BOSTON – The Bruins came up big when they had to, swiping a 5-2 victory in an elimination Game 6 in TD Garden tonight.
Boston beat the Vancouver Canucks to keep their Stanley Cup Championship hopes alive and the teams will square off for the trophy on Wednesday night in Vancouver for Game 7.
The Bruins got things going in the opening stanza and never let up. Four first period goals set the pace for the B’s and got the sold-out TD Garden crowd of 17,565 going early.
Brad Marchand sniped a shot past Luongo to open the scoring at the 5:31 and Milan Lucic followed that up just 35 seconds later with his fifth goal of the postseason.
“It was a must-win. We came here, and it didn’t feel like the last game of the season. It didn’t feel like this is it, you know? And Marshy’s first goal was a great shot and it was pretty early,” Bruins forward David Krejci said.
“It gave us a little confidence.”
Mark Recchi and Michael Ryder finished the period with two points each, but it was Andrew Ference’s power play goal at 8:35—the third goal of the night for Boston—that sent Roberto Luongo to the bench in favor of Canucks backup goaltender Cory Schneider.
While the Boston College product is a suitable replacement for Luongo, and held the B’s off the board in Game 4, Boston quickly solved Schneider tonight. Ryder scored the Bruins fourth goal at 9:45 of the first, tipping a Tomas Kaberle shot from the left point past Schneider.
“Well we wanted to get off to a good start, that’s what we’ve said you know. And we wanted to make sure we got pucks in net and use our speed and we did that early in the game,” Michael Ryder said of the B’s first period. “ And it paid off, you know, we knew they weren’t going to quit and we had to keep playing the same way.”
The Bruins four goals in a span of 4:14 in the first is a new NHL record for the fastest four goals by one team in a Stanley Cup Final game and eclipsed the old mark of 5:29 set by the Montreal Canadiens vs. Detroit on March 31, 1956.
The second period saw the action slow down with neither team netting a goal. Vancouver had three man-advantage opportunities, with B’s forward Patrice Bergeron taking all three Boston penalties in the second frame.
Although Vancouver began to even out the shots in the period, out-shooting Boston 11-8 in the second for a 27-22 Boston lead in the category after two, the B’s penalty kill held strong and kept the league’s best power play off the board.
Vancouver got one back early in the third with a goal off the stick of Henrik Sedin just 22 seconds in to the period. The Canucks thought they scored again just minutes later, but the goal was ruled no good after a short review.
Just when the Canucks thought they were back in the game, the B’s stole the momentum right back as David Krejci slipped a back door snipe past Schneider for the B’s fifth goal of the evening at the 6:59 mark.
“We knew they were going to [fight back hard],” Tyler Seguin said.
“And obviously we want to go into each period like it’s, thinking it’s zero-zero, so I think we did that. They still came hard, so we know they’re going to still come back pretty hard.”
The Bruins continued to rack up the third period penalties, but the PK held strong throughout the night as the B’s went on to the eventual 5-2 victory.
The do-or-die, winner takes all Game 7 match-up will be played in Vancouver on Wednesday night.
“It’s the last game of the year and we’ve got to throw it all out there. And for us you know, it’s a big step for us this year to get where we are. And you know we want to make sure we end it on a good note,” Ryder said.
“And it’s all about work ethic and making sure we throw it all out there.”