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Stanley Cup finals: Boston destroys Vancouver, 8-1, in Game 3

June 6, 2011 |  8:15 pm


The Stanley Cup finals took a turn toward ugly with a detour through frightening in Game 3 on Monday, as a vicious hit by Vancouver defenseman Aaron Rome sent Boston winger Nathan Horton to the hospital on a stretcher and the simmering tension between the teams boiled over.

Despite his absence the Bruins scored four times in the second period and four times in a contentious third period to skate off with an 8-1 victory at TD Garden that cut the Canucks’ series lead to two games to one. Jannik Hansen’s goal with 6:07 left in the final period was the Canucks’ only success in 41 shots against Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas.

Before the teams meet in Game 4 on Wednesday in Boston, the NHL will have the chance to state how serious it is about punishing blindside hits to the head, a topic it has focused on the last year.

Horton was crossing the Canucks’ blue line when Rome slammed his left shoulder into his head nearly a second after Horton had passed the puck. Horton fell backward and hit his helmeted head hard on the ice, remaining motionless on his back for several minutes while medical personnel tended to him. Rome was given a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct.

Horton was said to be resting at Massachusetts General Hospital and was able to move all of his extremities. That news triggered roars when relayed to the sellout crowd of 17,965.

The rap sheet is lengthening for the Canucks. In Game 1, winger Alexandre Burrows bit the gloved fingers of Boston center Patrice Bergeron; in Game 2, center Maxim Lapierre thrust his fingers in Bergeron’s face and taunted him, daring Bergeron to bite the fingers.

Both teams lost their poise in the third period and earned an array of 10-minute misconducts. Bruins winger Milan Lucic was seen pointing his fingers toward Burrows’ mouth and taunting him during a post-whistle scrum at 11:16 of the third period as hostilities erupted at nearly every stoppage.

The Bruins didn’t score on the five-minute power play they gained on Rome’s interference penalty but they broke the game open in the second period.

Their first goal came 11 seconds into the second. The Canucks won the opening faceoff but defenseman Alex Edler’s stick broke and he couldn’t handle the puck when it came to him. The Bruins’ forecheckers pounced on it and took control, finally getting the puck to defenseman Andrew Ference for a shot from the blue line that appeared to deflect in front and past goaltender Roberto Luongo.

The Bruins took a 2-0 lead on a power-play goal, a rare event for them. They moved the puck well and got it down low on the right side to Mark Recchi, who tried to pass it to Rich Peverley at the left post. But Vancouver center Ryan Kesler, trying to clear the puck out of danger, instead tipped it between Luongo’s legs at 4:22.

Again prevailing in the battle of special teams, the Bruins increased their lead to 3-0 with a shorthanded goal at 11:30. Brad Marchand was credited with the unassisted goal after he pounced on the puck in the neutral zone, got behind Edler and with the puck rolling on edge whipped a shot over a sprawling Luongo.

With their fourth goal on their 20th shot the Bruins officially turned the game into a rout. David Krejci converted the long rebound of a shot by Ryder at 15:47, sending the crowd into a frenzy. Daniel Paille, Mark Recchi, Chris Kelly and Ryder scored for Boston in the third period.


Canucks-Bruins Game 3 box score

Nathan Horton moving extremities after vicious hit

NHL won't punish Alexandre Burrows for alleged finger biting

--Helene Elliott in Boston

Photo: Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas makes one of his 40 saves on a shot by Canucks left wing Christopher Higgins as Boston center Patrice Bergeron looks for a rebound in the third period Monday night. Credit: Elise Amendola / Associated Press