Home is where the heart is
By Joey Kenward & Derek Jory
Riding a five-game home ice winning streak, the Canucks are back at Rogers Arena for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins.
Despite being out-scored 12-1 in the last two games, Vancouver prepares for a Bruins team that has lost four straight on the road.
The Canucks are likely going to make one change to their line-up tonight and it’s one that may catch many by surprise. Chris Tanev could very well take the spot of Keith Ballard on the blue line. The 21 year-old appeared in the final two games of the Western Conference Finals with the San Jose Sharks and did play against the Bruins during the lone regular season meeting between the two teams.
The Canucks are coming off their second shutout loss of the playoffs, falling 4-0 at the TD Garden on Wednesday. Prior to that, the Canucks had been shutout six times during the regular season and playoffs. Their record in games following those shutout losses was 4-0-2.
With just four goals through the first four games of this series, there’s no question the Canucks would love to open the flood gates at home.
”Coming into the series we knew we were going to face a really good goaltender and we talked about not getting frustrated because we know he’s going to make some stops and some saves,” assessed Alex Burrows, who takes solace in that Vancouver has already overcome great goaltending this post-season.
“We were in the same spot against Nashville where me made some really good saves too; as long as we keep plugging away and getting shots through, we’re going to get some bounces sooner than later.”
In their five-game series victory over the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Finals, the Canucks got at least one goal from a defenseman in each game. Against the Bruins, just three combined assists have come from Alex Edler (2) and Sami Salo (1).
Heading into tonight’s game, the Canucks have scored 55 goals in this year’s playoffs. However, they have given up 60 to this point. The only team in NHL history to win the Cup when being outscored in the playoffs was the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1945.
Vancouver has not lost three straight games in regulation time since November 21, 2010 and to avoid that fate in Game 5, the power play must come to life. The Canucks are currently 1-for-22 on the man advantage this post-season.
”We’ve been through these droughts before, it’s just that in a moment like this you get the extra attention of course because you’re losing games because of it,” said Henrik Sedin. “That’s the tought part, but you have to try to stay up beat, we’re in a moment now we’re it’s best out of three and we’ve got two games on home ice.”
The Bruins, who have given up just five goals in their last five games, are not expected to make any changes to their line-up this evening.
Tim Thomas is coming off his third shut-out of the playoffs and the fourth of his career against the Canucks. The last time the Bruins posted a shutout in the Cup Finals came in 1978 when Gerry Cheevers had a 4-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens.
Making a strong case for this year’s Conn Smythe Trophy, Thomas is getting closer to setting a NHL playoff record held by former Canucks netminder Kirk McLean. Thomas has made 701 saves to this point in the post-season. McLean holds the league record for most saves in one playoff year as he stopped 761 shots in 1994.
David Krejci is about to play his 50th career NHL playoff game tonight. He currently leads the post season in points (22), goals (11), and game-winning goals (4). Head Coach Claude Julien has 31 playoff victories as coach of the Bruins. He is one playoff win away from passing Don Cherry for the most playoff victories in Boston history.
This will be the fourth straight Cup Finals that will go a minimum of six games. Seven of the last eight Finals have gone either to a sixth of seventh game.