Another Stanley Cup final game at the TD Garden, and another Beantown beat down for the Vancouver Canucks.
If the Canucks had to play every game in this arena, than they might face relegation from the NHL. They lost 5-2 in Game 6 Monday, and have been outscored 17-3 in three road games against the Bruins in the Cup final.
The result sets up a winner-take-all Game 7 Wednesday at Vancouver's Rogers Arena, preceded by 48 hours of angst and worry across British Columbia.
And there's good reason for that.
Goaltender Roberto Luongo was once again Wobbly Lou, and was pulled from a second straight start in Boston. He surrendered three goals on eight shots before being hooked by coach Alain Vigneault just eight minutes and 35 seconds into the first period.
"I just felt it was the thing to do," Vigneault said during a terse post-game press conference where he refused to explain anything. "I haven't talked to him. He's going back in next game and he's going to be real good."
Cory Schneider was next man up, and promptly permitted a fourth goal on just the second shot he faced, some 70 seconds after Luongo took a seat. That put this game on ice, and put the Canucks into their second Game 7 in Cup history.
They lost Game 7 of the 1994 final to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, and have never hoisted the Cup since being established in 1970. Boston is seeking its first NHL championship since 1972.
There have been 15 Game 7s in Cup history, and the home team has won 12.
Vancouver has won all three home games of this series. All came by one-goal margins, and two were by 1-0. The other was a 3-2 overtime victory.
While the Bruins have rode an emotional crowd, and constant reminders of fallen teammate Nathan Horton, to easy victories at the Garden, the Canucks have used a different formula.
Their top line, namely Alex Burrows, was on fire in Game 2. In the other two contests, solid goaltending from Luongo and timely goals have led to victory.
There has been debate about the importance of having last-change, which goes to the home team, among the coaches, but Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli was more succinct heading into Game 6. "Last change has had a huge impact," he told the Boston Globe.
Last change should allow Vigneault to keep the Sedin twins away from Boston's top defenceman Zdeno Chara, though the Bruins have been switching on the fly in order to get preferable matchups on the road.
"You play the whole season, and you win the Presidents' Trophy to get these games at home," captain Henrik Sedin said. "That's where we are right now. We're looking forward to it and it's going to be the game of our lifetime."
The Canucks could well be without second-line left winger Mason Raymond, who was hit awkwardly into the board in the opening seconds by Boston's Johnny Boychuk. Raymond was taken to local hospital after laying on his stomach for several minutes.
There are a few candidates to replace him on Ryan Kesler's line, though Jannik Hansen, who has been terrific in this series, seems most logical. In the lineup, Vigneault could turn to fleet winger Jeff Tambellini, who could also fit beside Kesler, or centre Alexandre Bolduc, if he wants a rougher fourth liner who is capable of taking face-offs.
The Bruins scored the fastest four goals in Cup history. They took just four minutes and 14 seconds, besting the previous mark, set by the 1956 Montreal Canadiens, by 75 seconds.
The late stages of the third period degenerated as per usual when a score is this out of hand, this late in an emotional series. Brad Marchand, who scored the game's opening goal, hit Canucks winger Daniel Sedin with several punches and received a minor roughing penalty.
Asked what he was thinking as he took so many fists, Sedin said: "Keep taking shots, the referee is going to make some calls."Report Typo/Error