Certainly an even grander reception awaits their return from Boston if they're successful in Game 6 (photo courtesy of AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)

Unfamiliar Territory

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The Vancouver Canucks, fresh from their support at YVR International airport, are in a position that no team in their 40 year history has ventured before.

Roberto Luongo addresses the media at YVR prior to boarding their flight to Boston Sunday morning

Leading the Stanley Cup Finals 3 games to 2, the Canucks hold an advantage they’ve never had before.  In the 1994 Finals with the New York Rangers, they had to come from behind to tie the series, forcing a 7th and deciding game.  In 1982, they were swept, though almost every game was decided by a goal against the New York Islanders.  This time around, Vancouver is in the drivers seat.

The Boston Bruins must be a nervous lot now.  Lord Stanley’s Cup will be at TD Garden Monday for Game 6, the caveat being they can only lose it tomorrow.  They will need to do something they haven’t been able to do in these finals.  They will have to win in Boston, and follow it up with a win in Vancouver if they force it 7 games.

Ryan Kesler leaves Vancouver International Airport with the support of hundreds of fans (photo courtesy of AP Photo)

Roberto Luongo addressed reporters this morning, having to yell it out above the throngs of loud fans.  “It’s very close, we can feel it.  It’s at our finger tips right now.”  Sunday’s flight out of Richmond marked the last time the Canucks will head out on the road this season.  Regardless of the result in Boston, the next flight brings them back to stay; the only question remaining: Will it be with the Stanley Cup?

Not far removed from back-to-back embarrassments in Boston, the Canucks will still have a huge task ahead of them.  Some Canucks fans are nearly of the mentality that it doesn’t matter if they lose in Boston.  Would it be simply awesome to have the Canucks win the Cup on home ice?  Absolutely it would be.  But do they want to risk giving the Bruins a chance to spoil a home celebration?

The harsh reality of it all, with such a demanding fan base, is that there is still the possibility of a tragic outcome.  I’m not here to promote that, let’s be clear about that.  But there are still bitter memories of the opportunities that got away.  The story still lacks an ending, and two extremely different eventualities could become reality.  Whichever it becomes, it’s safe to say the city of Vancouver, nor the whole Province for that matter, will have ever seen anything like it.

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Tags: 2011 Stanley Cup Finals Boston Bruins Game 6 Stanley Cup Finals New York Islanders New York Rangers Roberto Luongo Ryan Kesler Vancouver Canucks

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