The Boston Bruins aim to tie the Stanley Cup Finals with a win over the Canucks.

The Vancouver Canucks know just how much one hit can change a series. 

In Round One of the playoffs, the Canucks had a cushy 3-0 series lead over the Chicago Blackhawks before a dirty hit by Raffi Torres on Brent Seabrook woke up the Blackhawks. The Canucks were then pushed to the brink before eliminating the Blackhawks in overtime of Game 7. 

In Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals, Aaron Rome lit up Nathan Horton and now both will miss the rest of the series (due to suspension and injury). The hit seemed to spark the Bruins, who went on to spank the Canucks 8-1. 

Can the Bruins keep momentum on their side and even up the series or will the Canucks rebound after getting embarrassed? 

The Vancouver Canucks Can Win Because…: 

They have been in this position multiple times in these playoffs.

Roberto LuongoOnce again, the Canucks came up with a shoddy effort and once again, they fired up their opponent with a dirty hit and once again, they lost a defenseman, which will likely get Keith Ballard out of the press box again. 

But the good news is they’ve lived through and survived it. 

The Canucks fired up the Blackhawks with a big hit but at the end of the day, they advanced. They’ve been the recipients of some rough efforts from goaltender Roberto Luongo these playoffs but he’s rebounded just fine and was even a Conn Smythe Trophy candidate prior to Game 3. And they’ve had to rely on Ballard before and he’s held his own. 

The Canucks had a similarly undisciplined effort in Game 3 against the San Jose Sharks when they took 10 penalties. They rebounded with a win on the road in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals. They’ll aim for the same in Game 4 after collecting a total of 70 penalty minutes in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals. 

They just need to get back to basics. For starters, they need to get their power play going, which has not been an advantage for them in this series as it was supposed to be. Secondly, they just need to keep firing away at Bruins netminder Tim Thomas because the more they shoot, the more rebounds and chances they’ll have to score. 

Game 3 aside, Boston’s offense has been challenged this series and now they’ll be without Nathan Horton. It might only take one or two goals for the Canucks to win this, but they just need to be disciplined, stick to the game plan and execute. 

The Boston Bruins Can Win Because…: 

Momentum is on their side and the Canucks blue line is a mess. 

Boston Bruins NHL Stalney CuoNot only did the Bruins get their offense going in Game 3, they also won’t have to face yet another Canucks defenseman for the rest of the series. 

Clearly, the loss of Aaron Rome is not equal to the loss of Nathan Horton when going on talent alone, but make no bones about it: losing Rome will be a blow to Vancouver. The Canucks supposedly have plenty of depth on the blue line but they are already without shutdown defender Dan Hamhuis, and rumor has it that he’s out for the series, and now Rome is gone too. That makes a mess of the pairings, which is partially why the Canucks gave up eight goals. 

On top of that, Canucks forward Ryan Kesler, who finished as minus-3 in Game 3, appears to be dealing with a leg injury that has clearly slowed him down. 

In one game, the Bruins have managed to steal the momentum (a Game 3 victory that I predicted) of the series and with Game 4 at home, a win could really put the heat on the Canucks when the series shifts back for Game 5. 

Even the Bruins power play is clicking, scoring three times on 13 opportunities in the series while the Canucks unit is just one-for-16. On top of that, the Canucks power play gave up a pair of shorthanded goals in Game 3. 

Boston needs to keep doing more of the same and this series could very well be tied up after Game 4.

Outlook & NHL Betting Prediction: 

Game 3 was an aberration and we’re not likely to see other team runaway with Game 4. Emotions boiled over and tempers flared in Game 3 and both teams’ performance was uncharacteristic. 

The NHL odds boards are listing the Bruins as favorites tonight, and if they look like half the team they were in Game 3, this game will easily go in their favor. Craig Tattan has backed the Bruins throughout the NHL playoffs, and his NHL Free pick for the tonight is no different. He feel that the momentum has finally swung, and while it is unlikely to be another blowout, the Bruins should control Game 4.

Vancouver won’t be as sloppy in Game 4 but even so, it just feels like Boston has arrived in the Cup finals and they won’t be caving in at home. This is still a must win for Boston and backstopped by a confident Tim Thomas, look for them to even the series up in a tight affair. 

Pick: Boston