(Sports Network) - The Vancouver Canucks will try to secure the first Stanley Cup title in franchise history tonight, when they visit the Boston Bruins for Game 6 at TD Garden.
In order to win that title, however, the Canucks will have to be the first road team to win a game in this best-of-seven series. Vancouver won the first two tilts on home ice before being shredded by a combined 12-1 score in Games 3 and 4 in Boston.
The Western Conference champion Canucks kept the home trend going Friday night in Vancouver, notching a 1-0 decision to take a 3-2 lead over the Bruins in the series.
The home team has not won every game of a Stanley Cup Finals series since New Jersey defeated Anaheim in seven games in 2003. Boston is 9-3 as the host in this year's playoffs and home clubs have posted a stellar 16-2 record in the Stanley Cup Finals since 2009. Vancouver is 5-5 as the visiting club in the 2011 postseason.
Should the Bruins be able to stave off elimination tonight, the clubs will meet Wednesday in Vancouver for a decisive Game 7.
"The two teams that are here are good teams and they don't give home ice advantage away that easily," said Bruins head coach Claude Julien. "So they've been good in their own building. I think we've been a decent road team for most of the season, and right now, what we have to do is go back home and create a Game 7 so we get another shot at them."
The Canucks moved within one victory of the franchise's first title -- and the first championship by a Canadian team since Montreal beat Los Angeles in 1993 -- by edging the Bruins in Game 5 at Rogers Arena. Maxim Lapierre scored early in the third period and Roberto Luongo bounced back to record 31 saves in the shutout.
Victimized for eight goals in Game 3 and pulled in Game 4's 4-0 setback, Luongo recorded his league-high fourth shutout of the postseason on Friday. The other three have come in the opening game of a series, including this one.
Luongo is also the first goaltender since Toronto's Frank McCool in 1945 to a record a pair of shutouts by a 1-0 score in the Cup Finals.
"Everybody in our dressing room and around our organization knows Roberto's character and his competitiveness and how he prepares himself. He went out tonight and he played a great game for us," said Vancouver head coach Alain Vigneault.
Tim Thomas finished with 24 saves for Boston, which has scored just two goals in three games at Vancouver in this series.
"A lot of the things you saw tonight are a lot of the things you saw the first two games. Good effort, not good enough," said Julien.
In the previous 21 Cup Finals that were even at two victories apiece, the winner of Game 5 has gone on to seize the title 15 times.
Just like in Game 1, the Canucks and Bruins remained scoreless through 40 minutes on Friday. Lapierre ended the stalemate at the 4:35 mark of the third. On the game's lone tally, Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa fired the puck from the right point and it sailed wide of the net. Lapierre accepted the carom off the end boards near the left post and fired the puck behind Thomas from below the goal line.
"It took a bounce the right way, right to the other side. Max was able to find the back of the net," Vigneault said.
Lapierre's tally was just the second goal for Vancouver in the last three games and the Canucks have led in this series for just 32 minutes and 32 seconds.
Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis is expected to miss his fifth straight game tonight with an undisclosed injury suffered in the opener of this series. Rookie defenseman Christopher Tanev played in his first game of the Stanley Cup Finals on Friday, replacing Keith Ballard, who was scratched after having a rough Game 4 in Boston.
Vancouver is in the Cup Finals for the first time since 1994 when they were ousted by the New York Rangers in seven games.
The Bruins have won five Stanley Cups, but none since 1972. They are 0-5 in the Finals since then, the last loss coming to Edmonton in 1990.