Canucks-Bruins Game 4 Scoring Chances


The series is tied back up at two a piece with the Bruins shutting out the Canucks 4-0 in game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. I said after game 3, that I wasn’t sure what to expect from last night because game 3 was so lopsided and hardly any of the game was done at even strength. Game 4 was a tad different with how most of this game was played at even strength but similar with how the Bruins shut down the Canucks powerplay and beat them in the scoring chance battle. Some people say that home-ice advantage is overblown but it isn’t when you have a coach who can utilize his right to have the last change like Claude Julien has done in this series. Remember how I criticized Johnny Boychuk so much after games 1 and 2? He has done a lot better in these past two games hasn’t he? That’s because Julien managed to keep him away from the Sedins for this game and used Boychuk (and Ference’s strengths to their advantages. He also did a nice job of inserting Rich Peverley onto the top line and he scored two goals as a result.

*Note: 4v4 chances are not counted. Vancouver chances are in blue, Boston in gold.

The Canucks played a good first period..then they just completely fell off after it. Good lord. I found it funny that the Canuck fans watching the game at the Rogers Centre actually cheered when Luongo was pulled. Considering these are the same people who obnoxiously chant his name after he makes a routine save or the puck gets near him. I understand that they are frustrated (and I would be too if my goalie allowed 12 goals in 2 games) but you can not put all the blame on him for this. If your team can only generate five chances through two periods, constantly flub powerplay opportunities and get dominated by a team missing their best goal scorer, there are obviously more problems than your goaltender. Vancouver had a lot of bad breaks in this game (missed shots, poor ice conditions), especially in the first period, but they have looked like complete garbage when playing in Boston so far. No other way to put it.

Bruins Scoring Chances by Player

Best ES Forward: Brad Marchand, Michael Ryder, Patrice Bergeron +5

Worst ES Forward: Daniel Paille, Shawn Thornton -2

Best ES Defenseman: Johnny Boychuk +9

Worst ES Defenseman: Zdeno Chara -2

The Sedins actually did pretty well against Chara and Seidenberg but most of their chances came early and they didn’t score on any of them. It could be something to worry about in later games, though. Also, I had to chuckle when Pierre McGuire called Shawn Thornton “the most efficient player on the ice in game 3” during his interview because I’m not sure what else #22 brings to the table other than a physical presence. He certainly doesn’t have much offensive upside and doesn’t kill penalties. Other than that? A lot to be happy about if you’re a B’s fan. Second line was on fire and Julien did a nice job of switching Peverely and Ryder on the first line because both of them did pretty well for themselves. As I mentioned earlier, I want to see how Boychuk does when Vingeault has the advantage in matchups in game 5 before I eat crow. The first line certainly gave up a lot of chances but they created a lot, as well. A big round of applause should go out to this penaly killing unit, too. Paille might not do much at even strength but he has been excellent when playing a man down. So has Chris Kelly and Gregory Campbell to a lesser extent.

Best ES Forward: Henrik Sedin +4

Worst ES Forward: Ryan Kesler -7

Best ES Defenseman: Alex Edler +3

Worst ES Defenseman: Keith Ballard -8

Ok, time for me to eat some crow about saying that Vingeault should have played Ballard earlier. Holy smokes was he bad. The Sedins appeared to have played decent in this game and they were…in the first period. Four out of the six chances they were on ice for came in the first twenty minutes and they were invisible after that. Their second line was completely terrible, though. Yikes. Kesler was completely shut down by the Bruins and Mason Raymond struggled to get any of his chances on net. Kevin Bieksa appears to be a lot more like his usual self without Dan Hamhuis by his side as he finished on the negative side of the chance rating yet again. Remember when people said he should win the Conn Smythe? Me too. Edler did have a nice re-bound game, though.

Head to Head

Just to reiterate my earlier statement of  Vancouver’s first line doing well but their second line completely stinking up the place. Julien must have also used his last change to give his first line more offensive zone starts because it sure looks like that. Take note of how which lines Kelly-Seguin-Ryder did well against, too.

 

Curious to see what happens in game 5. The Bruins were playing close, tight games against Vancouver in the games they lost while the Canucks have been just terrible in their last two games. Will Vingeault having the last change make as much of a difference? I believe it will. If he can get the Sedins more matchups against Boychuk-Ference, then I think we could see Vancouver with a 3-2 series lead. Of course, their goaltending is going to have to be better because Tim Thomas has simply outperformed Roberto Luongo by a longshot thus far.

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