For a series that has been wildly unpredictable to this point, one thing remains the same. The home team always wins.
The Boston Bruins continued their home ice dominance with a 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks to tie up the series at three games apiece. There will now be a decisive Game Seven in the Stanley Cup Finals for the sixth time in the past 10 seasons. Of those five previous series to go the distance, the home team won the four times -- the only exception was the 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins.
Game Six got off to a scary start, as Canucks forward Mason Raymond was forced backwards into the boards just 20 seconds into the game. It was less of a hit and more of tangled limbs, but Raymond had to receive help skating off the ice. Raymond may have suffered a fractured vertebra on the hit, and may not be ready for the start of next season. He remains in the hospital.
The somber moments for Vancouver continued shortly after, as the Boston Bruins blitzed the Canucks defense and goaltending for a shocking four goals within a 4:14 minute span. It was the fastest four goals ever scored by a team in a Stanley Cup Finals game, shattering a 45 year old record. Brad Marchand beat Luongo with a snap shot that flew past Luongo's glove, and the floodgates were opened. Milan Lucic tallied another 30 seconds later, then Andrew Ference added a power play goal to chase Luongo from the game. In three games played at Boston, Luongo has been chased twice from net. The one game he completed? The 8-1 blowout in Game Three, when he allowed all eight goals. Backup goalie Cory Schneider entered the game and allowed a goal to Michael Ryder on the very first scoring chance he faced, but was solid for the remainder of the game.
Aside from that brief four minute span, the Canucks managed to play a decent game, though the holes in their defense were obvious. After that quick four minutes, the result of the game was inevitable.
But now the Canucks have hope, as they head back to Vancouver for the final game of the 2010-2011 NHL season. One team will finally break their long championship drought. The Bruins have all the statistical advantages in this series, but Vancouver holds a serious home-ice advantage -- one that they earned after their franchise-best regular season. It should make for fascinating drama.