Let's be frank about it: the Boston Bruins have outplayed the Vancouver Canucks in all four games in these Stanley Cup Finals. Not that the Bruins were the better team in Games 1 and 2, but they certainly dictated the pace for long stretches in those games and were, truthfully, unfortunate leave Vancouver after Game 2 with a series deficit.
When they got home to Boston for Games 3 and 4, they grabbed the extra emotion and energy from the home crowd and clearly added to their already solid formula. It translated into two wins and an even series heading back to Rogers Arena for Friday night's Game 5. But now that we're back in Vancouver, what makes us believe Boston will be able to do the same thing? Why won't we just see similar results to that of Games 1 and 2?
Simply put, the Bruins have gotten meaner. Maybe it's the result of the finger-biting BS after the first two games. Maybe it's the result of the Aaron Rome hit on Nathan Horton. Maybe it's the result of desperation in the face of a two-game deficit in the series.
No matter how it's happened, the Bruins are downright nasty right now, and that plays right into their hands. Boston plays a mean game. They hit you in the mouth and don't apologize for it. The Canucks can't win that way. They haven't done it all year and there's no reason to expect it to start now.
And because the Bruins smash-mouth version of hockey doesn't for the Canucks, Vancouver needs not try to engage them in their own game. The Bruins thrived by picking fights and hitting the Canucks in the mouth in Games 3 and 4, and it showed on the scoreboard. A 12-1 point differential was accompanied by multiple fights, skirmishes and big hits, playing right into Boston's hands.
For the Canucks to get to back to their winning ways, they have to get back to playing their kind of hockey, which relies more on finesse than raw power. By continuing to engage Boston on its own turf, the Canucks have put themselves at a disadvantage, and need to get back to playing their own brand of hockey in Game 5 and beyond. If they don't, the Bruins could be hoisting the Stanley Cup sooner rather than later.
The Stanley Cup Finals are ongoing, as the Vancouver Canucks battle the Boston Bruins. Stick with this StoryStream for full coverage of Game 5. For coverage on the Finals, stick with our Stanley Cup Finals hub, our Canucks blog, Nucks Misconduct, and our Bruins blog, Stanley Cup of Chowder.