Wednesday 1 February 2023 Dublin: 7°C
AP Photo/Harry Howe Vancouver Canuck's goalie Roberto Luongo picks the puck out of the net after Rich Peverley's third-quarter goal.
# Ice Ice Baby
Breaking the Ice: Boston use their home advantage to tie up the series
It’s all square at two games apiece in the Stanley Cup Finals – here’s what you missed in Game Four last night.

The game: Boston pick up where they left off on Monday night, winning 4-0.

The series: We’re all square at 2-2 ahead of Game 5 in Vancouver tomorrow night.

The lowdown: The tattered, kitschy Bruins jacket has been moving around the Boston locker room for the past few months, going to the most valuable player in every victory.

It belonged to Nathan Horton when he went down with a serious concussion two days earlier in the Stanley Cup finals. He showed up in the Bruins’ locker room Wednesday night, delighting his teammates by putting the jacket on Rich Peverley.

That strange, old jacket bought on eBay has become the Bruins’ most valuable trophy.

After two dominant games in Boston, the Bruins are halfway to winning a bigger, shinier prize.

Tim Thomas made 38 saves in his third shutout of the playoffs, Peverley scored two goals after replacing Horton on Boston’s top line, and the Bruins emphatically evened the finals at two games apiece with a 4-0 victory over the foundering Vancouver Canucks in Game 4.

The Bruins rolled through Game 4 on an emotional high that began with a stirring pregame tribute to Horton, who will miss the rest of the series after a late hit in Game 3 from Vancouver defenseman Aaron Rome, who was suspended for four games.

“When I personally got to see him in the locker room, I was incredibly happy,” Thomas said. “It gave me a big boost. He was there to pass the jacket on.”

The team would have been happy leaving it with Horty for the rest of the series, but he wanted to give it away and keep the tradition going. … Watching him going down, we want to finish what we started for him.

Michael Ryder and Brad Marchand also scored and the Bruins chased Roberto Luongo early in the third period after Vancouver’s star goalie allowed his 12th goal in less than two brutal games in Boston.

“It’s always easier to be at home,” Marchand said. “We feed off the energy, off our fans. They just bring out the best in us. … Just seems everyone is so focused right now.”

The finals are now a best-of-three, with Game 5 in Vancouver on Friday night.

Game 6 is Monday night back in Boston. After outscoring Vancouver 12-1 in the last two games, the Bruins are halfway to their first NHL title since 1972 — but they’ll have to win at least once on the West Coast.

Vancouver needed just one win in Boston to earn the chance to win the franchise’s first championship on home ice. Instead, the Canucks headed home with huge questions about their mental toughness, defense and goaltending.

Despite the NHL’s warning to these teams about keeping their competition between the whistles, the third period featured another handful of skirmishes. Thomas delighted Boston’s fans when he slashed Vancouver agitator Alex Burrows with 1:51 to play, precipitating another brawl.

“I thought I’d give him a little love tap,” Thomas said. “Let them know that I know what you’re doing, but I’m not going to let you do it forever. That’s all that was. A typical battle.”

Boston went ahead midway through the first period after Krejci alertly tapped a loose puck in the neutral zone ahead to Peverley, who blew past Raffi Torres and scored just his second goal in 19 games.

After Peverley’s early goal, Ryder scored midway through the second period on an innocuous shot that somehow fluttered past Luongo. The puck might have deflected off the stick of defenseman Sami Salo, who played Ryder much too softly.

Boston took control 1:18 later during 4-on-4 play when Patrice Bergeron forced Ballard’s turnover behind the Canucks’ net and chipped it in front to Marchand, who easily scored over Luongo’s left shoulder. The Boston crowd serenaded Vancouver with chants of “Luonnnngo! Luonnnngo!”

Luongo finally left after Peverley scored again early in the third period, with the Boston fans roaring as Cory Schneider replaced him.

The Bruins have never played this deep into June in franchise history, and summer temperatures in the 80s made the Canucks worry about the quality of the Boston ice. Vancouver has much bigger worries heading home.