raymond as he breaks in on Thomas. Fine all-around game for No. 73 tonight.
0:52, third period: Henrik Sedin sent off for slashing as Rich Peverley stickhandles into the offensive zone. Looked like he was falling down anyway. Bruins are 0 for 1 on the power play.
Second intermission: Couple of quick stats: The Bruins have eight players who are plus-one, while Chara and Seidenberg are plus-two. No one is in the minus category . . . Seidenberg and Chara have combined to play 33 minutes with 20 shifts apiece. . . Chris Kelly has won 7 of 11 faceoffs . . . Ryan Kesler has won 12 of 18 and Maxim Lapierre 8 of 9 for Vancouver . . . Seidenberg has a team-high four hits and is tied with Boychuk with two blocked shots . . . Vancouver is 0 for 3 on the power play tonight and 1 of 19 in the series. Vancouver converted 24.3 percent of its power plays during the regular season.
End of second period, Bruins 3, Canucks 0: The second period comes to a close on another savvy play by Daniel Paille to clear the puck out of the zone on the power play, and the Bruins take a three-goal lead and all the momentum into the locker room. The Bruins scored three goals on 12 shots in the period and have now outscored the Canucks in the second period over the past two games, 6-0. The penalty kill has been outstanding, Tim Thomas has stopped all 25 shots he's seen, and three different players have scored. Pretty much the way Claude drew it up, no?
18:49: Boychuk sent to the box for delay of game.
15:01: My colleague Kevin Paul Dupont points out that Luongo has allowed 11 goals in the last 4 1/2 periods. That's also 11 of the last 44 shots he's faced. If you wondered why such a talented goalie has reputation for getting rattled at times, you're seeing why now.
13:29 second period, Bruins 3, Canucks 0: Suddenly, Roberto Luongo has to be having Game 3 flashbacks. The Bruins score their second goal in little more than two minutes when Marchand takes a chip in front from Bergeron and backhands it high glove-side past the Canucks goalie. Bergeron made the play happen, first beating Henrik Sedin in a battle for the puck along the boards, then hustling over to beat Ehrhoff to the loose puck. The goal came in a 4 on 4 situation after Peverley and Andrew Alberts were in the box on matching penalties.
11:11 second period, Bruins 2, Canucks 0: And the Bruins get what could be the pivotal second goal . . . and Canucks fans will probably regard it as a softy. Michael Ryder fires a quick wrister just inside the left faceoff circle that zips under Luongo's glove. It was a pinpoint shot by Ryder, but Luongo had a good look; it didn't appear as though the goalie was screened. Tyler Seguin, who made the cross-ice pass to the open Ryder, picks up an assist, as does Chris Kelly. The goal is Ryder's seventh of the playoffs.
10:40: Another strong shift for Paille-Campbell-Thornton.
10:08: Chara with a bomb from the high slot that Luongo covers. As the goalie juggles the puck, Marchand gets a few jabs in on a fallen Henrik Sedin. No word if Daniel also felt the pain.
7:41: Mason Raymond sent off for high sticking, putting the Bruins on the power play for the first time tonight.
7:41: Hard to believe, but Vancouver is outshooting the Bruins, 20-7. The Canucks were credited with three blocked shots in the first period, but it seemed like more.
7:16: Recchi chips one from the left circle to Bergeron in front, but he can't get his stick on it. Had he been able to, it might have been 2-0 given Luongo's late reaction.
5:14: Tomas Kaberle with a good bid on Luongo.
3:21: Strong shift for the fourth line, particularly Thornton, who is hitting anything in blue, green, and white.
Start of second period, Bruins 1, Canucks 0: Curious to see if the Canucks come out flying or if the Bruins continue to essentially impose their will.
End of the first period, Bruins 1, Canucks 0: The crowd roars its approval after the Bruins take the advantage into the first intermission. The Canucks are outshooting the Bruins, 12-6, but Tim Thomas has been outstanding, the Bruins' chances have been of high quality, and Zdeno Chara is leading a Boston defensive corps that is punishing the Sedins at every opportunity. Hard to believe anyone in the Bruins locker room would have complaints about the first 20 minutes of this one.
18:41: Bruins kill off Vancouver's second power play of the game. Boychuk with a big hit, and Sami Salo failing to keep the puck in the zone a minute into it led to it stalling.
16:10: Marchand called for cross-checking Kevin Bieksa. Not saying he dove, but it's either that or he's on roller skates out there.
14:46: Tyler Seguin, using his speed to put the Canucks on their heels, nearly hits Ryder in stride at the left post. Nothing comes of it, but it's a flash of brilliance out of the kid.
11:43 first period, Bruins 1, Canucks 0: And suddenly, Claude Julien looks pretty shrewd for putting Peverley on the first line. Sent in on a beautiful pass chipped ahead by David Krejci, he beats Luongo five-hole. Chara also picked up an assist. For Krejci, its his 10th assist and 21st point of the playoffs, while the goal is Peverley's third of the postseason. Pretty much everyone in the building not wearing a Canucks jersey is chanting, "Loooo-on-go! Loooo-on-go!" They're not saying "Youuk."
