|06.14.11 at 11:27 am ET|
The Bruins and their fans are no strangers to a Game 7, both this postseason (when they’ve already seen two such do-or-die contests against the Canadiens and Lightning) or even the past decade. But a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup finals? Well that’ll be a first for anyone who has ever donned the black and gold, either on the ice or in the stands.
The NHL as a whole, however, has seen a couple of battles for Lord Stanley’s extra-large chalice go the distance in the last few years. In fact, Wednesday’s matchup between the Bruins and Canucks in Vancouver will be the sixth Game 7 in the finals since 2000. So while the B’s, Canucks and their fans have an off-day to pause and collect themselves for the historic events to come, let us look now at the historic Game 7s that have already come to pass since the turn of the millennium. (Note: home teams are in all caps.)
2009: Penguins 2, RED WINGS 1
If you’re a Bruins fan, this may be the only good news you’ll read here. The Penguins win at Joe Louis Arena was the first victory for a road team in a Game 7 of the finals since the Canadiens beat the Blackhawks in the Windy City back in 1971. Maxime Talbot played the hero for Pittsburgh, potting both goals for the Pens in the second period. The Red Wings dominated the third frame, outshooting their foes by a 7-1 margin with one of those shots resulting in a Jonathan Ericsson goal with 6:07 left. But Marc-Andre Fleury sent the Detroit fans home unhappy when he made an incredible diving save on an open-net shot by Red Wings blue-liner Nicklas Lidstrom just before the final buzzer (5:30 in the clip after the jump) to ensure that the Cup was headed to western Pennsylvania. Read the rest of this entry »
|06.14.11 at 7:50 am ET|
If the Canucks were hoping that Brad Marchand would wilt as a rookie under the pressure of his first playoff experience, they obviously did not judge or scout him nearly close enough.
And there’s no reason to think Marchand is about to crumble under the pressure of the first Stanley Cup finals Game 7 in Bruins history.
“We have to make sure that we have a good start. And they just seem to get so much momentum and energy off their crowd and we just have to find a way to counter that and come out strong,” said Marchand sounding every bit the veteran of 24 playoff games.
When he scored in the Game 3 blowout of the Canucks, he referred to the fact that he is considered the modern-day “rat” of the Bruins, a nickname lovingly bestowed on Ken Linseman for being the bur in the side of every opponent. It’s a nickname that he continues to wear with pride as he proved again to the Canucks on Monday.
“I was there, it was a good shot but I have to make that save,” Luongo said. “He put it where he wanted but I have to make a save there.”
“We weren’t too worried about that in here,” Marchand said of Luongo’s talk after Game 5. “He can say what he wants to say. We were just trying to focus on playing this game so we got a couple early, and you know, obviously they switched the goaltenders up. Obviously he’s bounced back every game and I expect the same thing back in Vancouver.” Read the rest of this entry »
|06.14.11 at 4:48 am ET|
With the Bruins one game away from winning it all, Recchi could very well be in the final days of his career. He’s won the Cup twice already, having hoisted it with the Penguins in 1991, and against with the Hurricanes. This might be the last time he’s come this far, and he knows from experience that it’s worth savoring. Especially with this team.
“That’s the great thing about it. You know, I was fortunate to win one early in my career,” the 43-year-old said after recording three assists in the Bruins’ 5-2 win Monday. “From ’06 when I won in Carolina to every playoff I’ve played in after that, I’ve been able to embrace it and enjoy it and watch how guys react and watch how they’re acting and enjoy the experience of seeing guys go through the firsts.
“It’s neat and you’re able to do that. I’ve been doing that for a number of years now and it’s been just a great, great year this year for me. [It’s been] great from the get-go with this group of guys. You knew there was something special right from the first time we got together. When we went over to Prague, we knew we had something good there.”
It’s unclear what Recchi will do if the Bruins do not the Cup this year. In a scenario in which he hung them up regardless of the series’ result, Monday could have been his last game had the Canucks won.
“It crosses my mind, but, you know, I have a job to do out there for the guys and I can’t put those thoughts in my head,” Recchi said of thinking about playing in his last game. “I’m going to lay it on the line one more time and see where it takes me after that.
