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

Bruins don't poll well in latest New England Sports survey

Bruins don't poll well in latest New England Sports survey

It’s no secret Bruins fans are getting fed up with a hockey team in decline, one that’s missed the playoffs each of the last two years. Now there are numbers to prove it.

Channel Media and Market Research, Inc. came out with its annual New England Sports survey,  tabulating responses from over 14,600 polled, and, according to the numbers, the Bruins are dropping in popularity, fan support and faith in the current management group.

The B’s are holding somewhat steady with 16 percent of voters listing them as their “favorite sports team” behind the Patriots (46 percent) and Red Sox (29 percent) while ahead of the Celtics and Revolution. Claude Julien also ranked ahead of John Farrell among the big four teams in the “coaches/manages most admired” category.

But after sitting at a relative high of ranking at 27 percent for “ownership performance” in 2014 -- they year after their trip to the Cup Finals against the Blackhawks -- the Bruins now rank dead last in that category at 2 percent, behind the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics and even the Revolution. Ouch, babe.

Also sitting at a lowly 2 percent is Bruins president Cam Neely in the “leadership performance” category. In "management performance," Neely has dropped from a solid 49 percent in 2014 to just 16 percent in this summer’s survey.

So B’s fans are clearly upset with a team that traded away Tyler Seguin, Johnny Boychuk, Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton, and has featured a decimated defense corps for each of the last two seasons. But do the B’s fans think that things are getting any better with prospects coming down the pipeline?

Not really.

In the “which team has done the best job making its product better.” category, the Patriots (35 percent) and Red Sox (31 percent) were resting at the top, with the Celtics (27 percent) a respectable third. The Bruins limped in at just 4 percent with a fan base that very clearly sees that, on paper, this upcoming season’s club doesn’t appear to be much better than last year's.

On top of that, only 13 percent of those surveyed believe the Bruins have gotten better over the last year, and 52 percent believe they’ve just gotten worse. A lowly 3 percent of those surveyed think the Bruins have the best chance of the five teams to bring a world championship back to Boston; the Patriots (79 percent), Red Sox (11 percent) and Celtics (5 percent) all ranked higher.

Finally, Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask and Jimmy Hayes were at the top of the list of the Boston athletes “who did not meet expectations” last season. None of that is a surprise, given the state of Boston’s defense along with Hayes’ subpar season.

The good news for the Bruins: They still have a passionate fan base. But they need to start reversing course immediately before they do lasting damage to the B’s brand.

Wednesday, August 24: B's dealing with post-Vesey aftermath

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Wednesday, August 24: B's dealing with post-Vesey aftermath

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading with the Olympics coming to a close . . .
 
-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kirk Luedeke sorts through the aftermath for the Bruins after losing out on Jimmy Vesey

-- Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland gave an interview where he said the Red Wings aren’t Stanley Cup contenders this season. 

-- Related to Holland’s comments, some of the media in Detroit aren’t taking the dose of reality all that well

-- It’s a big season for New Jersey Devils forward Kyle Palmieri, who will be starring for Team USA on the World Cup team. 

 -- PHT writer Cam Tucker says the Buffalo Sabres still have a strong group of forwards even without Jimmy Vesey.

-- Jamie Benn is giving everything to his Dallas Stars team, and that means that the World Cup of Hockey is taking a backseat
 
-- The Colorado Avalanche are nearing the end of their head coaching search as they look for their replacement for Patrick Roy.
 
-- For something completely different: NBC is making the argument that millenials watched the Olympics, but just not on the traditional formats