Judging by the goal totals, it’s obvious the Boston Bruins have been better at home than on the road. That certainly didn’t change in Monday’s Game 6.
Returning to the TD Garden — where they now have outscored the Vancouver Canucks 17-3 — the Bruins wasted little time getting their offense in rhythm. In a 4-minute, 14-second span of the first period, Boston got goals from Brad Marchand (at 5:31), Milan Lucic (at 6:06), Andrew Ference (a power-play tally at 8:35) and Michael Ryder (at 9:45) to get out to a quick 4-0 lead.
When all was said and done, the Bruins — on a night in which they chased starter Roberto Luongo with the Ference goal — earned a 5-2 victory and forced a Game 7 on Wednesday night in Vancouver.
“We needed to come out hard tonight, and I thought our guys responded,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said. “Our guys have responded well and now we have to make sure we don’t get too comfortable with our game. We’re willing to bring it to Vancouver with us, because that’s what it’s going to take to win.”
Getting off to a quick start was part of the Bruins’ plan in Game 6.
“We came in with the game plan that we wanted to execute and we wanted to have a good start,” Bruins rookie forward Tyler Seguin said. “Everyone rose to the occasion, and we had a good five minutes where we popped four goals and stayed consistent throughout the entire 60 [minutes].”
After dropping Game 5 in Vancouver, many thought it was only a matter of time before the Canucks would hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup. The Bruins made sure nobody would do any hoisting until Wednesday.
In order for that team to be the Bruins, they will need to get a few goals past Luongo, who has only given up two goals in three games in Vancouver. That way Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, the clear favorite for the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, will get some much-needed breathing room.
A start like Monday’s in a hostile environment should help the cause.
“I think we have to make sure we get off to a good start,” said Marchand, who became the Bruins all-time leader in goals scored in a single playoff year by a rookie with his ninth. “They seem to get so much momentum and energy from their crowd, and we just have to find a way to counter that and come out strong.”
The Bruins are all too familiar with seventh games. They’ve already won two this postseason when currently injured Nathan Horton — given a standing ovation by the crowd on Monday after being shown on the arena’s large screens — scored Game 7 winners against the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning.
While Horton won’t suit up Wednesday because of the concussion he suffered in Game 3 courtesy of an Aaron Rome hit, one can bet the Bruins once again will come out blazing, especially with the championship at stake.
“It’s the most important game for both teams,” captain Zdeno Chara said. “That’s [going to be] the game of the year.”