BOSTON — The Bruins gingerly tapped their sticks on the ice as medical personnel wheeled Nathan Horton out of the hushed arena, his neck fixed in a brace.
His teammates needed a few minutes to clear their minds after such a frightening injury in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final.
But when the Bruins got their heads together, they created an offensive avalanche that got them right back in this series.
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 on Monday night, trimming Vancouver's series lead to 2-1.
"It's always tough when a guy goes down," said forward Brad Marchand, who scored shorthanded in the second period. "We really wanted to get this win tonight for him. It's a very tough situation, and everyone is worried about him, but it definitely gave us motivation to win."
Boston emerged from a three-game offensive slump after Horton left on a stretcher five minutes into the game, rendered senseless by a late hit to the head from Vancouver defenseman Aaron Rome.
Mark Recchi, 43, scored twice for the Bruins, who turned a big win into a blowout with four goals in the final 8½ minutes of the third period against Roberto Luongo, who won the first two games in Vancouver.
The Bruins were one goal shy of equaling the Cup final record of nine goals, set by Detroit in Game 2 of the 1936 series and matched by Toronto six years later in Game 5. It was the most goals in a final since Colorado beat Florida 8-1 on June 6, 1996, in Game 2, according to STATS LLC.
Boston had just three goals in its previous 10 periods — including Horton's winner in a 1-0 victory over the Lightning in Game 7 of the East final — before torching Luongo, who stopped 30 shots.
Daniel Paille scored a shorthanded goal in the third, and Recchi, Chris Kelly and Michael Ryder — who finished with three points — scored in the final 2½ minutes as the Bruins emphatically avoided a daunting 3-0 series deficit.
Jannik Hansen broke up Thomas' shutout bid with 6:07 to play for the Canucks.
"In the playoffs, a loss is a loss, if you lose in OT or you lose like we did tonight," Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said.
NHL scoring champion Daniel Sedin got a 10-minute misconduct in the third, one of seven such penalties handed out in the period.
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.
"I think what I recall is it was a blindside hit that we've talked about taking out of the game," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. " … We're trying to clean that part of the game out."
Boston's Shawn Thornton returned to the lineup in place of 19-year-old rookie Tyler Seguin. The Canucks missed defenseman Dan Hamhuis for the second straight game. Andrew Alberts, a former Bruins defenseman, replaced him.
AROUND THE LEAGUE: The Flames hired former head coach Craig Hartsburg as an associate coach. Hartsburg coached Chicago, Anaheim and Ottawa. … The Coyotes signed goalie Jason LaBarbera to a two-year contract. No terms were released.
First Period—None. Penalties—Rome, Van, major-game misconduct (interference -), 5:07; McQuaid, Bos (delay of game), 11:41.
Second Period—1, Boston, Ference 3 (Peverley, Krejci), :11. 2, Boston, Recchi 4 (Ryder, Ference), 4:22 (pp). 3, Boston, Marchand 7, 11:30 (sh). 4, Boston, Krejci 11 (Ryder, Chara), 15:47. Penalties—Tambellini, Van (hooking), 2:42; Ference, Bos (tripping), 6:22; Lucic, Bos (slashing), 10:30; Boychuk, Bos, double minor (high-sticking), 17:36.
Third Period—5, Boston, Paille 3 (Boychuk), 11:38 (sh). 6, Vancouver, Hansen 3 (Torres, Lapierre), 13:53. 7, Boston, Recchi 5 (Marchand, Bergeron), 17:39. 8, Boston, Kelly 5 (Paille, Chara), 18:06. 9, Boston, Ryder 6 (Kaberle), 19:29 (pp). Penalties—Ryder, Bos (roughing), 2:50; Burrows, Van (unsportsmanlike conduct), 3:33; Chara, Bos (unsportsmanlike conduct), 3:33; D.Sedin, Van, misconduct, 6:59; Ference, Bos, misconduct, 6:59; Thornton, Bos, minor-misconduct (roughing), 7:58; Kesler, Van (boarding), 9:11; Kesler, Van, major-misconduct (fighting), 11:16; Burrows, Van, minor-misconduct (slashing), 11:16; Seidenberg, Bos, major-misconduct (fighting), 11:16; Lucic, Bos (slashing, roughing), 11:16; Bieksa, Van, misconduct, 17:51; Ference, Bos, misconduct, 17:51; Torres, Van (charging), 18:53. Shots on Goal—Vancouver 12-16-13—41. Boston 7-14-17—38. Power-play opportunities—Vancouver 0 of 8; Boston 2 of 4. Goalies—Vancouver, Luongo 14-7-0 (38 shots-30 saves). Boston, Thomas 13-8-0 (41-40). A—17,565 (17,565). T—2:46. Referees—Stephen Walkom, Dan O'Rourke. Linesmen—Pierre Racicot, Steve Miller.