BOSTON — Just three days after the Bruins staggered back to Boston, they've barged right back into the Stanley Cup final with two blowout wins.
Tim Thomas had 38 saves in his third shutout of the playoffs, Rich Peverley scored two goals after replacing injured Nathan Horton on Boston's top line, and the Bruins emphatically evened the series at two games apiece with a 4-0 victory over the foundering Canucks in Game 4 on Wednesday night.
Michael Ryder and Brad Marchand also had goals for the Bruins, who 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.
The final now is a best-of-three, with Game 5 Friday in Vancouver. After outscoring the Canucks 12-1 in the past two games, the Bruins are halfway to their first title since 1972 — but they'll have to win at least once on the West Coast.
Luongo gave up four goals on 20 shots before Cory Schneider replaced him.
"It's not for lack of effort, not for lack of trying to win," Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. "Give the other team credit. They're playing a smart game, and right now they've been able to shut us down offensively the last two games."
The Bruins rolled on an emotional high that began with a stirring pregame tribute to Horton. The right wing will miss the rest of the series after incurring a serious concussion early in Game 3 on a hit from Vancouver defenseman Aaron Rome, who was suspended for four games.
Horton thrilled his teammates by showing up in the locker room after the game. He awarded the Bruins' jacket — a tattered, kitschy team jacket that has been passed among the Bruins in recent months to the key player in every victory — to Peverley.
"When I personally got to see him in the locker room, I was incredibly happy," Thomas said. "It gave me a big boost. … Watching him going down, we want to finish what we started for him."
Thomas was outstanding again. He has allowed just five goals in four games in his first Cup final, with Vancouver's vaunted Sedin twins — the NHL's last two scoring champions — failing to beat him.
"That's indicative of the way he's had to battle to get here," Boston coach Claude Julien said of his well-traveled veteran goalie, who didn't earn a regular job in Boston until he was past 30. "He's taken a real bumpy road to get to the NHL. … That makes him the perfect goaltender for our organization."
CONCUSSIONS: In the wake of Horton's injury, NHL general managers agreed with a recommendation to broaden the definition of illegal hits to the head, likely expanding the scope of a rule enacted last year to outlaw blindside head shots. A panel of former players and the GMs agreed the word "blindside" should be taken out of Rule 48, expanding the rule.
GM HIRE: Longtime hockey executive Kevin Cheveldayoff was named general manager of the Winnipeg club, which is relocating from Atlanta.
First—1, Boston, Peverley 3 (Krejci, Chara), 11:59. Penalties—Ryder, Bos (tripping), 6:58; Marchand, Bos (cross-checking), 16:10.
Second—2, Boston, Ryder 7 (Seguin, Kelly), 11:11. 3, Boston, Marchand 8 (Bergeron), 13:29. Penalties—Raymond, Van (high-sticking), 7:41; Alberts, Van (slashing), 12:05; Peverley, Bos (cross-checking), 12:05; Boychuk, Bos (delay of game), 18:49.
Third—4, Boston, Peverley 4 (Lucic, Krejci), 3:39. Penalties—H.Sedin, Van (slashing), :52; Recchi, Bos (high-sticking), 9:14; Kesler, Van (slashing), 10:25; Lapierre, Van (slashing), 14:35; Ballard, Van (roughing), 17:33; McQuaid, Bos, misconduct, 17:33; Marchand, Bos (holding, roughing, tripping), 17:33; Kesler, Van, minor-misconduct (roughing), 18:09; Burrows, Van (cross-checking), 18:09; Chara, Bos, minor-misconduct (roughing), 18:09; Thomas, Bos, served by Thornton (slashing), 18:09. Shots—Vancouver 12-13-13—38. Boston 6-12-11—29. Power plays—Vancouver 0 of 6; Boston 0 of 4. Goalies—Vancouver, Luongo 14-8-0 (20 shots-16 saves), C.Schneider (4:15 third, 9-9). Boston, Thomas 14-8-0 (38-38). A—17,565 (17,565). T—2:41. Referees—Dan O'Halloran, Kelly Sutherland. Linesmen—Jay Sharrers, Jean Morin.