Vancouver Canucks v Boston Bruins - Game Six

Game 7 on the way: Boston thumps Roberto Luongo, Vancouver 5-2 to tie series 3-3


There wouldn’t be a shutout for Tim Thomas in this one, but it matters not as the Bruins beat down the Canucks 5-2 in Game 6 to force a winner-take-all Game 7 on Wednesday night in Vancouver.

Tim Thomas carried the night for Boston stopping 35 shots and helping the Bruins along to a seventh game on the road that sees the pressure squarely on the shoulders of the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks closed out the game with a little bit of fight and got Henrik Sedin off the schneid scoring a power play goal early in the third period, his first point of the finals. That bit of good fortune wouldn’t last long as the Bruins would get some puck luck thanks to the post stopping a Jannik Hansen shot that would’ve made it 4-2.

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The Bruins would also get their second power play goal of the game thanks to a tap in from David Krejci. The power play marker saw Mark Recchi earn his third assist of the game and help the Bruins roll to victory. Maxim Lapierre would add a late goal to provide the difference maker at 5-2.

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For Boston, their emphatic first period sent the message that they were not here to mess around and wanted to get things taken care of early. Scoring four goals in the first period and chasing Roberto Luongo (five saves) will do that. While Cory Schneider would replace Luongo and play solidly in his stead, the Bruins merely had to play things out over the final 40 minutes. Vancouver would carry the play for the majority of the final 40 minutes but not nearly enough to spur the comeback they were looking for to try and avoid a Game 7.

Instead, they’ll have to regroup in a big way before Wednesday’s game in Vancouver. With Luongo coming up incredibly small again on the road, it’ll create doubt among many onlookers even in spite of Luongo’s incredible numbers at home in the playoffs. For Boston, they did their job to hold serve at home and force a Game 7, doing so in the way they did now shifts the pressure to Vancouver to once again protect home ice and to once again find a way to win with the pressure on. Enviable position for Boston? Perhaps it is.

Here are the highlights from Game 6:

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After the game, Mike Milbury spoke with Bruins goalie Tim Thomas:

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NBC’s Darren Pang spoke to Boston’s Milan Lucic during the post-game:

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DiMaio named Blues’ director of player personnel

via St. Louis Blues
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The St. Louis Blues named Rob DiMaio their director of player personnel on Tuesday.

He’s been with the organization for some time. He joined as a pro scout in 2008 and was the pro scouting director starting in August 2012.

He was also a scout for the Dallas Stars before landing with the Blues (one would assume his biggest connection is GM Doug Armstrong, then).

In case his nose didn’t give it away, he also enjoyed a lengthy hockey career over 19 seasons.

No doubt about it, this is a pivotal season for the Blues after multiple campaigns in which strong regular seasons dissolved into playoff disappointments. Perhaps DiMaio can make a difference in a heightened role?

Hitchcock going to more aggressive attack for Blues

Ken Hitchcock

ST. LOUIS (AP) After three straight first-round playoff exits, the St. Louis Blues have learned to temper expectations.

They have been consistently among the NHL’s best in the regular season and realize it is past time to build something for the long haul. The sting still lingers from the latest failure, against the Minnesota Wild last spring.

“We’re all disappointed, everybody can agree on that,” defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. “It’s never easy to kind of think about your failures, but we grow every time it happens.”

Management isn’t ready to tear it all down yet.

“We play, in my opinion, one of the toughest if not the toughest division in the NHL, and we’ve finished first or second in the last four years,” forward Alexander Steen said. “So we have an extremely powerful team.”

Maybe a change in strategy will be enough: Coach Ken Hitchcock is back with a mandate for a more aggressive, even reckless, style of play from a roster that hasn’t changed appreciably.

“We’re coming hard from the back and we’re coming hard to see how close we can get to the attack,” Hitchcock said. “I think it’s where the game’s at; I think it’s where the game’s going to go.”

The 63-year-old Hitchcock is pushing forward, too, unwilling to dwell on the flameouts. Coach and players agree that would be “wasted energy.”

“My opinion is when you sit and think about the past, you do yourself no good,” Hitchcock said. “If you learn from the past, that’s when you do yourself a whole bunch of good.”

There were only two major roster casualties. Forward Troy Brouwer came from Washington in a trade for fan favorite T.J. Oshie. Defenseman Barret Jackman, the franchise career leader in games, wasn’t re-signed.

“If you were expecting 23 new faces to be on the roster this year, I don’t think that was realistic,” captain David Backes said. “We’re going to miss those guys in the room and on the ice, but there has been some changeover and I think it’s pretty significant.”

Things to watch for with the Blues:

GOALIE SHUFFLE: Just like last year, there’s no true No. 1 with Brian Elliott and Jake Allen sharing duties. The 25-year-old Allen missed a chance to seize the job last spring when he failed to raise his level in the playoffs.

TOP THREAT: Vladimir Tarasenko had a breakout season with 37 goals and was rewarded with an eight-year, $60 million contract. The 23-year-old winger is by far the Blues’ most dangerous scoring option and said he won’t let the money affect his play. “I never worry about it,” Tarasenko said. “If you play good, you play good.”

NEW FACES: Brouwer and center Kyle Brodziak add a physical element that was perhaps lacking a bit last season. Brouwer has three 20-plus goal seasons and Brodziak, acquired from Minnesota, fills a checking role. Veteran forward Scottie Upshall got a one-year, two-way deal after being coming to camp as a tryout. Rookie forward Robby Fabbri, a first-round pick last year, will get an early look. Another promising youngster, forward Ty Rattie, begins the year at Chicago of the AHL.

RECOVERY WARD: Forward Jori Lehteri bounced back quickly from ankle surgery and opens the season without restrictions. Another forward, Patrik Berglund, could miss half of the season following shoulder surgery.

TRACK RECORD: The Blues won the Central Division last season and Hitchcock, fourth on the career list with 708 regular-season wins, has consistently had the team near the top of the standings. “He is our coach, tough cookies if you don’t like it,” Backes said. “From my experience, he puts together one heck of a game plan.”