In his dealings with the media, Aaron Rome comes off as the grounded, level-headed sort you find in every NHL dressing room.

You can't say you know the guy. But what you see, you like.

You also like that, this season, the 27-year-old farm boy from western Manitoba carved out a place on the Canucks' blueline after seven non-descript professional seasons split between the minors and the NHL. He secured that spot, largely because he's a safe, reliable player, not given to the big play but not prone to the big mistake either.

In short, Rome is among the last players you'd pick to end up in the middle of a firestorm this Stanley Cup final. But there he was on Monday night, Public Enemy No. 1 in Boston after a devastating, ultimately indefensible hit sent Boston's Nathan Horton to the hospital.

It remains to be seen what the long-term effect of that moment will be for both players. But in the short term the Bruins, who didn't need any added inspiration on this night, rallied around their fallen comrade and recorded an 8-1 over the Canucks.

And, suddenly, we have a series.

"I mean, (Rome) is an honest player," said Henrik Sedin. "It's tough to see (Horton) go out like that. It was late but I don't think it was a terrible hit.

"I don't think it did anything to us. Maybe it did for them. You'd have to ask them."

OK, we will.

"I played with (Rome in the Anaheim organization in '06-'07) and from what I know of him he's an honest player," said the Bruins' Shawn Thornton. "But that doesn't take away from the fact that was a lateral hit to the head and that rule was put in place for (those kind of hits)."

As it is, we'll know soon enough if the Stanley Cup final turns on Rome's hit of Horton. But Game 3 certainly appeared to.