Bruins have simple plan: hit harder and score more

Published June 11, 2011

| National Hockey League

BOSTON (AP) - Hit harder and score more. It's the simple and obvious formula for the Boston Bruins for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals.

They dominated both categories in their 8-1 and 4-0 wins over Vancouver in Games 3 and 4. But the Canucks outhit and outscored them in Game 5, a 1-0 win on Friday night that gave them a 3-2 series lead and a chance to clinch their first NHL title on Monday night in Boston.

"They outhit us and they seemed hungrier," coach Claude Julien said Saturday. "That's where we should have been able to push back and we didn't do that well enough. We're aware of that and we certainly would like to have another crack at it. We have to show that in our building here next game and hopefully, again, having another crack at going down there and showing that we can push back as well."

But that's hardly enough.

"When you don't score I think you need to improve in more than the physical play," Julien said. "That's an area that I don't think we've done a good enough job in Vancouver."

The Bruins have lost all three road games in the series - 1-0, 3-2 and 1-0.

"Roberto (Luongo) has been good," Julien said. "As we all know, he's an elite goaltender, but I don't think we've made his life as hard in Vancouver as we did here in Boston."

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CROSSING LINES?: Identical twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin have heard no shortage of criticism during their NHL career in Vancouver, including catcalls from Canucks fans like "Sedin sisters" or the "Twinkies." They've admitted having each other was the only thing that allowed them to survive some early struggles and high expectations from being the second and third picks in 1999.

So why, coming off consecutive scoring titles and one win from the Stanley Cup, are the Sedins upset that Mike Milbury, an ex-Bruins coach and former Islanders general manager now working as an analyst for NBC and Versus, called them "Thelma and Louise," two female characters played by Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis in a movie of the same name?

It certainly didn't help that Henrik heard about it from his son, who told him a man was making fun of him and "uncle Danny" on television.

"If you criticize us, that's OK, we know we have to play better"' Henrik Sedin said Saturday. "A lot of times in our career we have been criticized. But when you make fun of us on TV, that's what you do when you are kids, not when you are grown up. That's too bad, but apparently he keeps doing what he does."

The Sedins, who combined for 198 points in the regular season, only have two in the Stanley Cup finals - a goal and assist by NHL scoring champion and Hart Trophy candidate Daniel in Game 2. The Canucks lead the series 3-2, in part because Vezina Trophy candidate Roberto Luongo has allowed only two goals and has two shutouts in three home games.

As several Canucks pointed out since the "Thelma and Louise" comments, Milbury traded both Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara and Luongo while running the Islanders. He sent Chara and a second-round pick that became Jason Spezza to Ottawa for Alexei Yashin, and dealt Luongo and Olli Jokinen to Florida for Oleg Kvasha and Mark Parrish.

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THE CUP'S IN THE HOUSE: The Stanley Cup will be in TD Garden on Monday night in case the Vancouver Canucks win. If they do, they'll skate around with it in front of a full house of disappointed Boston fans.

That would be an ugly sight for the Bruins.

"We want to be the ones to lift the Cup," Boston forward Brad Marchand said. "We want to fight as hard as we possibly can to make sure that happens. We know that if that's going to happen, we have to win the next game. So we just have to make sure that we do our best to make that possible."

The Bruins dominated their first two home games in the series, winning 8-1 and 4-0.

But Boston defenseman Andrew Ference isn't sure there's a real home-ice advantage.

"Every game has it's own developments, it's own kind of character," he said. "I've never put a whole lot of weight into home-ice advantage but I could be totally wrong. Really, who am I to say? All I know is, personally how I feel at away rinks and home rinks. And it's not a whole lot different."

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BUCKNER MEMORIES - Maybe it was the opponent, but with lots of time to reflect on totally whiffing on his 15-shoot shot at a wide open net, Canucks fourth-line winger Tanner Glass thought only of Bill Buckner, whose fielding error in Game 6 was one of several mistakes by the Red Sox that helped the New York Mets win the 1986 World Series.

"I had lot of time between periods and I just saw that ground ball going through his legs," said Glass, a history major while playing college hockey at Dartmouth. "I was just like 'That can't be me, it just can't be."'

It might have been him if not for Maxim Lapierre scoring the only goal 4:35 into the third period of Vancouver's 1-0 win Friday night that gave it a 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup finals. That goal came almost 12 minutes of playing time and an intermission after Glass missed the puck completely with Tim Thomas stranded atop his crease on the other side.

"You've got to expect (the pass), especially on Tim Thomas," Glass said. "That backdoor play is such a good play, but you miss and it's a terrible few minutes trying to clear your mind."

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MISSING HORTON: Nathan Horton scored the goals that won the seventh game of Boston's first-round series against the Montreal Canadiens and third-round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

But he was sidelined for the finals by a severe concussion when he was hit by Vancouver defenseman Aaron Rome during the first period of Game 3.

Now the Bruins must depend on someone else to score a game-winner.

"We didn't say 'Horts, you go score the goal,"' coach Claude Julien said to laughter at his news conference Saturday. "I believe in this group of guys and we've been through a lot. We lost Nathan at the beginning of the third game here and we did extremely well getting ourselves back into the series. He's a big part of our hockey club and we miss him. We can't overlook that fact.

"But (the Canucks) have injuries as well and we don't look for excuses. We feel right now we have a team that can compete right till the end and the only thing we have left to do is go out there and show it."

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