Bruins arrive home hoping for another big postseason rally
Reporting from Boston
After losing the first two games of the Stanley Cup finals at Vancouver, the Boston Bruins returned home looking for a big turnaround.
They have been down this path before — they rallied after losing the first two games at home to Montreal in the first round — but the Canucks are deeper and better, and the odds against a rally are daunting.
Of the 34 home teams that previously won the first two games of the Cup finals, 32 went on to claim Lord Stanley’s trophy. Most recently, the Pittsburgh Penguins lost the first two games at Detroit in 2009 and came back to win in seven games.
As they prepare for Game 3 on Monday at TD Garden, the Bruins are counting on an emotional lift from fans who haven’t seen them lift the Cup since 1972 and haven’t seen a finals game in Boston since 1990.
“We need it. We definitely need it,” Bruins winger Milan Lucic said Sunday. “We need to feed off their energy, we need to feed off their emotion.”
The Bruins could be emotionally deflated after losing Game 1 on a goal by Raffi Torres with 18.5 seconds left in the third period and dropping Game 2 on a goal by Alex Burrows 11 seconds into overtime. Lucic said he and his teammates see this as a time to band together, not fall apart.
“I think the team chemistry we’ve been able to create all year is we have each other’s backs as players and the coaches have our backs and we have their backs,” he said. “And I think it goes to show the maturity of our team is, you’ve played 102 games up to this point.
“We’re not going to give up now. We haven’t given up. If we would have given up we would have gave up against Montreal in the first round, so we’re definitely not going to give up now.”
Differences of opinion
One coach’s definition of physicality is another coach’s definition of a cheap shot.
Both teams have taken the body vigorously, and players are nursing an assortment of bruises. Vancouver defenseman Dan Hamhuis suffered an undisclosed injury in Game 1 that kept him out of his team’s 3-2 victory Saturday, and teammate Kevin Bieksa was briefly hobbled in the third period of Game 2.
Canucks center Ryan Kesler was hammered by Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk early in Game 2 and got up slowly, but he returned to normal duty.
The Bruins were credited with 31 hits in each of the first two games at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena, and the Canucks were credited with 30 in Game 1 and 40 in Game 2. That included a game-high six by defenseman Andrew Alberts, who replaced Hamhuis.
Bruins Coach Claude Julien promised no letup in the banging and crashing. If that wears out the Canucks, he is fine with that.
“What we have to continue is to bring that part of our game to the table every night. It has been part of our makeup,” he said. “If that’s the case, so be it.”
Canucks Coach Alain Vigneault bristled at the suggestion that his team was being outplayed in that end of the game and said Bieksa was hurt on a dirty play by Boston’s Rich Peverley.
“Kevin didn’t get hit by Peverley, he got a cheap shot in the back of the knee, so that’s totally different. He went down because of something that obviously you don’t want to see in the game,” Vigneault said.
“But at the end of the day, we know that they’re a big, physical team. We can play a speed game, but we can also play a physical-type game, which I think we’ve shown throughout the playoffs.”
Go beyond the scoreboard
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