11:37: Marc Savard gets a nice hand when he's shown on the scoreboard.
9:42:The Bruins kill the penalty, then pepper Luongo immediately after Ryder hopped out of the box. Decent looks were blocked by Maxim Lapierre and Keith Ballard before they got to the goalie. Bruins are playing with great energy.
8:34: Marchand grabs Henrik Sedin by the back of his jersey during a break in the action. Sedin wobbles backward. When an official approaches Marchand, the Bruins pest wobbles backward to mock Sedin, then does it again in front of the Bruins bench. He's in full-nuisance form tonight.
6:58: First penalty of the night -- Michael Ryder sent off for tripping Ryan Kesler. Looked legit from here.
5:37: After a sequence in which the Canucks hit the post and a close-range bid by Henrik Sedin is smothered by a sprawling Thomas, Chara belts the Canucks captain to the ice, then gives him a "stay down" shove when he tries to get up. If any further evidence were required that the Bruins think that physical play will get to the Sedins, that should cover it.
4:36: Luongo deflects away a blast from just inside the blue line by Michael Ryder off a Krejci feed.
3:01: Peverley has been active so far on the first line, a moment ago digging the puck out of the corner and feeding David Krejci for a backhander that nearly fooled Luongo.
2:11: Daniel Paille, who played a superb Game 3, gets the crowd roaring with a hit on Victor Oreskovich on the backcheck.
1:01: Henrik Sedin with the first shot of the night, and it's a decent chance from the slot after both Bruins defensemen play the pass, but Thomas stops it with no suspense.
Start of the first period, Bruins 0, Canucks 0: Scoreboard shows a fan wearing Nathan Horton's No. 18. Judging by the reaction, this crowd is beyond ready.
Starting lineups: The Canucks start the Chris Higgins-Ryan Kesler-Mason Raymond line, with Ballard and Kevin Bieksa on defense. Roberto Luongo is in net.
For the Bruins, it's the Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Mark Recchi line, with Andrew Ference and Johnny Boychuk on defense. Tim Thomas is in goal, and for now, Vigneault, in his crease.
No. 4 it is: The scoreboard introduces tonight's fan banner captain as "The Most Revolutionary Talent in Hockey History." Let's just say it ain't Gretzky they're talking about. Bobby Orr has the building roaring. (My colleague Fluto Shinzawa points out that Orr was waving a Nathan Horton banner. Horton is a client of Orr's.)
Pregame: Couple of lineup changes: Rich Peverley, who has two goals and seven assists in 21 games this postseason, will replace Nathan Horton on the Bruins' top line, joining David Krejci and Milan Lucic. As expected, both Tyler Seguin and Shawn Thornton are active. For the visitors, Tanner Glass, a former Dartmouth standout who has 18 penalty minutes in 16 games this postseason, is in for Jeff Tambellini. Veteran defenseman Keith Ballard is in the lineup for the suspended Aaron Rome.
Stay tuned for No. 4 momentarily . . .
Hello from TD Garden, where as you may have heard, the Boston Bruins will try to even their Stanley Cup Final series with the Vancouver Canucks tonight at two games apiece.
The Bruins routed the Canucks in Game 1 -- seven different players scored on beleaguered goalie Roberto Luongo in Boston's 8-1 victory -- and the buzz from that victory is still palpable. Bruins fans are ready, few more so than the fan behind the Canucks net who is holding up an enlarged photo of Brad Marchand's highlight-reel shorthanded goal in Game 3. There's your early front-runner for fan of the game.
The Canucks have engaged in some gamesmanship leading in to tonight's match. Coach Alain Vigneault revealed he complained to league officials about Bruins goalie Tim Thomas's penchant for straying out of the crease. Presumably one of the league officials Vigneault spoke to reminded him that Thomas was well within his own territory when he clocked Canucks forward Daniel Sedin in Game 3.
Nathan Horton is of course out for the Bruins, having suffered a severe concussion on a violent hit by Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome early in Game 3. Horton, whose headaches have lessoned, according to general manager Peter Chiarelli, is out for the remainder of the series. So is Rome, who was slapped with a four-game suspension, but it's hardly an eye for an eye. Horton, who will probably be replaced on the Bruins' top line by Michael Ryder (goal, two assists in Game 3), is second on the Bruins in goals this postseason (8). Rome is a sixth defenseman who is expected to be replaced by arguably a superior player, Keith Ballard.
If you're wondering which Bruins legend will unveil the fan banner tonight -- Cam Neely did the honors before Game 3 -- there have been sightings of a guy who used to wear No. 4 in the building tonight. How they'd top Bobby Orr for a presumed Game 6 at the Garden is anyone's guess, but for tonight's crucial Game 4, it's probably wise to lean on the good karma of No. 4
Thanks for checking in, and stay right here for updates throughout the game.