BOSTON - Karma wore black and gold Monday night and let all the air out of Roberto Luongo’s tires.
Now the Stanley Cup road show will pack up for one last time and make the trek back to Vancouver for Game 7 Wednesday night.
Time for one game at the Rogers Arena, one shot at a drink from the Cup which will satisfy just one long-thirsty fan base.
The Boston Bruins blasted Luongo and the Vancouver Canucks 5-2 in Game 6 Monday night at TD Garden, holding serve in what has been a homer series.
The Canucks won all three games at Rogers Arena by a combined score of 5-2.
The Bruins won all three at TD Garden by a combined score of 17-3.
But despite chasing Luongo in Game 6 after he gave up three goals on eight shots, the Bruins aren’t feeling like they’ve got the Canucks netminder and his team on the run.
“We did that last time and then he shut us out when we got in there (Vancouver in Game 5),” said Bruins forward Michael Ryder, who contributed to a four-goal barrage against the Canucks in a span of four minutes and 14 seconds, a Stanley Cup final record. “We definitely know he’s going to bounce back and we have to make sure we find ways to score on him when we get there (Game 7 in Vancouver). It’s all about working to get to the net.”
If you believe in this kind of thing, Luongo might have angered the hockey gods with his comments critical of Boston goaltender Tim Thomas after Game 5 Friday. Thomas gave up the only goal in the Canucks 1-0 win that night on a carom off the backboards.
To refresh: “It’s not hard if you’re playing in the paint. It’s an easy save for me, but if you’re wandering out and aggressive like he does, that’s going to happen,” said Luongo of Thomas' work after Game 5. “He might make some saves that I won’t, but in a case like that, we want to take advantage of a bounce like that and make sure we’re in a good position to bury those.”
Luongo, in what came off as a comment born perhaps of some hyper-sensitivity, complained about how he had been pumping Thomas’ tires without the Bruins goaltender saying anything nice back.
I guess Thomas, who is a virtual lock to win the Conn Smythe Trophy now as the playoffs’ most valuable player, would have had to try really hard to find something nice to say about Luongo after Game 6.
Maybe something about how if Luongo had been more aggressive he might have stopped the shot by Boston’s Brad Marchand that went over his glove 5:31 into the first period (the B’s are now 8-0 in games in which he scores).
Milan Lucic put one between Luongo’s pads at 6:06 and was chased from the net when Andrew Ference made it 3-0 on the Bruins’ eighth shot at 8:35 into the first.
In just over five periods of work here in this final, Luongo gave up 15 goals on 66 shots, but Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said Luongo will be in net for Game 7, in case you were wondering.
“I don’t have to say anything to him,” said Vigneault. “He’s a professional. His preparation is beyond reproach and he’s going to be ready for Game 7.”
Luongo might have gotten a little consideration for the Smythe if he had come up big in Game 6 and won the Cup, but not now. No way.
Cory Schneider came to take over in net for Luongo and gave up a goal a minute later to Michael Ryder.
So now, instead of making the trip to Vancouver in the arms of the Canucks on their plane, the Stanley Cup will still be in its box in the hold of the NHL charter.
The question now: Does Stanley stay on the West Coast with the Canucks or make another transcontinental flight, this time in the arms of the Bruins?
“I’m trying not to think about it. I’m getting nervous already,” said Marchand of Game 7. “It’s an unbelievable situation, the one you always dream about growing up.”