Red carpet sendoff
By Derek Jory
The Vancouver Canucks are one victory away from winning the Stanley Cup.
It’s a surreal thought, I know, one that takes a few seconds to digest.
Now drop that thought from your mind. There’s one more game to win and all the focus from the team and fans needs to be on that.
Game 6 goes down Monday night in Boston, meaning Saturday was a travel day and the Canucks were greeted by close to 300 fans at the airport. It was all cheers as they made their way from the front entrance to the ticket desk; it was an unexpected salute worthy of a red carpet.
“This is pretty cool,” said Kevin Bieksa, when asked what it feels like to be a rockstar. “It gets bigger and bigger every time we come on the road. A lot of support in the city, as you can see. Last night was a lot of fun, driving home, seeing everybody out on the streets.”
Naturally coach Alain Vigneault was quizzed about keep his team focused and down-to-earth with all that’s going on and all that will happen, if, you know, the Canucks win one more game.
Vigneault doesn’t believe focus will be an issue come game time.
“I think we've got a very mature group, a group that set out at the beginning of training camp to win the Stanley Cup. We weren't shy about talking about what our goals were. Now we've got an opportunity on Monday to achieve that goal. Until that's done, everybody's real focused on the task at hand.”
Focused was the word of the day as the Canucks met with the media prior to departing for Bean Town and while the players didn’t quite have their game faces on with a roaring crowd in the background at the Vancouver International Airport, they will soon enough.
“We have to be very focused and stay together as a group,” said Bieksa on going into TD Garden, a difficult building to play in.
“It's going to be a hostile crowd. They're loud there. They're violent. They're everything. We’ve got to stick together, the 25 of us, play in a five-man unit. We're one game away right now. We have to put it all together for one game.”
Did you know?
-With a pair of shutouts already in the Stanley Cup Final, Roberto Luongo is now one of just 12 goaltenders to have achieved the feat and he’s a blanking away from a three-way share of the all-time record of three held by Frank McCool (1945) and Martin Brodeur (2003).
-Luongo is the first goaltender to post multiple shutouts in a single Stanley Cup Final since Frank McCool did it in 1945.
-In the 21 previous Stanley Cup Final series even at 2-2, the team winning Game 5 has won the Stanley Cup 71 per cent of the time (15 times).
-The Canucks are 11-2 when scoring first in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The team that has scored the first goal has won each of the five Stanley Cup Final games.
-Heading into Game 6, the Canucks have scored 56 goals in this year’s playoffs, but have given up 60 against. The only team in NHL history to win the Cup when being outscored in the playoffs was the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1945.