In a flash, it became clear
Initial onslaught showed team focus
If this had been a title fight, the referee would have stopped it before the 10-minute mark. Four roundhouse shots to the jaw and the Canucks were flat on their backs, staring up at Milt Schmidt’s retired number while the man himself bore witness.
No team ever had scored four goals in a Stanley Cup Final game as quickly as Boston did at the Garden last night. Within four minutes and 14 seconds Brad Marchand (5:31), Milan Lucic (6:06), Andrew Ference (8:35), and Michael Ryder (9:45) all fired pucks into the Vancouver net. The first three coming against Roberto Luongo, the Canucks’ $64 million colander. The fourth off relief ace Cory Schneider.
“Four bad minutes and the game was gone,’’ said defenseman Christian Ehrhoff after Vancouver had been busted by a 5-2 count and sent back home, along with the unclaimed Cup for a seventh game tomorrow.
Thus did the hosts administer a shocking TKO to the woozy and wobbly tourists from British Columbia, who didn’t come here figuring they’d be the fall guys for a Boston Massacre reenactment a few blocks away from the original in front of 17,565 R-dropping partisans who were howling for blood.
“It was crazy out there,’’ said Marchand, whose opening goal nearly blew the roof off the building. “The fans were unbelievable. You could barely hear anyone talking on the bench. Obviously it was great to be able to use that energy and emotion to get a couple early and to be able to sit on it.’’
The same ursine bunch that only has managed two goals in three games at Rogers Arena potted twice as many last night in half the time it takes a Zamboni to refresh the ice. The previous record of 5:29, set by Montreal against Detroit, had stood since 1956. It wasn’t as if goals have been hard to come by hereabouts. After popping in eight in Game 3 and another four in Game 4, the Bruins knew that they could score in their own den.
The difference this time was the barrage came not in the second period, but right off the bat. Playing an elimination game clearly added a sense of urgency. “It was a do-or-die situation for us,’’ said Marchand, the initiator/instigator who has scored three goals in his last four games and has set a record for most playoff goals (nine) by a Boston rookie. “We wanted to make sure we had a big start and get some momentum early. It was nice to get a big lead early on.’’
The goals came from four different players on four different plays. Marchand wristed one high over Luongo’s left shoulder from the right circle. “It was more of an instinctive shot,’’ he said. “I do that a lot in practice. I want to get a shot off breaking on net and it was nice to go in.’’
The second came on a deft drop from Rich Peverley to Lucic, whose blast trickled through the goalie’s pads.
The third came on the power play from a Ference slapper from the left point and that was all for Luongo, who promptly was pulled for the second time in the series and the fourth time in the playoffs.
The fourth was a Tomas Kaberle shot from the point that Ryder redirected past Schneider. “I just tried to get a stick on it and it just managed to find its way into the net,’’ said Ryder, who’d just assisted on Ference’s goal.
The challenge then for the Bruins was not to call it a night and start packing for the Coast. “We came out of the first period 4-0 and said make sure we play it as a 0-0 game,’’ said Ryder. “That’s where the mental part comes in. Everyone has to make sure to stay focused.’’
The Bruins did what they had to do here. If this were a total-goals series, it already would be over. Now, they have to do something no Boston team ever has had a chance to do — win a seventh game for the championship. “If we’re going to win the Cup,’’ said Tyler Seguin, “we’re going to have to be the team that steals it.’’
John Powers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.