After a disappointing 2 game (Game 3: 1-8, Game 4: 0-4) losing streak on the road at Boston’s TD Garden, the Vancouver Canuck’s tonight looked to regain the NHL Stanley Cup Finals series lead in front of a loud, capacity crowd at Rogers Arena.
Make no mistake, this was probably one of the biggest games in the club’s 40 year history, with home game victories so far proving to be absolutely vital in the outcome of this final series. A loss tonight would have given the Bruins a distinct advantage putting them on the brink of cup victory heading back to Boston for Game 6.
Home games for the Canucks this series have so far been close, physical affairs and tonight’s clash was no exception with intense, punishing play from both teams not able to generate any movement in the scoreline heading into the change rooms at the end of the second period.
After being pulled by Coach AV in Game 4, the Canuck’s superstar goalie was looking to silence jaded fans and the media alike with a big game in front of his home crowd and boy, he sure didn’t disappoint this time around with 31 big stops.
In the end it came down to a magic rebound goal off the end boards by the Bruins fans least favourite Canuck, Maxim Lapierre, with four and a half minutes left on the clock, to give Vancouver the lead and eventual victory.
As has become customary in this series, the 18,860 fans in Rogers Arena exploded into party mode, as did the reported 100,000+ fans who took to the streets in down town Vancouver just a few short blocks away from the stadium.
The win sets up an exciting clash on Monday (Tuesday, 10am Aussie time) with the opportunity for Vancouver to pick up their first win in Boston this series and in the process secure the coveted Stanley Cup which they’ll be able to bring home to Canada, the first time it has returned “home” in 16 years. I’ll be watching closely for sure!
GO CANUCKS, GO!