“No matter what, it’s been a great 22 years, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. This has been one of my best ones, regardless of what happens and I’m just still proud to play in the NHL. I love playing hockey and love being in the NHL and I think it’s the greatest sport out there.”
Perhaps there’s something to be said for Recchi finishing strong. He has six points (three goals, three assists) the last five games. The next one might be is last. If it is, Bruins fans should consider themselves fortunate to observe a player who is a winner above all else.
|06.14.11 at 2:06 am ET|
|06.14.11 at 1:24 am ET|
The singular turning point of the series has also turned into a rally cry for the Bruins, as Michael Ryder acknowledged after scoring a goal in Boston’s 5-2 win over Vancouver in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals Monday night at TD Garden.
With the crowd already in a frenzy following two quick goals to start the game, the video board at the Garden showed Nathan Horton in the zamboni area waving a Bruins black and gold hanky. Horton was shown live for the first time since being knocked to the ice with a severe concussion exactly one week ago on hit by Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome in Game 3. He has been ruled out of the playoffs.
“Horty’s a big part of this team and he’s one of the reasons we’re where we are,” Ryder said. “He’s a great guy and it’s good to see him a lot better and we know he’s excited and he wants us to win. We have to make sure we do everything we can to pull it off for him.”
“We didn’t know that they were going to be doing that and showing him up there,” added Bruins forward Brad Marchand. “You know for him to come in and give us that boost of energy is unbelievable. And obviously the crowd loves it and loves him and are supporting him every minute of the day. It was great to see him out there. He gave us a big energy boost.
Two and a half minutes later, Andrew Ference fired a slap shot past Roberto Luongo on the power play for Boston’s third goal and pandemonium ensued with the Bruins up, 3-0, and Luongo chased to the bench.
|06.14.11 at 12:47 am ET|
Roberto Luongo never saw it coming. No, that’s not a reference to the Bruins’ third goal Monday night, an Andrew Ference shot from the point that found its way through a Mark Recchi screen. Luongo never envisioned himself having another bad game in Boston, his third of the series.
“Honestly, I had a good feeling all day,” Luongo said after Game 6, a game in which he lasted just 8:35 before being pulled. “There were no extra nerves or anything like that. I was excited to play. I mean, we had a chance to win the Cup.”
And yet there he was, heading to the bench after allowing three goals on eight shots. Although Luongo was blinded on the Bruins’ third goal, the first two were definitely stoppable. Brad Marchand scored on the Bruins’ first shot of the game with a wrister from the right circle that found the top right corner. No doubt it was a great shot by Marchand, but Luongo said he could’ve had it.
“I mean, I was there,” Luongo said. “It was a good shot, but at the same time, I got to make that save. He put it where he wanted, but I got to make a save there.”
Thirty-five seconds later, Milan Lucic managed to sneak a shot through Luongo’s five-hole that ended up trickling over the line.
Luongo said he didn’t have any explanation for why he has struggled so much in Boston during this series — he’s given up 15 goals in three games here and has been pulled twice — and that this wasn’t the time to start trying to explain it.
“I’ve had success on the road all year,” Luongo said. “I know that before the series even started, I enjoyed playing in this building. So I’m not going to make any excuses. It just didn’t happen for me obviously, in all three games.
“I’m just going to move on right now,” Luongo continued. “We have one game at home to win a Stanley Cup. … You can’t hang your head now and feel sorry for yourself. That would be the worst thing I could do.”
Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said after the game that Luongo will be back in net to start Game 7, and he said he fully expects Luongo to bounce back, just like he did in Game 5 when he picked up a shutout.
“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.”
Luongo said he isn’t worrying about how he’ll perform in Game 7, either.
“I mean, I got to believe in myself, right? That’s a big component of bouncing back and playing a good game,” Luongo said. “We’re going to put what happened tonight behind us as soon as possible and get ready for what is going to be a dream as far as playing in Game 7 in a Stanley Cup Final.”
The rest of the Canucks players deflected criticism away from Luongo and turned their attention to Wednesday night.
