NHL - Boston hope for home comforts
The Stanley Cup finals has been all about home wins and the Boston Bruins will be looking for an extra boost from their raucous fans to avoid elimination from the NHL championship.
The Vancouver Canucks lead in the best-of-seven series 3-2, but to take the cup in six games they will have to win on Monday in Boston where they were blown out of the water in Games 3 and 4 by a total score of 12 to 1.
Vancouver's wins all came at home.
The crowd at Boston's TD Garden appeared to keep the Canucks off-edge mentally, while the Bruins players won the physical battles on the ice as contests that were tight in the first period ended up as lopsided wins.
"Yeah, you know in the first two home games they (the crowd) were unbelievable, and for sure they gave us an extra boost," Boston's backup goaltender Tuukka Rask told reporters on Saturday as the team returned home from Friday's 0-1 loss.
"I can't see any reason they won't be the same way in a Game six," Rask said.
Vancouver defenceman Kevin Bieksa said the Canucks just have to stay focused to keep the crowd distractions at bay and win the cup for the first time in the team's 40 years in the National Hockey League.
"It's going to be a hostile crowd. They're loud there. They're violent. They're everything," Bieksa said.
Monday's game in Boston will be an especially tough test for Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo, who was pulled before the end of Game 4 but came back in Game 5 at home to notch his second hometown shutout of the finals.
Luongo said the key is for Vancouver to show patience even if they fall behind early in the game, which is something they were able to do on the road in the regular season and early rounds of the playoffs.
"We've been a good team on the road, and the fact that it is in Boston shouldn't make a difference," Luongo said.
Boston players said they did not do a good job in Friday's loss putting pressure on Luongo, and they need to get more traffic in front of his net.
If Boston wins on Monday, the series will return to Vancouver for the final tilt on Wednesday.