BOSTON (AP) Shortly after the Boston Bruins lost Nathan Horton to a frightening injury, they found a dazzling offensive rhythm that got them back into the Stanley Cup finals.
Andrew Ference and David Krejci each had a goal and an assist during Boston’s four-goal second period, Tim Thomas made 40 saves, and the Bruins beat the Canucks 8-1 in Game 3 on Monday night, trimming Vancouver’s series lead to 2-1.
Mark Recchi scored two goals for the Bruins, who turned a big win into a blowout with four more goals in the final 8 1/2 minutes of the third period against beleaguered goalie Roberto Luongo, who won the first two games of the series in Vancouver.
Boston emerged from its offensive slump after Horton was taken off the ice on a stretcher in the first period after taking a late hit to the head from Vancouver defenseman Aaron Rome.
Game 4 is Wednesday in Boston.
Brad Marchand scored a short-handed goal in the second period, and Daniel Paille added another short-handed goal in the third. Recchi, Chris Kelly and Michael Ryder – who finished with three points – scored in the final 2 1/2 minutes as the Bruins emphatically avoided a daunting 0-3 series deficit.
Boston had managed just three goals in its previous 10 periods before torching Luongo, who stopped 30 shots. Boston hadn’t even scored six goals in a finals game since May 5, 1970, in Game 2 against St. Louis on the way to their last championship.
Jannik Hansen broke up Thomas’ shutout bid with 6:07 to play for the Canucks, who finally hit a major bump in their late-season roll toward their first Stanley Cup title.
NHL scoring champion Daniel Sedin got a 10-minute misconduct late in a jarring loss for the Presidents’ Trophy winners, who had won seven of eight games. The Canucks had given up just six total goals in their previous four games while closing out the Western Conference finals and taking a two-game lead over Boston.
The palpable excitement of Boston’s first home finals game in 21 years turned into unease just 5 minutes into Game 3.
After Horton passed the puck to Milan Lucic at the Vancouver blue line, Rome left his feet to deliver a hard shoulder check to Horton’s upper chest and head. Horton appeared to be unconscious after he landed flat on his back, his arm spookily reaching up into empty space.
Medical personnel spent several minutes attending to Horton, who scored the Bruins’ winning Game 7 goals in the first round against Montreal and again in the Eastern Conference finals against Tampa Bay. The crowd gave a standing ovation as Horton was wheeled off the ice, wearing a neck brace and apparently talking.
Rome got a five-minute major for interference and a game misconduct, with at least one fan throwing a yellow towel at the Vancouver bench while Rome went to the dressing room. The shaken Bruins didn’t score on six shots on their marathon power play, with the Canucks blocking shots and diving to protect Luongo.
The Boston crowd rose and cheered several minutes later when a scoreboard message told them Horton could move his arms and legs when he was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital.
Boston fans already were upset with the Canucks after two bad-tempered games in Vancouver, including Alex Burrows’ apparent bite on Patrice Bergeron’s finger during Game 1. The bite was still on the minds of both teams, with players from both teams taunting their opponents by pointing their index finger at another player’s mouth.
Copyright 2011 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.