Haggerty: Bruins earn redemption in Game 3

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Haggerty: Bruins earn redemption in Game 3

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON It would have been appropriate if a little Bob Marley melody filled the Bruins' dressing room after an exhausting 8-1 victory in Game 3 at TD Garden.

The Bruins showed some life in cutting Vancouvers series lead to 2-1. They avenged Maxim Lapierre and Alex Burrows targeting Patrice Bergeron in the first two games of the finals. And a bevy of Bs players hammered out notes to their very own Redemption Song in the process.

It wasnt the ultimate victory, of course. But all the Game 2 goats who let things skitter away in overtime showed their heart by beating the tar out of Vancouvers skaters on Monday night.

Andrew Ference, Zdeno Chara and Tim Thomas all of whom have lent a gigantic hand in pushing the B's to the brink of a Stanley Cup were culpable for the Alexandre Burrows goal 11 seconds into Game 2s overtime session, which gave Vancouver the victory and a 2-0 series lead.

But those same three took control of Game 3, a must-win at TD Garden.

Like good veteran leaders, they shut up, stepped up, and let their play do the talking in a gigantic way rather than dwelling on the past.

You learn lessons, you watch video and you do all those things to learn from mistakes, but you dont have a whole lot of baggage from previous games or previous shifts, said Ference. Its easy to say, but I think we have a team thats pretty good about just being pretty strong after you make a bad turnover or an ill-timed pass. Its up to us individually to just shake it off this time of year, and we did that.

Ference was perhaps the player of the game. He sparked on offense with a power-play goal, recorded six hits, and bullied the soft Sedin twins, who were mostly silent once again.

Chara tied for the team-lead with a plus-3 on the evening, assisted on a pair of Bostons goals and doled our four hits while playing with the nasty edge that was sometimes missing from him in the first two games.

Thomas was best Bruin of them all with his 40 saves and 12 showstoppers in the first period when the game was still scoreless. His 1-2 combination stops on Mason Raymond in the first period were a veritable clinic for goaltenders everywhere.

We needed to win this game to start turning back some momentum . . . to start to get us back into the series, said Thomas. Its baby steps. I wouldnt consider us right back in the series, but I wouldnt consider us out of the series, either.

But it wasnt just Ference, Chara and Thomas that claimed their own little redemption stories. The whole team redeemed themselves after looking a little stunned at the tail end of the first period of Game 3, following the despicable, irresponsibly late Aaron Rome hit on Nathan Horton.

Boston came up empty on the five-minute power play following the interference major, but they went right back to business in the final 40 minutes without Horton.

You always make mention of the guy thats gone to the hospital, said coach Claude Julien. Im sure . . . hed like to see the team win this hockey game. Its always something to motivate yourself with.

The Bs doled out 40 hits in a punishing contest that had the Canucks running scared more often than not, and both teams racked up eight misconducts and an unheard-of 145 penalty minutes in a Stanley Cup Final game.

The Bruins decided between the first and second periods that they would turn the game into a Garden gauntlet for Vancouver, and that is exactly what they while frustrating Ryan Kesler, the Sedins and the formerly impenetrable Roberto Luongo.

We have to play that way, said Mark Recchi, who scored a power-play goal in the second period. We play our best hockey when we play on the edge. We play that way, we play physical, were passionate about it and were involved.

That passion overtook Recchi and Milan Lucic, who taunted Maxim Lapierre and Burrows, respectively, by shoving their fingers into the Canucks' faces . . . a direct response to a) Burrows biting Patrice Bergeron in Game 1 (and getting away scot-free with no penalty from the NHL) and b) a maniacally grinning Lapierre waving his finger at Bergeron's mouth in Game 2, and then laughing about it with Burrows on the bench afterwards.

Julien had decried the Canucks' actions in his pregame meeting with the media Monday, saying they made a "mockery" of the game, and made it clear after the game that he wasn't happy with his own players for responding in kind . . . both in public, in his press conference, and in private, to the team. Lucic agreed, saying he and Recchi were "classless" for stooping to Vancouver's level.

Their postgame reaction only confirms that the Bruins get it in a way that the Canucks never will win, lose or draw.

Still, that physicality and passion is how they play when they're at their best, and it'swhy the Bruins were able to enjoy their first Stanley Cup Final victoryin the locker room after the game.

And though it was the customary post-win techno music that rang through the Bs dressing room after Game 3, Marley's "Redemption Song" certainly would have fit, too.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Khudobin happy to step in for Rask in an 'important game'

Khudobin happy to step in for Rask in an 'important game'

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – The Bruins' original plan was for Anton Khudobin to get one out of the four big games with playoff implications this week, so the fact he’s starting Saturday night vs. the Islanders in a do-or-die game is in keeping with that plan. 

But the 30-year-old Khudobin couldn’t have been planning on making the start vs. the Isles after the Bruins lost the first three games this week vs. Toronto, Ottawa and Tampa Bay, and have lost four in a row in regulation overall.

All of that changed on Friday when Tuukka Rask determined he couldn’t play due to a lower body issue. That leaves the Bruins backup goaltender preparing to start in the biggest game of the regular season. 

Coach Bruce Cassidy said there would still have been a discussion about going with Khudobin tonight based on the way things had gone for Rask over the past four games, but it would have been bold going with the backup over a theoretically healthy No. 1 goalie.

“It would have been a conversation to have with [Rask] based on his physical well-being. He’s not used to the workload, but at this time of year that’s just what happens sometimes,” said Cassidy of Rask, who had started three games in four days before tonight’s DNP. “It would have been a conversation. We were considering Anton for a game this week, and it just so happens that it worked out to be [against the Islanders].”

It’s a good thing that Khudobin has won his past four games  and is playing his best hockey of the season. He said he's determined to be at his best despite his last start coming 10 days ago in Calgary.

“We don’t know what’s going on there [with Tuukka], so I’m just taking it day-by-day,” said Khudobin, who has a solid .916 save percentage in his past five appearances for the Black and Gold. “I’m not thinking too far ahead. It’s always great to play. It’s a really important game, and it’s the time of year where every point is really important.

“I’ve played pretty good and the guys have played really well in front of me. We’ve gotten the wins, so that’s the most important thing. When you get the wins, of course, it always feels really good.”

The Bruins showed a lot of faith in Khudobin signing him to a two-year deal on July 1 to be Rask’s backup. For most of this season he struggled badly in that role while going back and forth to Providence. Still, all of that will be forgotten if Khudobin can battle and compete his way to winning against the Islanders and help stabilize a Bruins team that looks headed for another late-season fall amid a four-game losing streak. 

Saturday, March 25: Does NHL have star double-standard?

Saturday, March 25: Does NHL have star double-standard?

BROOKLYN, N.Y. - Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while getting no sleep till Brooklyn.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Mike Harrington with a good piece on the star treatment double-standard when the NHL’s best players misbehave on the ice.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker asks what is wrong with the San Jose Sharks as the playoffs beckon.  

*Claude Julien hasn’t had the impact that the Montreal Canadiens were hoping for, says the Hockey News.

*Hockey Canada is contemplating sending a “B team” to replace the NHL star players at the 2018 Olympic Games.

*Jarome Iginla is undecided on whether or not he’s going to retire after 20 Hall of Fame level seasons in the NHL.

*Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock has his eyes on the playoffs as the Leafs have carved out a temporary placement for themselves.

*With the Minnesota Wild in a bit of a limbo, Bruce Boudreau is urging his players to learn from their mistakes and ready to finish up strong.

*For something completely different: I hope this Justice League movie is good, but I have zero faith in Zak Snyder.