With more than 4,000 kilometres between them, Vancouver and Boston are further apart than any two cities in Stanley Cup history.
For the Bruins, a team that plays most of its games in the northeast and is accustomed to short flights to and from games, the cross-continent haul Sunday was out of the ordinary. The Canucks, meanwhile, are used to long-distance flights, and to onerous travel demands, so much so that they work with a company that advises the airline and trucking industries on fatigue.
That could prove to be an advantage as the NHL’s Stanley Cup final shifts to Boston for the next two games, including Game 3 Monday at the TD Garden.
The Bruins, according to head coach Claude Julien, do not work with any outside sleep consultants but have “done our research” when it comes to rest and travelling in the playoffs. The team flew from Vancouver to Massachusetts early Sunday morning.
“We wanted to get back to eastern standard time as quickly as we could,” Julien said. “No matter what, we’re going to have to battle through it...I don’t want to use this as an excuse or disadvantage.”
The Canucks departed a couple of hours later than the Bruins on Sunday, and that would have been on the advice of their sleep consultants, Fatigue Science, which has been working with the team since 2008, after general manager Mike Gillis took over. The players wear bracelets early in the season so that Fatigue Science can monitor their sleep patterns and activity, and a team travel plan is set up based on that data.
“Because we travel the most in the NHL, that’s one of the reasons why we try and get a scientific approach to where our guys would have the utmost energy,” head coach Alain Vigneault said. “I do know that, obviously, our record is better...it certainly seems to be beneficial, and if you look at our third periods, we seem to have the energy to keep pushing forward.”
The Canucks lead the Bruins 2-0 in the best-of-seven series after an overtime win in Game 2, and a victory in Game 1 when Raffi Torres scored the winning goal with 18.5 seconds remaining. The Canucks were the highest-scoring third-period team in the league this season and are outscoring opponents 25-18 in the final period and overtime during the playoffs.
“We feel fresh,” winger Daniel Sedin said. “We know [the organization] has done everything it can to put us in a good position with sleep and everything.
“We don’t have to worry about those things. We know we’re going to have an advantage over other teams.”
Sedin also noted that the Canucks are winning more home games after returning from road trips, and are faring better away from Rogers Arena.
The Canucks are expected to dress the same lineup for Game 3, especially since defenceman Dan Hamhuis (lower-body injury) did not take the morning skate. The Bruins are considering putting winger Shawn Thornton into the lineup in place of rookie Tyler Seguin.
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