NHL

Bruins beat Canucks to force Game 7 in Stanley Cup Final

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TSN.ca Staff
6/14/2011 7:30:17 AM
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The Stanley Cup is heading to Vancouver.

But it will arrive at Rogers Arena still unclaimed.

The Bruins used a Stanley Cup Final record-setting goal spree to chase Roberto Luongo, and the Bruins forced a winner-take-all Game 7 showdown with a 5-2 win over the Canucks in Game 6.

The final game of the 2010-2011 NHL season goes Wednesday in Vancouver at 8pm et/5pm pt, with the winner claiming the Stanley Cup.

This will be the 16th Stanley Cup Final series that has gone to a Game 7. The home team has won 12 of the previous 15.

"I'm proud of the guys," said Mark Recchi, who had three assists. "We had our backs to the wall, we've been resilient all year, and we came out and had a great first period and did what we had to do tonight, and it comes down to Game 7. It's one game now."

After post-game and off-day comments about counterpart Tim Thomas put the spotlight directly on him, Luongo lasted less than half of the opening period, surrendering three goals on Boston's first eight shots. Cory Schneider entered the game for Luongo at the 8:35 mark of the first.

Brad Marchand opened the scoring with his ninth of the playoffs at 5:31 to make it 1-0, beating Luongo high to the glove side. It was Boston's second shot of the game. Just 35 seconds later, Milan Lucic put a wrister through Luongo's five-hole. It's his second goal of the postseaon.

Andrew Ference's power play goal ended Luongo's night. The Bruins got the power play when Alex Edler drilled Rich Peverley into the boards in a race for the puck in the Vancouver end.

Boston's TD Garden has been a house of horrors for Luongo in the Cup Final. He's lost all three starts, been pulled twice and has surrendered 15 goals. He has a .773 save percentage and a goals against average of 8.11.

"You can't hang your head and feel sorry for yourself," Luongo said. "That's the worst thing I could do. ... I had a good feeling all day. Before the series started, I said I enjoyed playing in this building. Just got to move on right now. Got to believe in myself, right?

"I'm not going to make any excuses. It just didn't happen for me obviously, all three games (in Boston)."

Luongo's been another goalie at home, picking up all three wins, including two shutouts, a .979 save percentage and a goals against of just 0.67. He's allowed just two goals in those three wins. And that's why Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault had no hesitation in naming him the starter for Game 7 at Rogers Arena.

"I don't have to say anything to him," Vigneault said. "He's a professional. His preparation is beyond reproach, and he's going to be ready for Game 7. It happened. There's nothing we can do about it. We've already turned the page on that, and we're going back home.

"I think he has one thing in his mind and he wants to win. He's been looking for an opportunity like this his whole pro career and it's in front of him now."

Michael Ryder deflected Tomas Kaberle's point shot past Schneider to make it 4-0 at the midway point of the period - the first shot Schneider faced upon entering the game. It was Boston's fourth goal in just 4:14 - the record for the fastest four goals scored by one team in the Stanley Cup Final.

The previous record was 5:29, done by the Montreal Canadiens against Detroit in Game 4 of the 1956 Cup Final.

Vigneault used his timeout to try and stop the onslaught.

Later in the period, Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas made several saves to keep Vancouver off the scoresheet, including a wrap-around attempt by Ryan Kesler and a nice save in tight on Alex Burrows. In the final minute of the period, Thomas stopped Jannik Hansen on a breakaway.

Prior to Boston's scoring spree, Henrik Sedin had a chance to put Vancouver on the board first. On the second shift of the game, Kevin Bieksa intentionally shot wide and the puck bounced off the end board to the other end of the net, where Sedin misfired an open net, as Thomas tried to dive across his crease to make a save.

The Canucks finally solved Thomas to start the third, when Henrik Sedin beat Thomas upstairs on a deke. Just a few minutes later, the Canucks looked like they had cut the lead to two, when Hansen's one timer in the slot beat Thomas and hit the post. Hansen put his hands up and the play was stopped, but after video review, the puck hit the post and came right back out.

Thomas finished with 36 saves. With his performance tonight, he ties Kirk McLean's 1994 mark for most saves in one playoff, with 761. The odds-on-favourite to take the Conn Smythe Trophy, he's also just one win away from backstopping the Bruins to their first Cup since 1972.

"He's been in his zone through the whole playoffs," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "You can barely count on one hand the bad goals he's given up in the whole playoffs. We all know that teams that have won the Stanley Cup have had unbelievable goaltending. We feel like we've got that."

David Krejci scored on a 5-on-3 Bruins powerplay to restore the four goal lead when he converted a perfect cross crease pass from Mark Recchi to beat  Schneider. Maxim Lapierre added Vancouver's second goal of the game on a nice feed in the slot from Daniel Sedin to finish off the scoring.

Vancouver also lost one of their top six forwards. On the very first shift of the game, Mason Raymond was forced awkwardly into the corner by defenceman Johnny Boychuk. He needed to be helped off the ice by his teammates. Mason was taken to hospital on a stretcher for further evaluation.

Vancouver could also be down another defenceman, as Andrew Alberts appeared to be injured after being checked in the defensive zone by Kaberle in the third period. Alberts went to the dressing room, returned for one shift, before heading back to the dressing room again. He did not return.



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