The Goods: Going the distance
Home is where the heart is and it’s where the wins continue to be in the Stanley Cup Final.
For the sixth time in as many games the home team held court with the Vancouver Canucks unable to derail the Boston Bruins, losing 5-2 in Game 6. This is just the sixth time since the best-of-seven format began in 1939 that the home team has won every game and in three of the last five occasions, the final home team has gone on to win the Stanley Cup.
That stat is about the only thing going the Canucks’ way right now following another disappointing performance at the TD Garden in Boston Monday night with a chance to clinch a championship.
After a dizzying opening few minutes by Vancouver, Boston responded with a cluster of goals, four all together, in a span of 4:14, a new NHL record for fastest four goals scored by one team in the Stanley Cup Final.
Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic and Andrew Ference all tallied between 5:31 and 8:35 of the opening frame to chase Roberto Luongo from the net for the second time in as many games in Boston.
As Cory Schneider made his way between the posts, Luongo, who allowed three goals on eight shots, told him to “shut the door;” the Canucks backup was beat by Michael Ryder 1:10 into his performance and gave up a goal to David Krejci in the third period, but overall he was stellar recording 30 saves.
Vancouver got an early goal from Henrik Sedin 22 seconds into the third and a late score from Maxim Lapierre with 2:26 left to play, but again Tim Thomas stood tall when he had to finishing with 36 stops.
Thomas’ 36 saves in Game 6 moves him into a tie with Kirk McLean from Vancouver’s 1994 run to the Cup for most saves in a post-season with 761. The Bruins netminder is now eight shots faced behind McLean’s record of 820, also from 1994.
The Canucks, like you, are at a loss for words as to why in three games in Boston during the Final they were outscored 17-3. They’re just as speechless in regards to the furious four minutes that led to a 4-0 Bruins lead.
“Statistics aren’t our strong suit in this series, so who really cares,” said Kevin Bieksa. “We lost the game again, we’re not going to put too much into this and we’re going to get ready for next game.
“It’s a do or die game back in Vancouver to win the Stanley Cup and we’re going to start focusing on that tomorrow.”
No one has an answer as to why TD Garden has been kryptonite to the Canucks all Final, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel in the form of a Game 7 on home ice.
In the words of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, “there’s no place like home.”
The Canucks and Bruins will faceoff in the 16th Stanley Cup Final Game 7 in league history and home ice advantage has come into play as the home team is 12-3 all-time. Vancouver lost its only Final Game 7 appearance to the New York Rangers in 1994, while Boston has never been on the biggest stage hockey has to offer.
“It’s going to be a close game again,” said Bieksa, shrugging Boston’s lopsided wins to Vancouver’s close wins.
“It doesn’t matter how we lose and how we win, we seem to win the close ones in Vancouver, we seem to lose by a couple goals here. It is what it is and luckily we’re going back to Vancouver.”
Twenty seconds in Game 6, the Canucks lost forward Mason Raymond to injury.
On an innocent looking play that had Christian Ehrhoff dump the puck into the Bruins zone from the Boston blueline, Raymond and Johnny Boychuk were jostling for position when the Canucks forward was spun around and checked into the boards awkwardly by Boychuk.
Raymond was motionless on the ice for what seemed like an eternity before he was helped off the ice by Ryan Kesler and Chris Higgins. Raymond suffered an undisclosed injury and was taken to hospital for further evaluation; no further update has since been provided.
Although Raymond has not been officially ruled out for Game 7, the Canucks are preparing to go to battle without their fallen soldier.
“It’s tough, he’s a key part of this team and he brings a lot of speed to that line, he’s dangerous every shift he’s out there,” said Daniel Sedin.
“Once again, I don’t know how bad it is, but if he can’t play, we have guys who can step in, another guy is going to get a chance to play in the Stanley Cup Final."
LUONGO OPENS UP
On the stretch of goals in the first period…
”They came out flying obviously and got some goals and obviously I didn’t make enough key saves to weather the storm early.”
On Marchand’s shot on Boston’s opening goal…
“I was there, it was a good shot, but at the same time I’ve got to make that save. He put it where he wanted, but I’ve got to make a save there.”
On how nervous he was going into Game 6...
”Honestly, I felt good all day. There was not extra nerves or anything like that, I was excited to play in a game with a chance to win the Cup.”
On what accounts for his different play one game to the next?
“I’ve had some success on the road all year and before the season even started I said I enjoyed playing in this building. I’m not going to make any excuses, it just didn’t happen for me all three games. I’m just going to move on right now and we’ve got one game to win a Stanley Cup. We’ve had some success there as a team and that’s what we’re looking forward to right now.”
On how difficult will it be to rebound from this game, the way he did for Game 5…
“I’ve got to believe in myself, that’s a big component of bouncing back and playing a good game. We’re going to put what happened tonight behind us as soon as possible and get ready for what is going to be a dream, playing in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.”
The previous fastest four goals scored by one team in the Stanley Cup Final was 5:29 set by the Montreal Canadiens on March 31, 1956; scoring the first goal remains key, Bruins are now 11-1 in post-season when scoring first, Canucks are 4-6 when allowing the game’s opening goal.