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It's fairly safe to say that the Boston Bruins spent Games 3 and 4 playing excellent hockey.
I mean, just look at the scores. There's no arguing with 8-1 and 4-0. Clearly, the Canucks are melting down and tired and plagued with injuries and too soft to handle the Bruins' super-manly style of play. There are just too many Europeans and French Canadians on that team to compete.
With three games left to go in this 2-all series, the Vancouver Canucks are dead in the water, and the Cup is the Bruins' for the taking.
So we've been led to believe, and we've been given no evidence to the contrary.
Or perhaps — and this is just spitballin' — the big factor in this series isn't that the Canucks have been physically intimidated into getting outscored 12-1 over the last 120 minutes of hockey but rather that last line change for the home team has been massively, massively important.
The obvious storyline, especially as peddled by talking heads like Mike Milbury, is that the Sedins haven't been seen in two games. Makes sense. No points, right? That's what they get paid for. And it's because the Bruins have completely changed their attitude, and not at all because the Bruins have been able to match lines when they had last change. Nothing else could possibly explain how they went from dominating Games 1 and 2 to getting called Thelma and Louise (not that they were sisters, let alone twins) on national TV.
Remember when the Sedins had that famous disappearing act against Nashville, allowing Ryan Kesler to take over the series and, briefly, the Conn Smythe conversation? Why did everyone decide that was?
Oh, they were getting matched up against Suter and Weber, and shooting on Pekka Rinne.
It's entirely arguable that the pairing of Chara and Seidenberg, of whom the Sedins saw shockingly little in Games 1 and 2, is at least as good as — and probably better than — Nashville's top pairing. It is not in any way arguable that Tim Thomas is better than Pekka Rinne.
Look at the head-to-head ice time. The Sedins have two combined points in this series (both of them Daniel's) because they're up against as stalwart a defensive pairing as may exist in the world, but the tide turned even more sharply once Boston got home ice because in addition to rolling a Norris and Vezina winner against the two soon-to-be reigning MVPs, they also got to put out a guy who should be a Selke winner in Patrice Bergeron.
It's actually kind of difficult to see where the mystery comes in, especially because despite that, the Sedins had as many scoring chances at even strength in Game 4 as anyone.
People seem to want to pin the blame for the Canucks' various troubles in this and past postseasons on three people: the Sedins and Roberto Luongo. Now that both are struggling, the reverly has begun in earnest.
Detailing the many delightful ways in which Luongo has played like the stereotypical Roberto Luongo in these, the biggest games of his career, has become a continental pastime.
Everyone seems to agree that without them, Vancouver is sunk, as though they are the only ones drilling holes in the bottom of the boat.
Apparently they forget Christian Ehrhoff apparently entered a contest with Sami Salo to see who could back off the farthest from a one-on-one situation. And that Keith Ballard proved why they held him out of the lineup until two regular defensemen were unable to play. And that Ryan Kesler has been remarkably conspicuous by his absence, and allowed Claude Julien to roll his best defensive units against the Sedin line. And that Alex Burrows' outstanding pest acts in Games 1 and 2 have been entirely neutralized by the very real threat that Shawn Thornton will beat him half to death if he tries it ever again.
But don't interpret this as being overly apologetic. Things in the Canucks dressing room are, at the very least, bad.
Correct me if I'm wrong here: Hasn't this happened before?
I could have sworn they were up something like, I dunno, 3-0 on Chicago before the entire team went into meltdown mode, and allowed well hey look at that, 12 goals in two games. It's weird though. I can't remember how that series turned out.
And now the series returns to Vancouver for Games 5 and (if necessary) 7. Would it really be entirely surprising to see the Sedins all of a sudden start playing better hockey, or Luongo to start gobbling up every puck in his vicinity again, as if by magic? Maybe Vigneault's not such a bad coach, and maybe he gets the boys goin' again.
This is (ostensibly) the best team in hockey. Has been all year. They've faced more dire straits than being in what's essentially a best-of-three series. They're probably not ready to concede this one quite yet.
Pearls of Biz-dom
We all know that there isn't a better Twitter account out there than that of Paul Bissonnette. So why not find his best bit of advice on love, life and lappers from the last week?
BizNasty on why Bryzgalov hef to be med: "No home town discount for the yotes eh Bryz? He will be missed. Great goalie. Guess ill just have to chip in more offensively."
He a good guy, you know?
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