Last night the Boston Bruins dismantled and humiliated the Vancouver Canucks with an 8-1 victory in Boston. Of course, that victory had to come on the same day that we posted a “the Vancouver Canucks are not going to let this series slip away from them” piece. Shows how much we know.
But have the Canucks actually allowed this series to slip away from them? Was last night a turning point? Or was it simply the last gasp from a motivated Bruins team?
To say that the Boston Bruins played a much better game last night would be an understatement. Even without looking at the final score, you could tell that they had improved just by watching the play. For the most part, they dictated the flow of the game. They hit when they needed to, they scored when they needed to and they defended their own net much more than in the first two games.
It was exactly what the Boston Bruins needed to do.
But can they keep it up?
In the past we’ve mentioned how teams rally around moments to motivate themselves. There’s no doubt that the Aaron Rome hit on Nathan Horton was one of these moments for the Bruins.
“I know we talked about it — the fact that Horty was in the hospital right now probably hoping that we would win the game,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien.
“There wasn’t a lot of talk It was more of, let’s make sure we do this for Horty. Horty has been a great team mate for us all year. Let’s get this win for him tonight,” said Mark Recchi.
Many equated the moment with the Raffi Torres hit on Brent Seabrook in the first round. After that game, the Blackhawks won three straight to force a game seven in Vancouver. They certainly used that moment to inspire themselves.
However, they still lost the series.
Motivation can be a powerful thing. It can make previously disorganized teams get their act together and work as a united group. It can cause players to play above their talent level and overachieve at the right time. It can turn everyone’s compete level up a notch.
But, as in almost every seven game series, true talent eventually wins out. Yes, the Canucks could crumble and fall apart after this game, but if they could hold off the surging Blackhawks in round one and come out victorious, they can do the same against the Bruins.
Boston has to ensure that they do not give the Canucks a moment of rest in game four. They simply cannot allow Vancouver a shot at turning this around. The Canucks are more confident than they have previously been and they understand what it takes to win. If these two teams play another tight, close game on Wednesday – a game like games one and two – the Canucks will be victorious.
Just sticking with the play and having a competitive performance will let the Canucks know that they’re back in this series – a series that they still lead 2-1.
If they allow the Bruins to dictate the play once again… this could be a long series.