June 14, 2011

Attack mentality key in Bruins Game 6 win

by Jesse Connolly

Michael Ryder goes to congratulate Andrew Ference on his first-period goal in Game 6 on Monday night. (Getty)

Looking at all of the statistics produced by the Stanley Cup Finals, the Bruins appeared to be getting a raw deal heading into Game 6.

They obliterated the Canucks in the first two games in Boston by a 12-1 margin and led 14-6 in goals entering Monday night's matchup. They'd held the Canucks vaunted power play to just a single tally. But in spite of all of that, the Black and Gold found themselves trailing three games to two.

Had the Canucks been victorious in the final game played this season at TD Garden, none of that would've meant much of anything. The Bruins approached the big tilt with an unrelenting determination to make sure that their opponent wasn't able to celebrate on their ice, in their barn. And because of that, this series will now shift back to Vancouver, as the Bruins forced a Game 7 at Rogers Arena on Wednesday with yet another convincing win on home ice.

"Yeah, it definitely doesn’t get any better than this," said Milan Lucic, who scored Boston's second goal in a 5-2 win. "You dream about going up and playing game seven in the Stanley Cup Final and here we are, in this situation. We just have to go there and do what we need to do to win and have fun with it."

While forcing a seventh game was on the Bruins' agenda, they knew they couldn't let their minds wander and start thinking about it during Game 6.

"We didn’t worry about a game seven," Rich Peverley said. "We worried about game six, and if we took care of this game, game seven would come eventually. That was our focus, not only just this game, but the first twenty minutes. And I thought we did a good job of maintaining that energy level. After the first goal, we continued to go at them."

The B's attack was nothing shy of relentless. After Brad Marchand opened the scoring at the 5:31 mark of the first period, Boston poured it on with three more tallies in the next 4:14, pushing their lead to 4-0 and chasing goalie Roberto Luongo in the process.

"Yeah, it was really important for us to get the first one," said center David Krejci, who buried Boston's fifth goal of the game. "It was a must-win for us. You go and get the first goal, and then the crowd gets into it, we’ll feed off their energy, and I think that’s what happened."

When Krejci arrived at the rink for the highly-anticipated showdown, he had a good feeling there'd be more hockey to look forward to.

"We came here, and it didn’t feel like the last game of the season," said Krejci. "It didn’t feel like this is it, you know? And 'Marshy's' first goal was a great shot and it was pretty early. It gave us a little confidence. I think some of us got way looser, and we were making some plays, and we got the next three goals in the next three or four minutes."

Now, the Bruins must find a way to bring the intensity, the drive, the scoring chances and the attack mentality on the road. It's all been omnipresent during their trio of home tilts but completely missing in action in Vancouver, where they've managed to score just two goals in three contests.

"It’s the last game of the year and we’ve got to throw it all out there and make sure we bring the same intensity that we did tonight, and physicality and the same emotion," Michael Ryder said. "And I think if we do that, especially early in the game, we’ll hopefully get the momentum and we’ll go from there."

For the Bruins, that formula has been executed to perfection at TD Garden. Find a way to make it work in Vancouver, and the Stanley Cup could very well be on its way back to the Hub of Hockey.