Despite Vancouver's dominant puck management in Game One and for stretches in Game Two, this is a 2-0 series primarily on defensive miscues. Vancouver's (injured) defense has been solid and Luongo doesn't get enough credit as is, but Vancouver's neutral zone game and forecheck have created this do-or-die situation for Boston. For the second straight game Julien has split his top pairing to manage their minutes and it's come back to haunt him both times. Thanks to Burrows' PP tally in the first period of Game Two, Boychuk extended his streak to eight straight games being on the ice for a Bruins goal against. His linemate Ference coughed up the puck on both Burrows' goals two nights ago. There's still no trust in Kaberle (12:25 TOI in Game Two) and then there is the physical toll that Chara is receiving. Along with Vancouver's neutral zone dominance, how Julien manages his pairings at home is the biggest story heading into game three.
That of course assumes it'll be another close contest. The crowd alone - the segment that isn't lighting the Green Men on fire - may be enough to spark up guys like Bergeron (1A), Krejci (1A), Marchand (0 pts), Horton (0 pts) or Ryder (0 pts). If you thought Rome looked out of his element in parts of Game Two, you may want to save the time and blind yourself now. I'd love to feign amazement at Ballard at this point, but who am I kidding? That version of Alberts was a sight for sore eyes; it'd be nice if his play allows Ehrhoff to make a difference at the other end, especially if the Bruins snuff out the Sedins. Malhotra's return gives Vigneault some fourth line breathing room (instead of running for the nearest toilet when Bolduc hops over the boards) and the shift distribution should be obvious by the third period (again). If anyone sees our power play anywhere, tell them it's missed and we've left cookies and milk in the kitchen for when it returns.
If you can't beat 'em in the alley, you can't beat 'em on the ice.- Conn Smythe
Experience is a hard teacher and class ain't over yet. Boston learned the hard way already this spring that they can crawl out of the holes they've dug for themselves. Vancouver learned the hard way already this spring to never underestimate how quickly momentum can go tits up on them.
Weather the storm, manage the puck and make us proud.
Now more than ever: earn this.