Get ready for Game 7
Michael Ryder (left) tips a shot past Vancouver Canucks’ goalie Corey Schneider for the Boston Bruins’ fourth goal in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final Monday night in Boston. The Bruins won 5-2 to force a seventh and deciding game Wednesday night in Vancouver. — Photo by The Associated Press
Murphy, one assumes, was an Irishman. His law, therefore, if it were applied anywhere on this side of the Atlantic, would be most likely to find its victim in Boston.
It found the Vancouver Canucks on Monday. Found them wanting in a very big way. Found them curled up in the fetal position, looking very much like a team dying to be a victim of something or other, whatever came along.
Anything that can go wrong, will? Thank you, Murphy. You called it.
Mason Raymond: injured on an awkward but clean Johnny Boychuk hit, 20 seconds into the game. Taken to hospital.
Roberto Luongo: three Boston goals on the Bruins’ first eight shots went past the Canucks’ clearly unsettled starting goalie, none of them suitable for admission by a man whose resume as a world-class, clutch goalie still has some sizable holes in it.
Cory Schneider: beaten by a textbook Michael Ryder deflection on the second shot he faced, in relief of Luongo. Solid thereafter, but too late.
Barely a pulse detectable. No fire. A little anger, maybe, a little embarrassment, but that was about it.
A 5-2 Boston win, a 3-3 series, an oppressively nervy Game 7 coming up Wednesday at Rogers Arena. Try to breathe, people.
The online dictionary Wikipedia says contemporary usage of the term Murphy’s law dates to 1952, in a book which describes it as “an ancient mountaineering adage.”
And the Canucks, it was learned by The Canadian Press on Monday, have secretly been using as a motivational tool for this playoff run a “No Shortcuts To The Top” message delivered by seven-time Mt. Everest conqueror Ed Viesturs, who spoke to the team on a couple of occasions; his message formalized with a hardboard picture of a mountain with a giant Stanley Cup perched on its summit. Each successful step along the way is marked by the addition of another carabiner — the gated metal loops climbers use — to symbolize how close they’re getting.
And they’re still close.
It just doesn’t feel that way, right now.
They don’t have to give any of those carabiners back, just because they fell a couple of thousand feet and landed in a pile of Nepalese yak poop Monday night. They can still get there, but they’re going to have to try the West face. The Eastern slope has been way too steep for them.
The Canucks looked like a team that had a loss to give, that could afford a defeat and still have a Game 7 at home to fix the damage. And maybe they can, but it’s going to be some trick, if they manage it.
Outscored 17-3 in the three games in Boston — not even really competitive other than the first periods of Games 3 and 4, and in garbage time once the Bruins had their 4-0 lead Monday — can any team survive three spankings as thorough as Boston laid on the Canucks at TD Garden?
Is any goaltender strong enough mentally to rebound from being booed, mocked, yanked and ventilated by the Bruins and their fans the way Luongo has been here?
His shutout in Game 5, after surrendering 12 goals on the road, argues that it’s possible. He could bounce back at home again, and if he does, it will be because the team in front of him did, too. It’s not as though there isn’t considerable room for improvement.
But if the Canucks are to win this thing now, it will have to be as a statistical oddity: the highest scoring team with the stingiest defence in the NHL’s regular season will have given up more goals — considerably more — than it scored in the playoffs.
That EA Sports game simulator that correctly picked 13 of the first 14 series winners and predicted a Cup final victory for the Canucks in seven games? If it’s right about this one, it ought to be investigated for witchcraft. But something tells me it’s not going to be right about Luongo winning the Conn Smythe.
He could get back in the race if he stopped 150 shots in a Game 7 shutout, but short of that, surely we’ve seen enough by now to know that he’s not currently in the same conversation with Bruins’ plucky Tim Thomas.
Three road games in Boston, 15 goals against for Bobby Lou? There is talking a good game and then there is putting up or shutting up. He missed out on the second option after Game 5 — not as egregiously as the Bostonians made out, but still — and failed on the first one Monday.
Worse, the body count is beginning to mount.
Raymond, no afterthought on the Ryan Kesler line even if he hasn’t scored much, represents a loss of speed. Dan Hamhuis’ absence has been keenly felt throughout. Kesler is game but playing at about 70 per cent. The Sedin twins made some chances, and perhaps if Henrik had scored on that Kevin Bieksa bank shot off the boards behind Thomas, 45 seconds into the game — almost identical to Max Lapierre’s game-winner Friday — the whole mood of the game would have been different.
Maybe. But he fanned, of course, and only scored in the third period, as did Lapierre, when only the final accounting remained, but the result was in the bag.
By then, Murphy couldn’t have cared less. His work done, he was in the pub, having a couple with the boys.
He’s the all-time playoff scoring leader from this province
Bonavista native and Bruins’ winger Michael Ryder had a goal and an assist in Boston’s 5-2 win Monday, giving him 17 points (eight goals and nine assists) this post-season. It bumps his overall NHL playoff total to 43 points, making him the all-time highest-scoring Stanley Cup performer from Newfoundland and Labrador. Harbour Grace native and Detroit Red Wings forward Daniel Cleary had held the title before Monday with 42 total points.
One more point will give Ryder the best-ever single playoff season total by a Newfoundlander. It’s a title he currently shares with Teddy Purcell of St. John’s, who registered 17 points earlier in these playoffs for the Tampa Bay Lightning.