With all the hoopla surrounding the Aaron Rome hit (and the subsequent suspension) on Nathan Horton, a few stories have been overshadowed. Everyone has had a chance to hash it out by now, so it’s time to move on to the big stories heading into game 4.
1. The Power Play
Heading into this series, one of the main storylines was the power play matchup. The Canucks had one of the best power plays, while the Bruins had one of the worst. Fast forward to now, and the Canucks have struggled mightily on the power play, while the Bruins haven’t been bad. The Canucks are a woeful 1-for-16 while the Bruins are 3-for-13.
Vancouver will need to turn their power play around if they want to win this series, and they’ll likely need to make adjustments. At the moment the Canucks are having a terrible time trying to enter the zone and get possession. The Bruins have been extremely aggressive on the penalty kill and that has caused problems for the Canucks.
2. Hooking, Slashing and Cross-checking
Once upon a time not long ago, hooking, slashing and cross-checking were considered penalties. In game 3, they were not. Not since the mid 1990s have I seen that much stick work let go in a game. Ryan Kesler was getting absolutely hacked and whacked by Zdeno Chara during a Canucks power play in game 3. If that standard is allowed to continue, it’s advantage Bruins.
3. Playing with the Lead
Despite the 2-1 series lead, the Canucks have hardly played with the lead in this series. They had the lead for only 19 seconds in game 1, 16:48 in game 2 and never had the lead in game 3. Meanwhile, the Bruins had the lead for 20:37 in game 2 and 39:49 in game 3. If the Canucks can get an early goal in game 4, it will allow them to play with the lead, and they’re a better team when they’re playing with the lead.