BRUINS at CANUCKS
(Best-of-seven series tied, 3-3)
TV: NBC (HD), CBC (HD), RDS (HD)
It all comes down to this.
After six games of exhilarating hockey -- three tight, low-scoring contests in Vancouver and three wild, high-scoring affairs in Boston -- the 2011 Stanley Cup will be awarded at a decisive Game 7 Wednesday at Rogers Arena.
It's been a long time since either team has hoisted the Cup. The Bruins haven't won a championship since 1972 while the Canucks -- born in 1970 -- haven't won in franchise history.
They say nothing is sweeter than a Game 7 victory. Who gets to end the season on a win?
Boston seems to have no trouble scoring at TD Garden -- the Bruins have tallied 17 goals in their three Stanley Cup Final games there. Rogers Arena is a different story. Boston has recorded only two goals in its three losses there, getting shut out twice. Unfortunately for the Bruins, Game 7 is in Vancouver, and they're going to have to figure out a way to beat Roberto Luongo
at his home arena.
Meanwhile, goaltender Tim Thomas
has been consistent through all six games of this series, and perhaps the best player in the Final overall. He's turned away 201 of the 209 shots he’s faced.
The big story is Luongo, who's now had to shake off three bad performances at TD Garden. His latest mishap in Boston was in Monday's Game 6 when he allowed three goals before the 10-minute mark of the first period and was pulled in favor of backup Cory Schneider
Luongo has been able to rebound nicely from those losses in the playoffs, mainly Game 5 in Vancouver when he came back from two sub-par performances in Boston by posting a 1-0 shutout.
Offensively, the Canucks are still struggling to produce in the Final. The Presidents' Trophy winners were one of the biggest offensive threats through the regular season -- posting the League's best power play and the NHL's No. 1 and No. 4 scorers in Daniel and Henrik Sedin
-- but haven't shown much of that in this series against Boston. In the Final, Vancouver is 2-for-29 on the power play while the Sedins have combined for only 5 points.
All of that can be erased, though, with a victory in Game 7.
Thomas has allowed just eight goals in his last seven starts, dating back to his shutout in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. … Mark Recchi had 3 assists in Game 6, and is tied for the series high with 3 goals and 6 points.
The Canucks announced forward Mason Raymond
, injured early in the first period of Game 6, is out at least three months with a vertebrae compression fracture.
Luongo has an 8.05 goals-against average with a .773 save percentage in three games in Boston this series. Meanwhile, in three games in Vancouver, he's 3-0 with two shutouts, an 0.67 GAA and .979 save percentage. … This is the sixth time in the last 11 years that the Stanley Cup Final has gone to seven games. … The Bruins are 11-1 this postseason when scoring first.
"It's coming down to one game," Recchi said. "This is what we dream of, when you're little kids playing street hockey, you know, you're in Game 7. We're going to go up there and we're going to go lay it on the line like they are, and I think it's going to be an exciting game. We're going to do whatever we can."