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

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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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‘Dialed in’ Hurricanes could add more drama to playoff race

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At first glance, Carolina’s potential playoff push seems like a longshot.

The ‘Canes head into tonight’s action five points back of Boston for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, and would need to leapfrog both the Bolts and Isles just to get there.

BUT!

The ‘Canes have a game in hand on both New York and Tampa Bay, and two on Boston. They also get to play six of their last nine at home, and are currently riding a terrific streak in which they’ve collected 17 of a possible 20 points (7-0-3 in their last 10).

“Guys are playing well, guys are dialed in,” head coach Bill Peters said, per the Raleigh News & Observer. “You’ve got to continue to keep pace. Around the league everyone seems to find a way to win, so you’ve got to keep pace and then hopefully somebody falters.”

Looking ahead, the next 48 hours will decide if this dream becomes a reality. Carolina begins a crucial back-to-back set against the Red Wings tonight, with both games to be played at PNC.

Tonight’s game, you may recall, is the makeup date for the Dec. 19 postponement due to unplayable ice.

As such, the ‘Canes now get a Red Wings team playing its third game in four nights, following Friday’s 2-1 OT loss to Tampa Bay and yesterday’s 3-2 OT win over Minnesota. Veteran Detroit d-man Niklas Kronwall isn’t expected to face Carolina, and the club is unsure if Darren Helm (lower body) can go.

The ‘Canes, meanwhile, are pretty healthy and firing away. Jeff Skinner has a five-game goalscoring streak, Elias Lindholm has points in each of his last 10 contests and Sebastian Aho in each of his last six. The club has also received terrific netminding from Eddie Lack, who has gone 5-1-1 in March with a .931 save percentage.

If they can get a result tonight, attention will be turned to the out-of-town scoreboard. The Isles are at home to the streaking Nashville Predators (6-1-0 in their last seven), and the Bolts host the Blackhawks, who are coming off an embarrassing 7-0 loss in Florida.

The Bruins aren’t back in action until Tuesday, when they host the Preds.

Report: Coyotes majority owner has a ‘potential new partner’

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The Arizona Coyotes’ ownership group may be getting a new member.

According to Sportsnet’s John Shannon, Randy Frankel is a “potential new partner” for majority owner Andrew Barroway.

Frankel, who made his money on Wall Street, is already a part owner of MLB’s Tampa Bay Rays.

Shannon also reported that the Coyotes required a mid-season cash call, to the tune of $20 million, from their ownership group. Arizona has averaged just 13,020 fans at home games this season; hence, the revenue shortfall.

The Coyotes, of course, are trying to get a new arena built in the greater Phoenix area. So far, their efforts have been for naught.

Related: Arizona lawmaker suggests Coyotes pledge more money for new arena

Report: Rangers land Gophers standout Lettieri

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University of Minnesota senior Vinni Lettieri has agreed to join the Ranger organization, per the Star-Tribune.

Lettieri, 22, finished second on the club in goals this year, with 19, and third in scoring with 37 points in 38 games. The Star-Tribune’s Mike Russo reports Lettieri is joining New York’s AHL affiliate in Hartford, and that he and the Blueshirts are closing in on a two-year, entry-level contract.

Lettieri has some interesting bloodlines. His grandfather is former Minnesota North Stars player/head coach/GM Lou Nanne, and his father is former professional soccer netminder Tino Lettieri, who represented Canada at the 1986 World Cup.

The younger Lettieri went undrafted, and was a free agent following Minnesota’s NCAA championship loss to Notre Dame.

Zetterberg on pace to play 1,000th game in Joe Louis Arena farewell

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Barring injury, Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg will get the opportunity to make his 1,000th NHL game even more special.

Detroit head coach Jeff Blashill confirmed today that Zetterberg will play tonight and tomorrow in Carolina, putting the 36-year-old on pace to play his 1,000th game on Apr. 9, the date of the final Wings game at Joe Louis Arena.

The Wings, who will miss the playoffs for the first time since 1990, have eight games left in their regular season. They host New Jersey on Apr. 9.

Tonight’s game was originally scheduled for Dec. 19, but had to be postponed due to poor ice conditions at PNC Arena.