Monday, June 13, 2011

Advantage Luongo, Advantage Vancouver!

The countdown has begun in Boston, the 8 pm (Eastern, 5 PM on the Pacific coast) start time a call to action for the home sides team, seeking to stave off the end of their season for another day and deliver  one final chance to capture Lord Stanley's Cup.

Game Six finds the pressure squarely on the shoulders of the Boston Bruins and their goaltender Tim Thomas, something that they aren't unfamiliar with, but in this instance, more than ever the consequences of a loss loom final.

The Canucks can take the NHL's Silver collection home with them with a win tonight, a task that has been problematic in their two most recent appearances, but one which doesn't seem to be weighing too heavy on their thoughts heading into the potentially clinching game.

With a Game 5 victory that saw Roberto Luongo return to the kind of form that has caught the imagination of hockey fans through the last few years, the Canucks enter game six with a clean slate from games three and four, games which saw them shellacked in a most determined fashion, but now count as but just two losses on the trail of the Cup, a trail which sees Vancouver ahead 3 games to 2,  one win away from the realization of not only the dream of this season, but for a good number of the players in the lineup a dream that has been held since the days of road hockey and timbits hockey at the local rink.

The job ahead of course won't be easy, the Bruins resilient as ever will no doubt offer up maximum resistance, they've been backed into corners before and battled their way out of them in the past, the Canucks shouldn't have any illusions that tonight won't offer up much of the same.

However, it's still a new start to a new game, the clock will start to tick at puck drop, counting down the minutes to zero, whether in regulation or overtime. If they provide the kind of attack that they showcased in Vancouver on Friday then the desired result is within their reach, a game where not only did their goaltender rise to the occasion with a masterful shutout of the Bruins, but one which featured solid defensive play and more than enough chances to pad the 1-0 victory if not for the ongoing display of goal tending skill from the Bruins Thomas.

The Bruins goaltender has been more than impressive throughout the playoffs, though you have to wonder if eventually the law of averages isn't destined to arrive, in far too many games through the playoffs Thomas has been the only reason the Bruins have survived to play in this game six, the Bruins and their fans must surely be hoping that he has at least two more spectacular performances to give.

Friday night provided the Canucks with the advantage into game six, and despite the much documented troubles of the first two games in Boston, they hold that advantage going into tonight's game.

The atmosphere will be electric in the TD Garden as puck drop nears, the anxiety level perhaps at a near record pitch and for the first time in a long time in this series, that anxiety won't belong to the team in the White and Blue sweaters.

Pressure for them was a needed bounce back game that didn't come in game four and a then pivotal game five that lived up to its billing as the most important game of the team's history.

The Canucks can finish off that history exam with a win tonight, the Bruins on the other hand may have plans to give the Canucks a reason to study harder for a make up exam on Wednesday, regardless it would seem that Monday's game provides the platform for a remarkable night of hockey.

All that remains to be seen now is if it will be the last night of hockey this year.

You can review all of the pre game debates and discussions from our Stanley Cup archive page, which you can find here.

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