Some thoughts from the NHL on TSN Panel on Monday night:
On the early SportsCentre on Monday night, I pumped Roberto Luongo's tires and said if he led the Vancouver Canucks to a victory in Game 6 and played extraordinarily well in the process, then you would have to at least consider him for the Conn Smythe Trophy.
Well he went out with those tires all pumped up and the Boston Bruins put up a nail belt and that was it.
There were mistakes made by the Canucks, but I thought this was a goaltending loss. I thought this game was on Luongo, who allowed three goals on eight shots.
That's a goaltending loss, that's not the rest of the team. Luongo never gave his team a chance to win.
Because of the home versus road diversity, I believe Luongo starts Game 7, but it has to be a short leash.
At the other end, Tim Thomas has had an unbelievable performance in this final. A 1.34 goals against average and a .962 save percentage in the first six games of the Stanley Cup Final. If you just take what he's done on home ice in the three games he has a 1.00 goals against average and a .975 save percentage.
It was also a veteran move during the post-game news conference when he was asked if he wanted to give any critics or criticism of Luongo's game and he declined.
You can tell that Thomas is keen, and that he is focused. He wants this so bad he can taste it.
If Mason Raymond is unable to play in Game 7, it will be a significant loss for the Canucks.
You can look at the score sheet and say that Mason Raymond hasn't been an offensive factor in this series, but what it does is it disrupts the chemistry of the lines for the Canucks. Raymond, Chris Higgins and Ryan Kesler are the number two line for the Canucks, so when you take Raymond out of there, now you're forced to put Jannick Hansen in his place.
Hansen is not a bad guy to fill in, he has speed and has some level of skill. Hansen can fit in quite nicely on that line and make up the difference a little bit.
However, what happens when you take Hansen off that third line with Raffi Torres and Max Lapierre, now you're bringing Manny Malhotra back in from a fourth line role and asking him to go back to his old role on that line and trying to create new chemistry with Malhotra, Lapierre, and Torres and it's just not quite the same. That could be a factor in Game 7.
I don't think there is any question that the Bruins physically abusing the Sedins has been a big part of the game plan. It's basically, do anything you can out there short of getting suspended against these guys. The Bruins have most certainly done that.
Zdeno Chara in particular has really been giving it to both Daniel and Henrik in front of the net.
The Sedins had their chances, I thought at times they actually played quite well in this hockey game, they tried to get something going, but the physical abuse they are taking is tremendous.
I don't remember any team getting beat up as badly in a Stanley Cup Final in every game on the road as the Canucks have been.
I think Boston is as confident as they can be heading into Game 7. Even though the Bruins haven't won in Vancouver, every game has been a one-goal difference, two 1-0 shutout wins for Vancouver and an overtime win. Boston has to feel pretty comfortable going into Game 7 under those circumstances.