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Bruins Vs. Canucks, Game Four: Boston Looks To Build Off Confidence From Game Three Win, Even Series At 2

The Boston Bruins say that their defeat of the Vancouver Canucks in game three is a distant memory. 

Distant like a freshly vanquished boss in the latest release of Super Mario, maybe. 

After scoring just two goals in six-plus period in games one and two, it looked like the Bruins offensive woes would continue in game three, after Nathan Horton was rolled off the ice on a stretcher and Boston failed to tally a goal in the first period. But then the fireworks started.

Andrew Ference scored just 11 seconds into the second period. Mark Recchi followed with a power play goal minutes later. And Brad Marchand scored what he called the "prettiest goal of my life," a short-handed tour de force in which he beat all but one of the Canucks on the ice before beating Roberto Luongo, too. 

Boston would score five more goals after that, another on the power play and another on the penalty kill, ultimately upending Vancouver 8-1 before a sellout crowd of 17,565 that witnessed its first Stanley Cup Final game since the team moved to the TD Garden in 1995. 

"It's certainly nice to have the offensive output that we did," said Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid, who was a plus-one with two hits in game three, "but a win's a win and it doesn't matter if it was 8-1 or in overtime.

"Today's a fresh start, and we want to try to do some of the things that we did well but we also need to eliminate some of the mistakes because Timmy (Tim Thomas) had to make a lot of big saves."

McQuaid's point is a good one; the Bruins accumulated 75 penalty minutes in game three, not a tactic that's likely to increase their chances for success against an attack as consistently strong as Vancouver's. 

While nobody in the Boston room expects their eight-goal ways to be replicated, for a Bruins team that struggled to bury the puck in the first two games, putting up an 8-spot against one of the league's best goaltenders is definitely something that they can build off of. 

The high-octane offensive output may not continue, but if the Bruins keep getting strong efforts on special teams, they should be able to continue the success they had in game three. 

"The penalty kill's doing a great job right now," Marchand said. "Guys are blocking shots and taking chances away, and Danny Paille's been a huge part of that and not too many people are giving him credit. He's one of the best penalty killers in the league." 

That penalty kill, which struggled to an anemic 79.4% success rate in the Bruins' run through the Eastern Conference, has killed all but one of 17 Vancouver chances in this series - good for a 94.1% success rate. Its more impressive, considering Vancouver had been converting on 25.8% of their man-advantage chances heading into the series. The power play, which had been an eyesore in the first three series (5-for-61, or 8.2%) has broken through in the last two games, going 3-for-12 (25%) on the series. 

The boost the power play has provided Boston is evident, but their success 5-on-5 continues to be what they pride themselves on. Half of their eight goals were scored at even strength, but it was their work to draw penalties while playing at full strength that helped them earn the chances they got. 

"It does help," said winger Daniel Paille, who had five hits to accompany a short-handed goal and assist in the game three win, "but we know that every game is different and they're going to want to bounce back from that and we need to realize that it's not going to be that easy."

Boston will continue to need to bring a physical game to the ice to neutralize Vancouver's speed and skill through the neutral zone. The continued presence of Shawn Thornton in their lineup should help with that; it was Thornton's strength that drew a hooking penalty on Jeff Tambellini early in the second period of game three which Recchi converted into a goal with an attempted pass that went off Ryan Kesler's stick and into the Vancouver net.

Tyler Seguin will also be back in the lineup with Nathan Horton out for the rest of the playoffs. The Bruins lineup is sure to look a little bit different on account of all the personnel moves, but nobody in the room believes that this team isn't capable of winning three of their next four games. 

That's not to say that any of them think it will be easy. Vancouver has voiced their concern over the Bruins - and especially over Tim Thomas' - aggressive play, and the officials are sure to be on alert after chippy play dominated the second half of game three. 

But the Bruins are less concerned about that than they are the team across from them in the white sweaters. 

"We definitely expect a better game from them," said Paille. "I'm sure that they've looked at some things that we've done well to change their game, so I'm pretty sure that they're going to be ready to go for us."