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.