“He’s done it before and he’s going to do it again,” Daniel Sedin of Luongo bouncing back from bad games. “We’re not blaming individual guys when we lose. We lose as a team and we win as a team. We’re excited going into Game 7. It’s going to be awesome.”
|06.13.11 at 11:07 pm ET|
By DJ Bean and Scott McLaughlin
The Bruins weren’t ready to see their season end or willing to watch the Canucks raise the Stanley Cup on their ice Monday and it showed, as they chased Roberto Luongo at the Garden again in a 5-2 win at TD Garden to force a Game 7 of the finals. The Cup winner will be determined at Rogers Arena in Vancouver Wednesday night.
Brad Marchand opened the scoring at 5:31 with his third goal in the last four games. With nine goals this postseason, he has set the postseason record for a Bruins rookie.
Milan Lucic followed with a goal of his own at 6:06, and an Andrew Ference power-play goal at 8:35 ended Luongo’s night early in favor of Cory Schneider. Luongo has now gotten the hook in two games this series, both of which were at the Garden.
Michael Ryder and David Krejci chipped in goals as well, with Krejci’s coming on the power play in the third period. The Canucks got contributions on the scoreboard from Henrik Sedin (his first point of the finals) and Maxim Lapierre. Tim Thomas has now allowed eight goals over six games this series.
Wednesday night will be the Bruins’ third Game 7 in four rounds this postseason,as they eliminated both the Canadiens and Lightning in seven games. The Canucks beat the Blackhawks in seven games, their only seven-game series this postseason.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Luongo was bad once again, and it seemed that all it took was Marchand’s goal, an absolute rifle glove-side, so open up the floodgates. The Bruins certainly have a way of getting to the highly-scrutinized Canucks netminder in Boston, as he has now allowed 15 goals in less than two games’ worth of play at TD Garden this series. The problem when it comes to the play of Luongo vs. the Bruins, of course, is that he has not had such issues in Vancouver. He’s allowed just two goals over three games and has posted two shutouts.
– The Bruins talked a lot about getting more traffic in front of the net after being shut out in Game 5, and they certainly did that Monday night. Their third and fourth goals came as the direct result of having bodies in front. Mark Recchi set a perfect screen on Ference’s power-play goal that chased Luongo from the game. A minute later Ryder got in front of Schneider and tipped Tomas Kaberle‘s shot into the top corner. Needless to say, continuing to get traffic to the net will be a key for the Bruins in Game 7.
– A couple of nice statistical nights for the defensemen. Kaberle had a pair of assists on the night, giving him 11 points this postseason — the most among Boston defensemen. Ference led all B’s in ice time.
On a more peculiar note (and this may not necessarily be bad), Dennis Sieidenberg didn’t see the ice from until 1:22 of the third period until 11:32 and was not on the bench for a time. We’ll see whether this was equipment or injury-related.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– While the Bruins dominated the first period with relative ease, but Vancouver did come to life from there. The Canucks seemed to regain focus with Schneider in net and spent far more time in the Bruins’ zone. Three power plays will do that, but it should be taken as a sign that just because Luongo collapses, doesn’t mean the hole team does. The Canucks outshot the B’s, 11-8, in the second period and opened the third period by finally getting on the board.
Jannik Hansen thought he had made it 4-2 shortly after, though his shot rang off the post and bounced back as though it had gone in and out. Were it not for the Canucks handing the B’s a 1:13 two-man advantage (on which Krejci scored) with 13:49 to play, the Canucks could have really put a serious fight to make it a close one.
– The idea of a brother Sedin scoring on the power play was something people were prepared to get used to entering the series, but the Bruins had done an excellent job of keeping both the Sedins and the Canucks’ power play silent. Henrik got plenty fancy in beating Thomas for his third-period goal. The tally was his third goal of the postseason and his 22nd point, putting him in a tie with Krejci for the postseason lead in the latter category until Krejci scored to jump back ahead.
– For the first time in his NHL career, Patrice Bergeron was called for four penalties in one game, three of them in the second period. First he was whistled for goaltender interference when he steamrolled Schneider while trying to tip home a centering pass. Then he went off for hauling down Ryan Kesler behind the play. And in the final minute of the period, his elbow came up a little too high while throwing a hit on Christian Ehrhoff. In the third, he and Alexandre Burrows earned matching minors for extracurriculars after the Bruins’ fifth goal. The eight penalty minutes were a new career-high for Bergeron, beating his previous high of seven on April 18, 2009, against the Canadiens. That was also a playoff game — Game 2 of what became a four-game sweep.