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from http://www.canucks.t...er-4-0-shutout/

Much like their Chicago series in the first round, the Canucks followed a blowout with a no-show. Make that a gong show. It started with Alain Vigneault's curious decision to let Keith Ballard out of the doghouse and onto his No. 1 shutdown duo. Ballard was brutal. He fit right in.Turns out, there is something more painful in Boston than listening to their accents. It's watching the Canucks play in the TD Garden.

The Canucks stars were thought to be the tipping point for this series. They were but tipped things for the other team. The Sedins, Ryan Kesler and Roberto Luongo combined with Ballard and Kevin Bieksa and, well, just about everyone in a Vancouver uniform to capsize a series the Canucks were once cruising in.

Coincidence or not, the series changed not long after Aaron Rome took out Nathan Horton. Bruins' legend Bobby Orr reminded us all of the hit when he started the game by waving a flag with Horton's number on it. Since Horton was knocked out of the series with a concussion, the Canucks have been outscored 12-1.

But the more important turning point was probably the Dan Hamhuis injury Game 2. Yes, he is that good and his injury turned the Canucks top pairing from the best in hockey to candidate for the worst.

Now, after a 4-0 Boston win, the Canucks face one of the most critical games in franchise history Friday at home with the Stanley Cup final tied 2-2.

To win it, and right this thing, the Canucks are going to have to do so much more than splitting up Ballard and Bieksa. The Sedins, who may as well have been on a Ben Affleck set during their entire Boston stay, will have to appear. They are going to have to find a way to beat Zdeno Chara and Tim Thomas, who may have just wrapped up the Conn Smythe award, win or lose. He got the shutout and a slash on Alex Burrows leg.

Kesler is going to have to find a way to gut out 4-5 great shifts a game and Luongo is going to have to make some saves. In fact, many more saves. Luongo gave up 12 goals in Boston and that's with missing most of the third period Wednesday.

Luongo sprung open his five-hole early in Game 4, just 11:59 into the first to allow a Rich Peverley shot to tumble in with loads of room to spare. Luongo didn't get much help on the goal. Alex Edler overplayed David Krejci who made a deft feed to Peverley. Raffi Torres watched Peverley go by and Salo was too late cutting across the ice to do anything about what turned into a partial breakaway.

Ballard was in way over his head early. It took him one shift to get caught out of position. He followed that with a series of mistakes. He couldn't move the puck or win a battle. His pairing partner, Kevin Bieksa, was better but had a rough game. Brad Marchand danced around him in the first, but didn't score. Milan Lucic danced around Bieksa again in the third along the side boards on an riveting play that set up Peverley for his second goal of the night.

Ballard's night, already nightmarish, reached its low point on the Bruins third goal, the back breakers, 13:29 into the second. Chasing the puck behind the net, he was losing his balance as Marchand pushed him over. Patrice Bergeron got the puck to the net, where it ended up in Ballard's feet. But the Canucks defenceman couldn't get a handle on it, and the puck popped out and Marchand chipped it in over Luongo.

The problem for the Canucks is that Ballard's worst moment of the game came 2:18 after Luongo's. The Cancuks goalie, who stayed in for all eight goals in Game 2, whiffed badly on a 50-foot Michael Ryder shot which may have chipped off of Salo's stick. The goal put the Bruins up 2-0 in the middle of the second period and that's all they needed.


Game 4, 2nd period capsule

In a battle of Vezina Trophy-nominated goalies, one is coming out ahead.

Boston's Tim Thomas stood on his head during the first period and the early part of the second, and it was enough to propel the Bruins.

Michael Ryder, with his seventh goal, and Brad Marchand, with his eighth, put the Bruins up 3-0 after two periods of Game 4 at TD Garden in Boston.

Thomas has stopped all 24 shots he faced in the first two periods, while Luongo has been beaten on three of 18 shots.

Over the past two games, the Canucks have beaten Thomas just once on 65 shots, that only goal a meaningless third-period goal in Game 3 by Jannik Hansen once the game was out of hand.

The Bruins, meanwhile, have 56 shots on Luongo during Games 3 and 4, and have beaten him 11 times.

Jonathan McDonald

Game 4, 1st period capsule

The insane energy of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final carried over into Game 4.

From the opening faceoff, when Canucks centre Ryan Kesler decked his Bruins counterpart Patrice Bergeron, bodies flew and tempers flared.

But when the first period was over, the Bruins had a 1-0 lead. Rich Peverley, moved up to the first line when Nathan Horton suffered a concussion in Game 2, went in alone on Roberto Luongo and beat him five-hole.

The Canucks had two power plays and while they controlled the play, they couldn't beat Bruins star goalie Tim Thomas, who has been the best player in the series. The Canucks are now 1-for-18 on the power play in the final.

- Jonathan McDonald

Pre-Game 4

After a meltdown of epic proportions Monday night, the Canucks are looking for redemption in Beantown and hope to make Clam Chowder of the the Bruins in Game 4.

The Canucks:

You heard about "do it for Brent Seabrook" in the first round and you heard about "do it for Horty" on Monday. Now, the Canucks are saying they are going to do it for Aaron Rome, who they believe was unjustly punished for his hit on Nathan Horton.

The Bruins: Boston believes it has the Canucks in the right place. The series is running hot with bad blood and the Canucks spent much of their time in Game 3 trying to play Boston's style. It's given the Bruins confidence. So did those eight goals.


1. The Canucks power play is 1-for-16 in the series. "We're not moving enough," Henrik Sedin said. "We've been unpredictable all year with the way we move on the power play. But right now, we're moving the puck, but we're not moving players in and out of the box."

2. Boston is focusing on puck management to cut back on turnovers. "We thought we were able to do that in Game 3," Milan Lucic said. "We made smarter decisions with the puck that led to goals."

3. The Canucks didn't seem concerned about the blowout. But the last time it happened, a 7-2 loss against Chicago, they repeated the mistakes in the next game, losing 5-0.

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