Monday, June 13, 2011

Stanley Cup Finals - Game Six

When you have two off days in between playoff games, things tend to get dull. The media obviously will become overwhelmed with boredom and they will search everywhere for something to write. In order to do that, they will ask players ridiculous questions hoping to generate some answers worthy of publishing. This past weekend was one of those cases.

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo told the media that he would have saved the goal that Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas allowed in game five. "When you play on the edge like he does that's going to happen," said Luongo. Also, Alexandre Burrows and Kevin Bieksa believe that they are not hated at all. The team feels that they did not do anything wrong with the way they have played throughout the playoffs, particularly in this series. "We have all of Canada behind us. How can we be hated," said Bieksa. That is not exactly a scary thought for Bruins fans when a player says that they have all of Canada behind a team. You can have Canada to be quite honest. The fact is no one else is on your side. A lot of people, myself included, had so much respect for the Canucks before this series. With all of the antics that they pulled on the game's biggest stage, players, coaches, and fans will look at the Vancouver organization in a very different way.

Regardless of what hockey enthusiasts think, the Canucks were only one win away from a Stanley Cup championship. The Boston Bruins have outplayed their new rival throughout most of this series. Tim Thomas is the catalyst behind the Bruins flashes of brilliance. He has a .965 save percentage and only allowed six goals in five games. The Bruins offense outscored the Canucks offense 14-6. They have done everything that they could possibly do to get to this point. Will the Bruins force a game seven back in Vancouver?

The Bruins opened up the first period by sending a quick message to the Canucks. Within the first minute, Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk delivered a hit on Canucks forward Mason Raymond that led to him being injured. The hit seemed to be minor, but Raymond was clearly in pain with an obvious injury. He left the game and he left the building on a stretcher. They began to beat them on the scoreboard as the Bruins scored four goals in the opening period. Brad Marchand had the first goal when he shot the puck on Roberto Luongo's glove side. Milan Lucic had the second goal after he received a great pass from Rich Peverley and slid the puck underneath Luongo. After Andrew Ference scored on a power play, Luongo was pulled in favor of Cory Schneider. Michael Ryder deflected a Tomas Kaberle shot into the goal and that was the scoreline for the first 20 minutes. Tim Thomas stopped all 11 shots Vancouver sent his way. The Bruins had great puck possession by winning at the face-off dot (18-10). A good start for Boston on their home ice.

In the second period, the Bruins began to slow down their energy. It was as if they became content with their four goal lead. Bruins center Patrice Bergeron got called for three minor penalties in the period (goalkeeper interference, interference, elbowing) and all of them were questionable calls. So for those three occasions, the Bruins had to kill penalties without the services of one of their best short-handed men on the ice. After the second penalty was killed, the Bruins made it 20 straight penalty kills in this series. The third penalty carried over into the third period. After two periods, the score remained 4-0 in favor of Boston.

The penalty that carried over into the third period produced the first goal of the game for the Canucks. Henrik Sedin picked up the goal and that was his first point of the Stanley Cup Finals. Daniel Sedin and Christian Ehrhoff had the assists. Moments later, the Canucks thought they had another goal, but they celebrated prematurely because the referees determined that the puck hit the post after review. David Krejci gave Boston its fifth goal of the game when he scored on a 5-on-3 power play with assists from Mark Recchi and Tomas Kaberle. Krejci leads all players with 12 playoff goals. The conclusion of the game did not come without some antics between the two teams. Brad Marchand, Shawn Thornton, Maxim Lapierre, and Daniel Sedin all got 10 minute misconducts for nonsense that occurred after the whistle. The misconduct is the penalty that has occurred the most in this series.

The Canucks added another goal later on in the game to make the game 5-2 and that is how the game would end. The Bruins forced a game seven which will take place Wednesday night in Vancouver. Boston improves to 8-0 when Marchand scores a goal in the playoffs. He could have a huge impact in game seven if he can come out playing with confidence the way he did tonight. The Canucks have a banged up lineup and a goalie situation that is a mess. That Vancouver crowd is just waiting to turn on their team. For the first time this series, the road team has the advantage. Fifteen playoff wins down, one more to go.

Gold Star: Dennis Seidenberg (1 assist, +1 rating, 2 shots on goal, 2 hits)...he has arguably been the Bruins best defender this entire postseason. Being matched up with Zdeno Chara has been the best thing that ever happened to his game. He has been playing tight and physical. He knows how to protect his goaltender and he has seen some great looks on the power play.

Black Star: Patrice Bergeron...he had eight penalty minutes tonight and the final minor he received was uncalled for. After Krejci's goal, he slashed Alexandre Burrows. Why? Was that even necessary? He would never normally do that. His mind was taken out of the game early on and he never was focused. With only one game left, we should expect to see the real Patrice Bergeron on Wednesday.

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