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Lord Stanley’s Cup came to Boston, and all the Vancouver Canucks needed to do to win it Monday night at the Garden was play the same punishing offense and fantastic goal-tending that had won them Game 5 last Friday.
Only problem: no one told Roberto Luongo.
Luongo gave up three easy goals within the first nine minutes of the game, and the Bruins capitalized on four first-period goals to beat the Canucks 5-2. The two teams will vie for the Stanley Cup in Game 7 Wednesday in Vancouver, where the Canucks are 3-0 during these Finals.
The Bruins scored their first goal 5:31 into the first period. Mark Recchi took control of the puck near the boards along the center line, then waited for Brad Marchand to sneak in behind the Vancouver defense before passing him. Marchand skated to the right of the goal, then fired off a tight-angle elevating shot above Luongo’s glove for the 1-0 lead.
The Bruins made it 2-0 just 35 seconds later. A bad Canucks shift gave the Bruins a 3-on-2, and Rich Peverley brought it up between the circles before dumping it off to Milan Lucic, who shot the puck between Luongo’s pads.
Peverley earned the Bruins a power play at 7:55 after defenseman Alexander Edler slammed him into the boards. Peverley won the ensuing faceoff, which led to a blocked shot by Luongo, then won that ensuing faceoff. Recchi and Michael Ryder took control of the puck before finding Andrew Ference at the blue line. Ference fired off a slap-shot that Recchi screened in front of the net, lifting up his right leg at the last possible second as the puck flew by and into the goal.
Three relatively soft goals in less than nine minutes chased Luongo from the game, but former BC captain and current Canuck backup Cory Schneider could do little at first to quell the Bruins attack. Just over a minute after the Bruins went up 3-0, Ryder redirected a blue-line shot from Tomas Kaberle to make it 4-0.
Boston’s four goals in four minutes and 14 seconds were the fastest four goals scored by one team in Stanley Cup finals history.
The second period of Monday’s game was little more than wrestling match, with both teams giving up on offense in favor of hitting each other as hard and as often as possible. The Canucks played as though they didn’t want to score, just beat up the Bruins to pay them back for humiliating their goalie. The Bruins looked content to hash out any remaining grievances with the Canucks while eating up clock time.
After taking 19 shots in the first period, Boston got off just 10 in the second. The Canucks got off eight.
The only important thing to happen in the second was an elbowing penalty against Patrice Bergeron with 52 seconds left. Boston held the Canucks scoreless through the end of the period, but Vancouver went on the attack with the man-advantage to start the third. Center Henrik Sedin brought the puck into the Boston zone, then skated from the left circle to the right. Ryan Kesler crossed in front of Sedin and through the crease, drawing Tim Thomas (36 saves) away from the puck and opening the net for Sedin’s shot.
The Canucks continued their offensive assault after Sedin’s score, forcing Thomas to block four shots in two minutes. Right winger Jannik Hansen then fired off a shot on a wide-open net that at first was called a goal, but video replay quickly showed had bounced cleanly off the left goal post.
The Canucks’ attack died off after that, and the Bruins regained the four-goal lead on a 5-on-3 with just under seven minutes elapsed. After Schneider (30 saves) made a diving block of a Recchi shot, Kaberle collected the rebound and dumped it back to Recchi to the right of the goal. Recchi fired a bullet pass through the crease to David Krejci for the one-timer. It was Recchi’s third assist of the game, and Kaberle’s second.
The Canucks scored once more with less than 2:30 left in the game on a give-and-go from left winger Daniel Sedin to right winger Maxim Lapierre to make it 5-2 Boston. But the Bruins killed off a 57-second 5-on-3 (plus a sixth skater with an empty net) to secure the win. Fans at the TD Garden alternated the entire game between sing-song mocking Luongo, thanking Thomas and screaming for the Stanley Cup.
Thomas and the Bruins’ attack gave Boston a chance to do just that and bring home the Cup Wednesday night at the Rogers Arena.
Tags: Alexander Edler, Andrew Ference, Brad Marchand, Cory Schneider, Jannik Hansen, Mark Recchi, Maxim Lapierre, Milan Lucic, NHL, Rich Peverley, Roberto Luongo, Ryan Kesler, stanley cup finals, Tim Thomas, Tomas Kaberle