By Danny Picardand Joe Haggerty
BOSTON -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; a:link, span.MsoHyperlink color: blue; text-decoration: underline; a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed color: purple; text-decoration: underline; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; Following Wednesday nights Game 4 win over the Vancouver Canucks, the Bruins were dealt quite the surprise in the dressing room.
Injured forward Nathan Horton who is out for the rest of the series after suffering a concussion in Game 3 gave his team a surprise visit, and presented Rich Peverley with the teams player of the game jacket.
The jacket had been hanging in Hortons locker since he won it in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The team kept it hanging in his stall after Game 3, and they were prepared to keep it hanging there for the rest of the series.
But Horton insisted that Peverleys two-goal performance on Wednesday night was worthy.
No one was expecting to see him tonight, said Peverley. I think everyone was super excited, hes an integral part of this team and, you know, obviously one of the best players the whole playoffs. So you know everyone was really excited to see him.
I was very, very happy to see Nathan up and around in the locker room, said Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas. I wasnt exactly sure of his status. You know, Id heard that he was okay, but then I heard it was a severe concussion. I didnt know if okay meant hes going to live or . . .
When I personally got to see him in the locker room, you know, I was incredibly happy and it gave me a big boost, said Thomas. He was there to pass the jacket on. We didn't pass the jacket on the last game with him gone. I think the team would have been happy leaving it with Horty for the rest of this series, but he wanted to give it away and keep the tradition going that we'd started.
The chippy, post-whistle play continued in Game 4, and it reached its boiling point in the final minutes of the third when Thomas slashed Vancouver pest Alex Burrows, who then turned around and exchanged several punches with the Bruins goaltender.
But afterwards, it turned out that Thomas was fed up with the Canucks trying to knock his stick out of his hands, which Burrows tried to do moments before Thomas hacked him in the back of the legs.
They did it a couple of times on the power play in the first period also, said Thomas. I don't know who it was, I was focused on the puck. That was like the third time that he'd hit my butt end on that power play. The game was getting down toward the end, so I thought I'd give him a little love tap and let him know, I know what you're doing, but I'm not going to let you do it forever.
So that's all that was. It was a typical battle.
Thomas finished the game with 38 saves and recorded his fourth career playoff shutout, and third of this postseason.
It's indicative of the way he's had to battle to get here, number one, said coach Claude Julien after the win. Anybody that knows the story of Tim Thomas, he's taken a real bumpy road to get to the NHL. He's had so many obstacles in front of him that he's overcome, it makes him a battler, it makes him the perfect goaltender for our organization because that's what we are, we're a blue-collar team that goes out and works hard and earns every inch of the ice that you can get.
Tim fits well in regards to that. Again, the way he battles, he never quits on any pucks, even to the point where he can let a bad goal in every once in a while or a couple in a game, and you know that when the game is on the line he's going to be standing on his head again because he battles through it.
Brad Machand scored the Bruins third goal of the night, putting a loose puck upstairs to give the Bs a 3-0 lead in the second period. It moved him into the NHLs postseason rookie scoring lead with eight goals and seven assists for 15 points. The eight goals tie a Bruins club rookie record for goals in a playoffyear (set by Mike Krushelnyski in 1983 and tied by Bobby Joycein 1988).
After sitting Game 3, Tyler Seguin was back in the Bruins lineup in Game 4, recording an assist on Michael Ryders goal that put the Bs up 2-0. He finished the game as a plus-one, but his call to duty came with mixed emotions, as the rookie realized he may have only been back in the lineup because one of their best forwards was injured.
Its a tough situation losing one of your best players and you get a tap on the shoulder, said Seguin. But I was prepared and ready. Anywhere I was playing I wanted to take advantage of it.
I just wanted to seize the opportunity. I wanted to show that I can face adversity and try to overcome it. I thought I was more involved tonight than I had been the first two Vancouver games. One of the most overlooked aspects of the Bruins throughout the Stanley Cup Final has been their fabulously effective work by the penalty kill on a Vancouver Canucks power play that had done major damage during the regular season and the playoffs. The Bs have done a commendable job frustrating the Sedin Twins and Ryan Kesler in all situations, and have held Vancouver to a 1-for-22 on the man advantage in the Cup Finals.That number is actually downright Bruins-ian and illustrated how large a focus has been placed on shutting down Vancouvers special-teams units with speedy, efficient penalty killing combined with warriors like Dennis Seidenberg and Zdeno Chara engaging in hand-to-hand combat in front of the net.We obviously tried to play our game and win a lot of the races and battles on the penalty kill, said Zdeno Chara. We did a pretty good job of that in Game Four.
Bruins scored eight goals with No. 8 Cam Neely as their honorary captain for Game Three, and four goals Wednesday night with No. 4 Bobby Orr night serving as the teams honorary captain. No telling who the Bruins might choose to be their honorary captain in a Game Six at TD Garden, but Bruins Nation is petitioning for a higher number.Bruins fans are once again invited to show their support for the team as it departs TD Garden on Thursday morning for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final in Vancouver. The going away party is set to happen at 11 a.m. in the parking lot adjacent to the Garden.Marchand said it wasnt just the Canucks who were paying a physical toll for the way both squads were throwing bodies into each other and playing with the reckless abandon that the Cup Finals is all about. The Bruins are also paying a price, and it will be a battle to see which team eventually wins out.It takes a toll on both teams, said Marchand. It just seems both teams are playing very physical right now, and there are a lot of guys with bumps and bruises that are being worn down. We just want to continue to use our bodies and keep pushing forward, and be willing to sacrifice our bodies. Hopefully it will wear their guys down a little more than us, but well see.Peter Chiarelli confirmed that there was no chance Horton would be traveling with the team to Vancouver on Thursday. The big right winger will continue recuperating at home.
Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo was pulled from Game 4, just 3:39 into the third period, after Peverley scored his second goal of the night to put the Bruins up 4-0.
Luongo made only 20 saves on the night.
It was a tough one, said Luongo. I mean were obviously looking, if you look at the goals it went off something and in.Right now we are obviously not getting the breaks, its just a matter of staying focused.Obviously, we got home-ice advantage for a reason so we got to regroup here, make sure come Game 5 at home that we come out and play the type of game we want to be playing.
I would say they were probably the hungrier team the last two games . . . Usually in this game you make your own breaks.Obviously, we havent had many the last two games. Im sure after the first two games they were complaining they didnt get any breaks, so its playoff hockey, things are going to happen. I think the main thing is that its the way you respond. Obviously right now we are in a situation, were tied at two and heading home so its not time for us to put our head down, its time for us to make sure that we get doing the things they weve been doing that makes us successful.
Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard