VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The Bruins have played three games at Rogers Arena thus far in the Stanley Cup Final.
Three times they have lost by a single goal, twice by a 1-0 score.
And though the Bruins have outscored the Vancouver Canucks, 14-6, overall in this series, they find themselves heading home for Monday’s Game 6 down 3-2 and with their season hanging in the balance.
The lingering shadow of three straight one-goal road losses — and five straight road losses overall in the postseason — might drive a less disciplined coach to admit his frustration. But Claude Julien has gone this far by refusing to outwardly worry or lament lost chances, and he’s not about to do so now.
“It is what it is,” said the Bruins coach, sounding a lot like a certain football coach. “The two teams that are here are good teams and the Canucks don’t give home ice advantage away that easily. So they’ve been good in their own building. I think we’ve been a decent road team for most of the season, and right now, what we have to do is go back home and create a Game 7 so we get another shot at ’em here.”
The Bruins’ first two losses in Vancouver were tough to take for Bruins fans. In Game 1, Raffi Torres scored the lone goal with 18.5 seconds left. In Game 2, Alex Burrows did the honors 11 seconds into overtime.
Tonight’s loss didn’t come in such a drastic manner, but it was tough to swallow. Not only because of what was at stake, but because it was scored by Maxim Lapierre, a nuisance on the level of Burrows and a graduate of the Montreal Canadiens Junior Thespians and Divers program who just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
Lapierre, who came over from the Canadiens at the trade deadline had just six goals during the regular season, collected a Kevin Bieksa shot that ricocheted off the boards behind the net and punched it stick-side past Tim Thomas as he lunged a split-second too late to his right. Lapierre, who nearly scored seconds earlier off a feed from Torres in nearly the same spot, confirmed that the play was not by design.
“We got lucky, good bounce,” he said. “It was challenging there for us, right spot at the right time.”
Which is exactly how Julien saw it.
“I don’t think that was necessarily a play they were going for from where the guy shot it to where it came out. He was pretty wide. Normally those pucks from where he shot it don’t normally come out there. But nonetheless, you make your own breaks.”