BOSTON – Had Brad Marchand pounded Daniel Sedin square in the face one more time late in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final, he would have matched his team’s scoring punch with his own punch count.
That’s pretty much all you need to know about how the Bruins have played at home and how the Canucks have fallen into a dark deep hole every time this series has moved to Boston. Can you imagine? Let’s remember that Marchand is still a rookie and those guys are supposed to know their place. How many other first year guys do you know who would have the temerity to drill the reigning scoring champion and probable league MVP for no apparent reason?
“Heat of the moment,” was how Marchand described it after his Bruins forced Game 7 with a 5-2 win.
Did Sedin say or do anything to you?
Why did you punch him, then?
“I felt like it.”
The kid has cajones and so do the Bruins. All that’s left for the Bruins to do to the Canucks is win the Cup in Game 7 and then burn down their city – although Canuck fans will already likely have given them a good head start if their team pulls the chute on home ice.
After Game 6 and regardless of what happens in Game 7, this series is already officially The Most Bizarre Stanley Cup Final in NHL History. The Canucks are creating offense at a pace that would make the 1920s era of no forward passes look like a scorefest. The vitriol between the teams is something you’d expect to see in the Original Six era when teams played each other 14 times in the regular season. Neither road team can seem to do anything right and the momentum shifts are more dramatic than a teenager’s mood swings.
And the fact that it’s all definitely going to come to an end Wednesday night when the Canucks host the Bruins in Game 7 is about the only thing we can count on at the moment. Will the Bruins be able to muster some offense at crucial times and reverse the home ice trend? Pfft. Don’t have a clue. Will Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo respond with a spectacular performance in Game 7 the way he has so many times before when everyone outside the Canuck dressing room seems to have turned on him? It’s possible. Will Canuck fans camp out near The Seawall so they can kidnap Luongo and guarantee a Game 7 start for backup Cory Schneider? That’s preposterous, but now that you mention it…
Luongo couldn’t stop Marchand’s glove high shot from an angle just more than five minutes into the game and that opened the dam right there. Perhaps Luongo was playing too deep in his paint. Perhaps Tim Thomas of the Bruins would have stopped that shot easily because he’s so aggressive in his net. When asked if he would have stopped that shot, Thomas refused to take the bait, so we’ll never know. But we have a fairly good idea what he was thinking.
But Luongo has won a gold medal in the Rogers Arena and vanquished the Chicago Blackhawks there. He has repeatedly responded with great performances after bad ones, with the evidence of Game 5 fresh in his mind. He’ll now have to do it again on easily the biggest stage with the hottest spotlight of his career.
“It’s one game for the Stanley Cup,” Luongo said, “so you can’t hang your head now and feel sorry for yourself. That would be the worst thing I could do.”
No, actually the worst thing Luongo could do would be to play in Game 7 the way he did in Games 3, 4 and 6. If not for the obvious disparity in goaltending, this could have been a very close game and we all know how successful the Canucks have been in squeakers in these playoffs. But Luongo never gave them a chance to find out.
The Bruins’ four goals in 4:14 marked the fastest four goals in the history of the Stanley Cup final. That’s a record we know about. We also know that unless the Canucks beat the Bruins by 11 goals in Game 7, they’ll have won the Stanley Cup scoring fewer goals in the final than they allowed. With the margin now standing at 19-8, the Canucks might not even score half the goals their opponent has and still win the Cup.
They’ll almost certainly have to do it without Mason Raymond, who was taken into the boards on a bizarre and needless play by Johnny Boychuk and went to the hospital on a stretcher. That’s bound to happen when you run a vulnerable guy tailbone first into the boards. The hit likely won’t be reviewed for supplemental discipline, but it should. It displayed a complete lack of respect for an opponent.
Which is something we’ve grown all too accustomed to seeing in this series.
THN’s THREE STARS
1. Mark Recchi
2. Brad Marchand
3. Tim Thomas
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