The big question going into last night's game for me, was this: will Luongo continue his past patterns and allow the Bruins to take the momentum? History has a way of repeating itself, and in this case it sure as hell did. I find it interesting that while I watch, or when I reflect on the past 2 games, I look at it as Vancouver losing rather than Boston winning. Maybe it is because they are the ones losing the momentum and advantage in the series, but maybe it has more to do with the Canucks getting beat at their own game, or their mental condition, or more particularly Luongo's mental condition.
And that is how you change the momentum: The Bruins use home-ice to advance on the Canucks.
The fact of the matter is that Vancouver has been outscored 14-5 in the series. That is no where near close, it is actually more like domination. This doesn't stop the Canucks from making excuses or thinking that they are the better team. Over the last 2 games, they have been outscored 12-1 regardless of outshooting the Bruins in both contests and some of them see no reason to look at goaltending or mistakes being made in their games. It would seem that Tim Thomas is rising to the occasion and seising the claim that this is his year, not the Canuck's.
This is what we hear from the Canucks, "We just have to start testing him more because he's leaky and pucks go through him"(Bieksa). "For whatever reason, ours are lying in the crease or hopping over sticks. Theirs are going in" (Schneider). So, 79 shots in 2 games isn't enough of a test and the "leaky" goalie is easy to score on. Okay, so your saying it is the Sedin's fault, right? There is apparently no logical reason that Vancouver's shots aren't going in and Boston's are according to them. In both of these statements, the Canucks have managed to take credit away from Thomas and keep the finger off of Luongo, because goaltending has nothing to do with where this series is.
Most of the comments made by Vancouver avoid placing any blame on Luongo. He is fragile after all, but when I look back at the goals scored on him I see no reason not to and I also take no credit away from the Boston offense for finishing their shots. In fact I give them a ton of credit for the continuos barrage on Luongo in game 3 because they knew he was down and they could hurt his ability to make save in the coming games. Then I give them credit for finding the holes in game 4. They have the killer mentality right now and that is a big part of it.
Leaving Luongo in to allow 8 goals was just plain bad coaching. Another example of Vigneault's wonderful coaching abilities. But lets look at the goals allowed in the last game. The first was a breakaway goal placed through Luo's 5-hole by Beverley. The 2nd was a "Bickell-esk" wrist shot from the top of the circle by Ryder. Marchand was left all lone in front of the net because Sedin was trying to sell a penalty and lifted a shot over Luongo's shoulder that he probably could have poke checked away. The 4th goal was the result of Luo miss-playing the puck into an attacking Bruin's body and allowing it to deflect into the net. And yet Luongo says this, "it was a tough one. A few goals went off something, we are not getting the breaks." No buddy, one puck went off of something and you put it there. Maybe Ryder's was helped a bit, but that puck was still very stoppable.
One of the Sedins acknowledged Thomas' performance by saying that he "is standing on his head and winning games for them." There is some truth in that, but again, I don't want to take any credit away from how the Bruins are playing as a team. Thomas is not scoring any goals and that is where the huge difference is in this series as of now. There has been a definite reaction to the Horton hit and it has caused a scrappy, gritty, and sometimes ugly game. Boston it seems, is pretty good at this style and Vancouver asked for it.
The Bruins also started cashing in on Vancouver's mistakes. All 4 goals were after someone on Vancouver screwed up or misplayed a puck. I mentioned it already, but I think watching Sedin try and sell that penalty behind the net while Marchand walked right up to Luongo all alone was extremely telling. First: this diving crap has got to stop and it goes for both teams now. The officials need to hand out an unsportsmanlike to someone and make a statement. Second: it shows how Vancouver is losing it; and Third: how the Bruins are taking it.
The shining light for Vancouver is that the series turns back to home where they will try to regain momentum. This leads us to the question of the today: will Vancouver respond and more importantly, will Luongo respond. When the Blackhawks found themselves back in Vancouver after winning a decisive game 4 in Chicago this year, Vancouver sure as hell did not respond in that game 5. Only time will tell if this Vancouver team has what it really takes to be champions. Im just enjoying the ride.