Big story: The champagne is on the ice. Now all the Vancouver Canucks have to do is go into a building where they've been outscored 12-1 in this series and find a way to win the franchise's first Stanley Cup championship.
Yes indeed, the Stanley Cup Final shifts back to TD Garden for Game 6 after Vancouver's pulsating 1-0 win against the Boston Bruins at Rogers Arena on Friday night. Roberto Luongo bounced back in a big way for the Canucks, recording the shutout after allowing all 12 goals in Beantown during Games 3 and 4.
"I don't want to start making excuses for what happened here in the first two games," Luongo said. "(Monday) night is all about having fun, making sure you enjoy the moment and come ready to play hard, lay it all on the line and see what happens."
Canucks: If you went strictly by the statistics, one could make the case the Bruins would have already won this series. Yet here is Vancouver just a solid 60-minute effort away from hoisting Lord Stanley for the very first time.
Obviously, much of it has to with the fact that the Canucks were badly outplayed in Games 3 and 4 at TD Garden. But all those stats -- such as Luongo's 6.99 goals-against average and .793 save percentage in those two contests -- will get thrown out the window should Vancouver find a way to win Monday's showdown.
"Stats are for GMs and player agents; what matters is a win," Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa said. "During the regular season everyone is trying to get their stats, but in the playoffs, I can only speak for our team. Nobody could care about stats.
"We obviously had a couple of lopsided losses against Chicago where things went the wrong way. We've had two lopsided losses here. Stats aren't going to be in our favor, but you're not playing for stats. You're playing for a win and that's all that counts. That's the benchmark."
Bruins: Tim Thomas is wrapping up a season for the ages. The Boston goaltender has been so good in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, there's a good chance he'll win the Conn Smythe Trophy even if the Bruins lose this series.
The University of Vermont product has a 1.21 GAA and a .964 save percentage in the Stanley Cup Final, yet he'll need to be sharp again Monday night just to force a Game 7, which would be played Wednesday at Vancouver.
"I think it would be hard to find a goalie like Timmy that has been so dominant but also with the character that he has and the mental strength that he has shown," Boston center Patrice Bergeron said. "He's a special, special person and a special player."
Who's hot: Canucks forward Maxim Lapierre has two points in his last three games. He scored the lone goal of Game 5, which came 4:35 into the third period.
Injury report: Vancouver defenseman Dan Hamhuis has missed the last four games with a lower-body injury. He did not skate Sunday afternoon. Neither did center Ryan Kesler, but he will be in the lineup Monday night. … Boston's Nathan Horton is out for the remainder of the series with a severe concussion he sustained from a hit by Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome in Game 3. Rome is also out for the remainder of the series after being suspended four games for that hit.
Stat pack: Home teams are 5-0 in this series. With Vancouver's win in Game 5, home teams improved to 16-2 in the Stanley Cup Final since 2009.
Puck drop: "He's proved it all year that he likes the word 'warrior.' He's fought through a lot and been through a lot. At this time of year, you lay it out on the line no matter what you're going through. He's continued to do that. We need a big game out of him tomorrow for sure. For all the guys, yeah, it's definitely an incentive. If he's doing it, we can do it." -- Canucks forward Mason Raymond on linemate Ryan Kesler