BOSTON -- It's the calm before the storm here at the TD Garden, where an hour from now the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks will battle in a pivotal Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals.
Why is this game so critical for both teams?
If Boston wins, the series heads for Vancouver tied at two games apiece with the momentum squarely in the Bruins' corner and the pressure on the Canucks. If the Canucks win, they head home up 3-1 and the Bruins face the prospect of having to win three straight games, two of them on Vancouver's ice.
Keep it here on the blog and in our in-game chat for all of the latest updates, notes and analysis from tonight's game. Among the things we'll be watching for:
* How closely will this game be called? NHL disciplinarian Mike Murphy told ESPN.com that he told both the Bruins and Canucks that the next player who wags his finger in a scrum will get a 2-minute penalty, plus a 10-minute misconduct. If the game is called as closely as we suspect, special teams could play a big role in determining a winner.
* What's Tyler Seguin's role? With Nathan Horton done for the series and Seguin taking his place, we'll be watching how the 19-year-old is utilized, who he skates with and how much ice time he gets.
* Which Roberto Luongo will show up? Will it be the one who let in eight goals or the one who held the Bruins to just two scores through he first six-plus periods of the series? If Boston scores a couple of goals in the first, could it mean an early hook for Luongo?
* Will momentum carry over from Game 3? Keep a close eye on which team sets the tone in the first half of the first period. Will the Bruins play with the same kind of authority and physicality as they did in Game 3?
* Ice conditions. Several Canucks players reported less-than-ideal conditions on the Garden ice this morning at practice, a result no doubt of temperatures near 90 degrees in Boston. A slower sheet would seem to favor the Bruins.
Enjoy the game, everyone. Should be a fun night.