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Canucks embrace fruits of labor, Game 7 at home

BOSTON -- While attempting to somehow spin their 5-2 loss in Game 6 into some sort of positive, the Vancouver Canucks did hit on one positively true fact.

 

This is why 54 wins and 117 points in the regular season matters. Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final will be in their barn Wednesday night.

 

"We enjoy playing in our building. The fans are going to be going," Daniel Sedin said. "You play good in the regular season to get home-ice advantage, and we're going to take advantage of that."

 

The Canucks haven't lost any of their belief, despite getting thrashed for a third straight time in Boston. Their resolve has been tested on more than one occasion in these playoffs and yet they've managed to get this far. They managed to rebound after losing three straight games to Chicago to win Game 7 at home.

 

They are being outscored by a ridiculous 19-8 in this Final and they've led for only 32 minutes and 42 seconds of it, but they are one win away from winning the first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Better yet, the Canucks get to play for it in front of a home crowd at Rogers Arena that has already witnessed them beat Boston by a single goal three times, including twice by a count of 1-0.

 

They're optimistic.

 

"Right now, obviously, it stinks but you can't let it wear on you," Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa said following Monday's loss. "We're going to get ready for Game 7. It's Game 7 in Vancouver for the Stanley Cup and everything you dreamed of as a kid."

 

All true, but ignoring the obvious would just be ignorant, and right now Roberto Luongo has to be shell-shocked. He gave up three goals on eight shots and got pulled before 10 minutes elapsed in Game 6. It was his third forgettable performance in Boston.

 

Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault already named Luongo his starter for Game 7, and praised his professionalism and preparation in doing so. Luongo's teammates expect a vintage world-class performance from him Wednesday.

 

He's already delivered three of those at Rogers Arena in this series. He needs one more.

 

"One game, winner take all -- I've been in those situations before," Luongo said, making a clear reference to the Olympics, where he led Team Canada to a gold medal. "I know how to handle it. I'll be ready for it."

 

"We know he's going to bounce back," added captain Henrik Sedin. "This is where he usually shows up, in the next game. We're confident in him."

 

But are they confident in replacing a second-line winger with a healthy scratch? In all likelihood, the Canucks will have to do just that because the injury Mason Raymond suffered in Game 6 looked serious and was grave enough that the team's medical staff had to get him to the hospital during Monday's game, reportedly on a stretcher.

 

Raymond was rammed backside first into the corner boards by Johnny Boychuk just 20 seconds into the game. His status for Game 7 has not yet been determined and likely won't be until Wednesday, but it would certainly seem like he's doubtful at best.

 

That leaves Vigneault to choose from an array of forwards, including Jeff Tambellini, Alexandre Bolduc and Cody Hodgson. Tambellini played in the first three games of the Final and Bolduc received all of 99 seconds of ice time in Game 1. Hodgson hasn't played since his 3:49 of ice time in Game 5 against San Jose, a game that went into double-overtime.

 

"It's tough, but we have to support that guy, whoever it is," Daniel Sedin said. "We're here to help each other out. We've been doing it all year and we've got to do it again."

 

They've got only one more chance to do it all.

 

The Canucks didn't want to play Game 7, but they earned the right to host it by dominating the regular season.

 

It's up to them to make it count.

 

"We've done it before," Henrik Sedin said. "We showed up all season and we're going to show up in the final game."

 

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl