Hockey Night In Canada Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011

Bruins happy to be home

Categories: Boston Bruins, Stanley Cup Final, VAN vs. BOS, Vancouver Canucks

Story Tools

Nathan Horton (18) of the Boston Bruins celebrates his third period goal with fans in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final on May 27 in Boston. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images) Nathan Horton (18) of the Boston Bruins celebrates his third period goal with fans in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final on May 27 in Boston. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
The Bruins are happy to be returning to TD Garden for Game 3 and 4, not only to be in front of their fans, but to take advantage of last change and faceoffs.

Before overtime, Claude Julien didn't know which line Alain Vigneault would start -- either his first line with Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, and Alex Burrows, or the second line of Chris Higgins, Ryan Kesler, and Mason Raymond.

So like he did for the starts of the first and second periods, Julien sent out his No. 2 line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and Mark Recchi for the first shift of overtime. He also rolled out Zdeno Chara, like he did for the start of the first and second. But instead of pairing Chara with Dennis Seidenberg, his usual partner, Julien tabbed Andrew Ference.
Vigneault countered with his No. 1 line, Alex Edler, and Sami Salo. Had the Bruins gotten the puck deep on the first shift, Ference would have gone to the bench and switched with Seidenberg.

That never happened.

Edler picked off Ference's pass. Daniel Sedin hit Burrows up the ice. In 11 seconds, the game was over.

At home, the Bruins will have last change, which should allow Julien to get the matchups he prefers.

"It's about mixing and matching. I'm going to have a better opportunity here in these next two games of having more of my say in regards to that," Julien said. "We had to change on the fly sometimes yesterday. Even our D pairings, we'd have one from each pairing. Depending on who they put out there, instead of having two D's coming off, you'd only have one. That's what you've got to do on the road."

In theory, the Bruins should also perform better on faceoffs at the Garden, where the Vancouver draw men must put their sticks down first. The Bruins went 24 for 45 on the draw in Game 2 (53 percent). They'll have to do better against Manny Malhotra, who won six of his seven faceoffs.

Bruins need more from Chara

Although Burrows rolled past Chara for the overtime game-winner, the Boston captain wasn't entirely at fault for the goal. After Ference's turnover, Chara, the left-side defenseman, had to scurry to his right to cut down Burrows's angle. Burrows was coming with too much speed for Chara to hold up. Had Thomas not played Burrows so aggressively at first, he might have been able to recover to seal off the wraparound attempt.

That said, Game 2 did not feature Chara at his finest.

In the first period, Chara took an unnecessary interference penalty on Kesler. The puck was gone when Chara shoved Kesler to the ice at 10:24. At 12:12, Burrows scored a power-play goal to give the Canucks a 1-0 lead.

In the third, the Bruins held a 2-1 lead. But Chara couldn't corral a puck deep in the defensive zone. After Chara failed to settle the puck, Daniel Sedin recovered it and hit Edler at the point. Once Edler put a shot on goal, Burrows found the rebound and dished to Sedin for the tying goal at 9:37.

Chara was on the ice for 28:12, most of any player. Chara assisted on Mark Recchi's power-play goal in the second. He had one shot, had four others blocked, landed one hit, and blocked two shots.

"It's not about Zdeno," Julien said. "Zdeno didn't lose the game for us tonight. Our whole team did. I don't think we played very well, to what our standards are all about. The decision-making, the puck management -- that's what's costing us games. When you turn pucks over in the neutral zone, this is a team that thrives on that. We know they thrive on it. Yet we kept turning pucks over in the neutral zone. We have to be a little better in those areas."

Fourth line equals spare parts

During the regular season, Julien leaned heavily on his fourth line for key minutes. While other coaches often trimmed their rosters to three lines -- New York's John Tortorella might be the best example -- Julien stuck to his philosophy of rolling four lines,
Marchand, Gregory Campbell, and Shawn Thornton started the season as the go-to fourth line. After Marchand was promoted to the No. 2 threesome, Daniel Paille filled his spot as the No. 4 left wing alongside Campbell and Thornton.

But in the playoffs, Julien hasn't been as liberal with his ice time for the fourth line. Thornton has been a healthy scratch since Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final. Rich Peverley has started each game as the No. 4 right wing. But Peverley has taken several even-strength shifts in Recchi's spot, and also seen power-play time.

The losers have been Campbell and Paille, who have been reduced to shorthanded specialists. In Game 2, Paille had only 3:28 of even-strength ice time. Campbell logged 3:08 of five-on-five time. Paille recorded two shots and two hits in 4:19 of total ice time. Campbell's only contribution to the scoresheet was one takeaway and one faceoff win in 4:18 of duty.

In contrast, Vancouver's fourth line made the most of its minutes. Malhotra was dynamite on the draw (86 percent) in 7:26 of ice time. Jeff Tambellini had one shot and four hits in 5:50. Victor Oreskovich also had one shot and four smacks in 6:20.

To jack up his fourth line's presence, Julien could dress Thornton for Game 3. However, that would most likely mean a healthy scratch for Tyler Seguin. The 19-year-old lit up the Lightning in Game 2 when he exploded for two goals and two assists. Seguin hasn't scored since then. Seguin didn't record a shot in 8:46 of work, although he set an important screen on Roberto Luongo that led to Recchi's power-play goal.