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article imageBruins force Game 7 with win over Canucks in Stanley Cup Final

By Tyler Hunt     Jun 14, 2011 in Sports
Mark Recchi had three assists and Michael Ryder had a goal and an assist as the Boston Bruins once again beat the Vancouver Canucks soundly on home-ice by a score of 5-2 to force a deciding Game 7 back in Vancouver on Wednesday.
In what has been a roller-coaster ride of a series for the Vancouver Canucks, Game 6 added yet another turn in the Canucks up-and-down post-season so far.
Roberto Luongo was pulled before the ten-minute mark in the first period and the Bruins set a Stanley Cup Final record with four goals in a span of four minutes and 14 seconds as the Bruins pounded the Canucks goaltending.
Home-ice advantage seems to be a huge factor in this years Stanley Cup Final, with the home team yet to lose through the first six games in this series, and the Bruins were banking on that statistic if had any plans to stretch their run at the Stanley Cup another game.
"I'm proud of the guys," Recchi told TSN. "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."
But it was Vancouver who got off to the early start, forechecking in the Bruins zone and opening up a chance for Henrik Sedin. Sedin had an empty net as Kevin Bieksa's shot bounced in front of the net off the backboard, but the puck jumped over Sedin's stick to keep the game scoreless. The Canucks also got a scare as forward Mason Raymond went down with an apparent lower body injury after being ridden into the boards by Boston's Johnny Boychuk. Raymond did not return and according to Sportsnet will miss up to six months with what is reportedly a fractured vertebrae.
Then just five minutes in, Bruins winger Brad Marchand broke down the right wing and fired a wrist shot that seemed to handcuff Luongo and found the top corner of the net over his left shoulder. It was only Boston's second shot of the game, and sent TD Garden into a loud frenzy as the Bruins took a 1-0 lead.
The cheers barely had time to settle down before the Boston crowd got another reason to stand back up. Just 35 seconds later, Milan Lucic took a drop pass from Rich Peverley and snuck a wrist shot through Luongo's legs, barely trickling over the line to give the Bruins a two-goal lead.
The Bruins wouldn't let up, pressuring Vancouver in their own zone and firing shots at the Canucks netminder. A minute and ten seconds after Lucic's marker, it was Andrew Ference taking a point shot that found its way through Luongo as well. That was it for Luongo, as Cory Schneider made his second appearance of the Cup Final and his fifth of the 2011 playoffs in relief.
Luongo allowed three goals on only eight shots, two nights after making 31 saves to shutout the Bruins in Game 5 at Rogers Arena. Luongo has been night and day in regards to playing at home or on the road, recording two shutouts and letting in only two goals at home this series, while allowing 15 goals in the three games played in Boston.
As Schneider entered the game, the Bruins gave him no time to get warmed up. Michael Ryder tipped a Tomas Kaberle point shot that deflected up and over Schneider's shoulder, nearly putting the game out of reach with over 50 minutes to play in the hockey game.
The Bruins outshot the Canucks 19-11 in the wild first period, and the Bruins' faithful were already mocking Luongo as he found a spot at the end of the Canucks bench.
In the second period, the Canucks tried to generate some offense, but Tim Thomas shut the door several times to keep the four-goal lead intact. Through 40 minutes of play the 4-0 lead still stood and Thomas had made 22 saves for the Bruins, while Schneider stopped 18 out of the 19 shots he faced through two periods.
In the third period the Canucks tried to stop the embarrassment and generate some momentum in a series that looked almost sure to be headed back to Vancouver for a seventh and final game.
Henrik Sedin started the period off by cutting to the front of the net and patiently waiting out the Bruins defense, backhanding a shot over a sprawling Thomas to get the Canucks on the board. It was Sedins first point of the series, and first goal since Game 1 of the third round against San Jose.
For most of the remainder of the third, it seemed as though both teams were gearing up for Game 7, with Game 6 having been won in the first ten minutes of play. Toward the end of the frame, Boston received a late powerplay and after Schneider robbed Mark Recchi of an almost sure-goal, Recchi quickly passed the puck cross-crease to David Kreijci who buried his league-leading 12th goal of the playoffs. Kreijci now also leads the league in points, passing Henrik Sedin with 23 after recording ten points in his last eight games.
The Canucks wouldn't go out quietly though as shortly after that, Daniel Sedin found Maxim Lapierre wide open for his third goal of the playoffs, cutting down the lead to a more respectable 5-2 final, but leaving just as many questions for the Canucks heading back home for the decisive Game 7.
Roberto Luongo will be counted on to bounce back (and all indications are that he will no doubt be starting for the Canucks) for the second time this series after a rough outing in Boston. In Game 4, Luongo gave up four goals on 20 shots but returned home for Game 5 and posted his league-leading fourth shutout of the post-season to bring the Canucks within one win of the Stanley Cup. Now it will be up to Luongo to respond in a similar manner, this time in a do-or-die situation as the winner will be crowned the champions and the losers will go home.
Luongo might have removed himself from contention for the Conn Smythe Trophy, which after a goaltending duel for the majority of the series, was thought to be headed to either him or Thomas. Thomas was stellar again tonight and has been one of the only consistent factors in this series, leading most to believe that it will be he who gets the nod regardless of the outcome of the series,
Luongo will be hoping his statistics at home will continue to help lead his team to their first Stanley Cup in franchise-history. The 32-year-old from Montreal, Quebec is 3-0 at Rogers Arena this series, posting a 0.67 goals against average, a .979 save percentage, and recording two shutouts in that span. On the road however, he's been a different goaltender. In the three games in Boston this series, Luongo is 0-3 with an 8.11 GAA and a .773 save percentage, so it will be interesting to see which Canucks goaltender shows up for their final game of the year.
Game 7 will take place at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on Wednesday, with puck drop schedule for 8 p.m. In 15 previous Game 7's in the Stanley Cup Final, the home team has won 12 of them. The Bruins can become the first team ever to win the Stanley Cup after winning three seperate Game 7's throughout the playoffs, after taking seven games to beat both Montreal and Tampa Bay.
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