The Boston Bruins forced a decisive Game 7 in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Final by scoring four first-period goals in a 5-2 victory against the Vancouver Canucks.
Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic, Andrew Ference and Michael Ryder scored in a 4-minute, 14-second span at TD Garden in Boston last night as the Bruins evened the NHL’s best-of-seven championship series at three games apiece.
Game 7 will be tomorrow in Vancouver, where the Canucks have won all three Stanley Cup Final games by one goal.
“We’ve created ourselves another opportunity and it’s up to us to take advantage of it,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said at a news conference. “We have to be a little hungrier than the last three times we’ve been in Vancouver.”
The home team has won every game in the series so far. The host team has a 12-3 record in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, though Pittsburgh won at Detroit in the last decider in 2009.
Canucks fans crowded into downtown Vancouver to watch last night’s game on jumbo television screens and quickly turned their sights to Game 7 after Boston jumped out to a 4-0 lead less than 10 minutes in.
“Sad game,” said Andrew Shields, a high school student from White Rock, British Columbia, who was wearing a bright blue “Cat in the Hat” bodysuit.
“We’ll be back Wednesday,” the 17-year-old Shields said in an interview at a downtown food court. “It’s going to be crazy, insane. So many people are going to come out, and when we win it’s going to be awesome.”
Seeking First Title
The Canucks are seeking their first NHL title after finishing with the best record in the league during the regular season. The last team from Canada to win the Stanley Cup was the Montreal Canadiens in 1993. Vancouver last reached the NHL Finals in 1994, losing a Game 7 in New York to the Rangers.
The Bruins won the last of their five Stanley Cups in 1972. Boston is 0-5 in the finals since then, losing most recently to Edmonton in 1990.
“This is a dream come true to have this kind of opportunity, but it’s not a dream come true unless we come out on top,” Boston’s Lucic, a Vancouver native, said in a televised interview. “We have to prepare like we did tonight and show that fire and passion. We came out with the mindset that we weren’t going to be denied.”
Game 7 Wins
Vancouver won a Game 7 at home during the opening round of the playoffs, beating the Chicago Blackhawks in overtime after blowing a 3-0 series lead.
Boston won Game 7 matchups with Montreal and Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference playoffs as Nathan Horton scored the winning goal in both games. Horton is out with a concussion suffered during Game 3 against the Canucks, though he watched last night’s win from off the ice.
The Bruins outscored Vancouver 17-3 in the three games in Boston and chased Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo with their first-period outburst in Game 6.
Boston took a 1-0 lead 5:31 into the first period when Marchand, a rookie, slipped behind the Canucks defense and fired a wrist shot over Luongo’s glove shoulder. Lucic doubled the advantage 35 seconds later during a line change by the Canucks, taking a pass from Rich Peverley and ripping a shot that trickled through Luongo’s legs.
Luongo was replaced by Cory Schneider after giving up a power-play goal to Ference 8:35 into the opening period. Schneider allowed a goal on the second shot he faced 70 seconds later, as Ryder redirected Tomas Kaberle’s slap shot into the top of the Vancouver net.
The Canucks beat Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas when Henrik Sedin scored a power-play goal 22 seconds into the third period.
Boston pushed its lead back to four goals with 13:01 remaining as David Krejci scored on a 5-on-3 power play.
Vancouver’s second goal came from Maxim Lapierre with 2:26 left.
The last time the home team won every game in the Stanley Cup Final was 2003, when the New Jersey Devils defeated the Anaheim Ducks in seven games.