Attending Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals was an amazing experience. From the surprise of Milt Schmidt as the honorary captain to the fans singing both the Canadian and American national anthems to the presence of Nathan Horton to the embarrassment of Roberto Luongo, every second at TD Garden last night was one to savor.
The Bruins did what they have done all year – answer the bell when their backs were against the wall. Monday was the most important of those games, as the Bruins fought off the end of their season with a dominating 5-2 win.
So many thoughts went through my mind during the game, in the immediate aftermath, and all morning today. Here’s just a sampling of what Game 6 brought NHL fans:
- The ironic part of Roberto Luongo’s comments about Tim Thomas playing “outside the paint” was that, on two of the three Boston goals, had Luongo been playing outside the crease, he likely would have made the stop. Instead, Brad Marchand roofed one over his shoulder in the butterfly, Milan Lucic went five-hole, and Andrew Ference’s blasted a low shot that avoided Luongo’s lower pad. On all three goals, Luongo was in the crease and in the butterfly. I am not saying Luongo’s style is the cause of his struggles in Boston; obviously his style works fine in Vancouver, I just found it ironic that two of the three goals are likely stopped by being outside the paint.
- The energy level inside the TD Garden was immense. The fans started 20 minutes before the game started, and hit fever pitch on Marchand’s goal. The energy stayed right through the rest of the game as the fans enjoyed the final game of the 2010-2011 season in Boston. The Bruins saluted the fans on their way off the ice, thanking them for their support throughout the season and the playoffs.
- As I pointed out pre-game, when David Krejci and Lucic play well, the
Bruins generally win. Both scored last night, and both played solid games. They will need to do the same on Wednesday. I expect Lucic, who is from Vancouver, to finally show up in his hometown. He had struggled in Games 1, 2 and 5.
- Ference, who was a scapegoat a year ago, has emerged as a quality No. 3 defenseman during the postseason. Ference had just 3 goals and 12 assists in 70 regular season games, but netted his fourth goal of the playoffs last night. He also has 10 assists, is a plus-8, and is averaging 20:23 of ice time in 24 postseason games.
- The Bruins did not commit a single giveaway during Game 7 (the Canucks committed 5). It is only the second time in the postseason a tram went a game without a giveaway.
- Boston knew they needed to come out physical, and it did. The Bruins were credited with a series-high 43 hits, led by Shawn Thornton, who had 7. Thornton has provided quite the spark for the Bruins, who are 3-1 in this series since Thornton joined the lineup.
- Expect Luongo to bounce back and play well in Game 7. He seems far more comfortable in Rogers Arena and has allowed just two goals in the three previous games in Vancouver in this series.
- The Bruins have fans waving banners of players past and present in the balcony prior to each game. The order last night went Johnny Bucyk (9), Milt Schmidt (15), Terry O’Reilly (24), Ray Bourque (77), and Michael Ryder (73). I know Ryder has had a great postseason, including a goal and an assists last night, but how did he rate to be next to Bourque? Shouldn’t his flag be next to Glen Wesley or even Lyndon Byers?
- Daniel and Henrik Sedin combined for three points in the third period last night, surpassing the total of two points they had in the other five games. Hopefully for the Bruins, the Sedins are not waking up.
- The Bruins have set a number of playoff record during this amazing run, including most games (24), most wins (15), and most minutes played by a goalie (1483). Last night, two more were set as Marchand’s 9th playoff goal is now the most by a Bruins’ rookie (Mike Krushelnyski in 1983 and Bobby Joyce in 1988), and Claude Julien earned his 32nd career win, surpassing Don Cherry’s 31.
- Krejci needs one goal to break Cam Neely’s record for most game-winning goals. It would be greatif that record fell Wednesday night.
- The most shocking stat of the night? It was not Luongo’s three goals in nine minutes; it was Patrice Bergeron earning 8 penalty minutes on the night. Bergeron had just 20 PIMs in 21 games coming in, and had just 26 in 80 regular-season games. No Lady Byng for Bergeron, but I think he would rather a Stanley Cup.