x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

No room for Boston Bruins to err now

Two wins away from lifting the Stanley Cup, but one defeat to the Canucks will end all hope.

The Boston Bruins have to win both remaining games against the Canucks, but it is not a task that is fazing them.
The Boston Bruins have to win both remaining games against the Canucks, but it is not a task that is fazing them.

The Boston Bruins realise they are in a tight spot. They have no room for error - win two games in a row, or the Vancouver Canucks are the Stanley Cup champions.

But the Bruins have been in multiple jams already in this post-season, and they are still alive heading into Game 6 of the finals tonight in Boston.

"We've been through this, I don't know how many times, so it's not something that's new to us," Claude Julien, the Boston coach, said. "We've had to regroup all year.

"I don't think we're a team that's done anything the easy way, so in certain ways, it's not a surprising that we're here in this situation where we've got to bring our team back home and create a Game 7."

To get to a Game 7, the Bruins must win tonight, which would send the series back to Vancouver for the deciding game. The Bruins have won two all-or-nothing games already this post-season, but both of those were at home.

"It's going to be tight, but if we play the right way, we have a chance," said Boston's Daniel Sedin, who has not scored since Game 2. "We can't play the way we did in the last two games in Boston. That has to end."

One of the most frustrated Bruins must be Tim Thomas, the goalkeeper who has allowed only six goals in the first five games. Yet the Canucks are on the brink of their first NHL title despite being outscored 14-6 by Boston.

"The plan was for us to score more than them, which I guess we have, but ..." Thomas said, his voice trailing off.

The Canucks have won two 1-0 games, and 12 of Boston's goals were in two blowout wins in Boston. The West Coast has not been nearly as kind to the Bruins in a series that has been dominated by stellar goaltending from Thomas and Vancouver's Roberto Luongo.

"It's very close," Luongo said. "It's at our fingertips right now. [It is] going to be very important to stay focused. We're ready to do whatever it takes to win."

While Luongo has been alternately brilliant and hopeless, Thomas is Boston's only constant in the series, scrambling around his crease in a textbook performance of a goaltending style that won't be found in any instruction manual.

Thomas remains confident the Bruins can win if they gather some momentum back at home tonight.

"It seems like so far this series, the home crowds have helped the teams," said Thomas, who has a .971 save percentage in the finals, stopping 165 of Vancouver's 171 shots. "It's not always the case, but going home for Game 6, we hope it's the case one more time."

Vancouver had the NHL's highest-scoring offence and best power play during the regular season, but the Canucks have been forced to play a different game just to survive in the finals.