To sum up, Bruins know their goal total is secondary
Despite outscoring the Canucks, 14-6, through five games of the Stanley Cup Final, the Bruins are focused on a different statistic, the one that says Vancouver leads the series, 3-2.
“It doesn’t matter how much you win or lose by; it’s whether you win or lose,’’ said Brad Marchand. “They’ve won a majority of the games, and we’ve scored a majority of the goals. It doesn’t matter at this point. It’s who wins and who loses.’’
The home team has won the first five games, albeit in different fashion. The Canucks won each of the three in Vancouver by one goal. The Bruins won Games 3 and 4 in Boston by a combined score of 12-1.
“It’s a pretty bizarre stat,’’ Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “Our inability to score down there [is] why we’re down, three games to two. When you get shut out two out of three games, that’s what happens.’’
The Bruins’ offense has frozen over when the team has traveled north of the border. In Friday’s 1-0 loss in Game 5, the Bruins outshot the Canucks in the first and third periods, but the total wasn’t indicative of the number of great scoring chances.
“As we all know, [Roberto Luongo] is an elite goaltender, but I don’t think we’ve made his life as hard in Vancouver as we have here in Boston,’’ Julien said.
Yesterday, the Bruins tried to pinpoint the cause of their offensive frustration Friday.
“I think a lot of times you try to overthink things, overanalyze things, try to go out there and make a forced play,’’ Chris Kelly said. “I think the best method is to stay the course, stay with the system, stay with what’s worked. Most times, it’s been good for us.’’
In this series, that strategy has worked better at home. Kelly felt the Bruins were more consistent and thus capitalized on more scoring opportunities in Games 3 and 4.
“Obviously, you want to get as many pucks on net as you can,’’ he said. “I don’t think we did a great job at consistently putting the puck on net [Friday]. The more pucks, the more traffic, the better your chances are.’’
The Bruins’ power play hasn’t helped, either. After Friday’s 0 for 4, they are 3 for 21 in the series and 8 for 82 this postseason.
But the Bruins are used to a weak power play, as well as strong goaltending from Tim Thomas. Perhaps familiarity isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Tomorrow’s night’s Game 6 won’t be the first time the Bruins have faced elimination this year at the Garden. They hosted and won Game 7s against the Canadiens and Lightning, with Nathan Horton scoring the deciding goals in each. Despite many potential motivating factors, from the hit Horton took from Aaron Rome to criticism of Thomas, the Bruins don’t think it will be difficult to focus on Game 6.
“They know what they’re playing for, and so do we,’’ Kelly said. “Our season is on the line. We don’t have any games to give up.’’
If the Bruins beat the Canucks tomorrow night, they’ll play Game 7 Wednesday in Vancouver, where the Bruins’ offense seemingly disappears. Still, going toe-to-toe against the league’s top team in a hostile environment has provided some encouragement for the Bruins in the event of a winner-take-all game.
“We may not have brought the same game to Vancouver as we did here. But I don’t think we’re that far off,’’ Julien said. “In all three of those games, we had an opportunity to win. We were in every game in Vancouver, and that’s important for us right now, to know that if we can play a little better and create that Game 7, we’ll be a confident group.’’