In a sport that often features low scoring and overtime, the Boston Bruins left no doubt as to who was going to win this one when the puck hit the ice for game 6 of the NHL Finals Monday night. After four quick goals in the first period, the Vancouver Canucks were on the defensive early and had no answer for the early assault.
"I'm proud of the guys," said Boston's 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."
The upcoming game 7 between these two teams marks the 6th time out of the last 10 that the NHL Finals has stretched to seven games, and if this series is any indication, then Vancouver has the edge going into the deciding game. So far this series, home cooking has been all that is needed as the home team has won every game so far. With the Canucks hosting game 7, they have to be feeling good about their chances.
The key to this series has been the defensive play of both goalies. For the Bruins, Tim Thomas has been playing solid defense and has been able to handle much of what the Canucks have been dishing out. In the game 6 win, Thomas made 36 saves for the Bruins.
"Not too many people counted on us being at this point right now," said Thomas, who has allowed just eight goals in six finals games. "It's a great feeling. We battled hard tonight. We came to play, and it's coming down to one game. This is what we dream of, when you're little kids playing street hockey, you know, you're in Game 7."
For the Canucks, their Cup hopes lie on the erratic play of Roberto Luongo. Luongo, at times, has been both stellar and about as lost looking as you can get. Coming off of a 1-0 shutout in game 5, Vancouver was looking to lock up the Cup with a win in game 6 but Boston's assault on Luongo yielded 4 early, inexplicable goals and that was all she wrote for the Canucks in this game. Maybe it's just being in Boston that hampers him, as he was beaten for 15 goals in just over 4½ periods.
"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?"
On the plus side for Luongo, game 7 is on his home ice so he should be good to go.
"I don't have to say anything to him," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said of his goalie. "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."
The deciding game 7 is Wednesday night at 8 pm.