BOSTON -- The Stanley Cup was in town, but stayed in its case.
This series is going to Game 7.
The Boston Bruins -- on the brink of elimination -- used a four-goal first period to defeat the Vancouver Canucks 5-2 Monday night in Game 6 at TD Garden. With the win, Boston stays alive as both teams will head to Rogers Arena -- one last time -- where the Stanley Cup champion will be decided
Save of the Game: With a four-goal cushion and lots action by Vancouver's net, Tim Thomas was getting pretty lonely on the Boston end of the ice late in the first period. Don't confuse that for getting rusty. With 43 seconds remaining before first intermission, Vancouver forward Jannik Hansen skated hard down the center of the ice on a breakaway. Thomas stuck with the Danish forward, eventually making a save with his left pad on the short-side attempt to preserve the Bruins’ nearly perfect first period.
Shift of the Game: The Bruins maintained a comfortable 4-0 lead midway through the second period -- but that didn't stop them from keeping up the offensive pressure. Boston's top line of David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Michael Ryder wouldn't let the fans at TD Garden sit during their shift about halfway through the second period. The line fired four shots on goal in the span of 27 seconds -- including two shots from defenseman Andrew Ference -- to keep Vancouver backup goalie Cory Schneider on his toes.
Stat of the Game: Roberto Luongo's goals-against average at home this Final is 0.67. His GAA at TD Garden? 8.05.
Star of the Game: Brad Marchand. How do you pump up a team on the brink of elimination in the Stanley Cup Final? Score a quick goal. The rookie did just that, firing a sharp wrister at the right faceoff circle past Luongo to give Boston a 1-0 lead just 5:31 into the game. The goal gave the Bruins much-needed early momentum.
Marchand's goal was also historically significant -- it was his ninth of the postseason, setting a new franchise record, previously held by Mike Krushelnyski and Bobby Joyce.
Best Moment of Game: Fans at TD Garden had plenty to cheer for early in the first period, as the Bruins jumped out to a 2-0 lead 6:06 into the game. They got an even bigger reason to cheer at a stoppage after the second goal; Nathan Horton -- Boston's top-line forward who is sidelined for the rest of the series with a severe concussion he sustained in Game 3 -- appeared on the video board from a live feed inside the arena. Sporting a suit and a wide grin, the forward mouthed "thank you" into the camera. Horton made a surprise visit into the Bruins' locker room after Game 4, but this was the first opportunity for the fans to see -- first-hand -- that the forward was faring OK.
What's Next: It's the last game of the season as the series shifts back to Vancouver Wednesday night for a decisive Game 7.
I downplayed the first one because I thought it's just a hockey game. We just want to win the game; it's against our rival and we want the two points. I downplayed it, but now having gone through the first one I look back and say, 'Geez, that was really cool.' I think as I've grown a bit older I've got a lot more appreciation for what we're allowed to do every day.
— Capitals forward Brooks Laich on the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, the second one of his career after 2011 in Pittsburgh