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Bruins' hot sticks go cold on road

SOUTH YARMOUTH, Mass. -- As the last clinks of spoons digging for goodly bits of clam in empty chowder bowls sounded -- meaning closing time was nigh -- Gerry Manning summed the overall sentiment of the Chowd Crowd for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final:

"We'll get 'em back at the Gahden," said the longtime proprietor of Captain Parker's restaurant on Cape Cod, where they can tell if you're a local by whether you pronounce the two Rs. On Friday night, the patrons came hungry for cups of Manning's award-winning clam chowder (about to be wholesaled), but many wanted a one-win-away-from-the-Cup situation for their beloved Bruins even more.

They didn't get it. On a night that started with loud, let's-go-Broooo-ins optimism at Captain Parker's and elsewhere in the Commonwealth, a familiar thought bubble could be seen above everyone wearing the spoked-B after Boston's 1-0 loss:

Not quite good enough.

That's the worry around Boston, as Game 6 on Monday nears. The Bruins have had a lot of good teams since they last won the Stanley Cup, 39 years ago. There have been five that advanced to the Cup final since 1972, including this year. But the Bruins suddenly can't score on the road, a not-so-small matter that threatens to extend Boston's Cup drought another season. The Bruins have scored a grand total of two goals in the three games at Rogers Arena. They've scored 12 in the two games at TD Garden.

Why have Boston's hot sticks gone so cold on the road? If someone has a solution, Claude Julien would like to hear it. But before he and his Bruins get another chance at road redemption, they must beat the Canucks on a Monday night when the Stanley Cup will be in the building, Vancouver's for the taking.

"I know it's a bizarre stat, but as they say, 'It is what it is'," Julien said. "Probably our inability to score down there has been the result of why we're down three games to two. When you get shut out two of the three games, that's what happens. Again, their goals, four, isn't that high, but they scored when it counted."

The Canucks will be one win from finally getting the Cup in their hands for the first time in franchise history. People keep wanting to doubt this team's resolve. After losing three straight to defending champion Chicago in the first round, setting up a terrifying Game 7 at home, everyone was waiting to label Vancouver as Choke City. But the Canucks found a way to dispatch the Blackhawks.

After blowing a closeout Game 5 at home in the second round against Nashville, everyone was saying the Canucks still didn't have the proper kill-'em-off mentality that's needed to become a champion. But they killed off the Preds on the road in Game 6.

After losing two games in Boston by a combined 12-1 score that evened the series, a lot of that "they're gonna blow it" mentality returned to much of Vancouver. But the Canucks keep putting their nervous fan base at temporary ease with clutch victories, none more so in this series than Friday's tight affair won by Maxim Lapierre's third-period goal.

Now it's back to Beantown, where the Canucks have won only eight times in their 40-year history. They have no winning Cup history, but they do have a history of getting it done when they really have to this spring.

Meanwhile, the Bruins have an 8-for-82 power play in these playoffs. Any lower a success percentage and their odds of success will approximate those of winning the Massachusetts State Lottery.

If the B's don't get those numbers up -- at home or on the road -- Chowd fans at Captain Parker's and elsewhere will be left with this: Soup, but no Cup, for you.

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