Boston, MA –
| Boston Bruins' Mark Stuart, right, is hit in the mouth by a shot from Philadelphia Flyers' Mike Richards in the second period of Game 6 of a second-round NHL playoff hockey series, Wednesday, May 12, 2010, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) |
“We all know what to do. Now we have to. It’s do or die tomorrow.”
Bruins forward Steve Begin summed up the attitude of the locker room after yesterday’s practice in those three short sentences.
In sports, Game 7’s are what legends are made of. Game 7’s separate the heroes from the mere mortals. Game 7 is what you play for all year.
Tonight will be the Bruins 19th all-time Game 7. With a 9-9 record for Game 7’s, a win tonight would put them over the .500 mark. A whopping 16 players on the current roster are looking to play in their very first career Game 7, including rookie goaltender Tuukka Rask.
“It’s an interesting situation, you know. First time ever Game 7 for me, and it’s fun,” Rask said. “Yeah, I like these kinds of situations. It’s do or die and it’s a good challenge.”
After an auspicious 3-0 start to the series, the Bruins were riding high into Game 4, looking for the elusive sweep. However, after losing David Krejci to injury, they struggled to find their footing and the Flyers surged ahead, tying the series 3-3.
Now, in just a few hours, they will begin the final game of the series in Boston. The winner will face the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Finals, with home-ice advantage to boot.
It's the most important game of the season so far and the Bruins know it’s crunch time.
“I think the first few games could have gone either way and I think the last one could go either way too,” said Shawn Thornton about the last six games. “We hit a couple posts and a couple were right across the goal line and it could have gone either way.
“It’s 3-3 and we are going into Game 7. I’m going to enjoy it and put everything out there and I think we’re all going to be doing the same thing.”
Begin explained that although his team has taken the long route, he’s confident they’ll get to the same destination they’ve been looking toward all playoffs—the next round.
“You know what? It’s Game 7 at home,” he said. “You want to be part of those games and tomorrow is going to be a matter of everybody showing up.
“We can’t wait and we’re very excited about it. We put those last three games behind us and now it is time to play our game.
“We are here on our building and the fans are going to be crazy. It’s going to be loud.”
With only five wins separating each team and the Stanley Cup Finals, the B’s agreed that tonight is the night to lay it all on the line.
“It is even now and it is just one game,” said Patrice Bergeron, who will play in his third career Game 7 tonight. “It doesn’t matter what happened in the first six so it is about one game and we knew it was going to be a tough series.
“It comes down to that point in a huge game and we’re happy that we’re able to do it in front of our fans.”
With talk about strategy and game plan rampant among the media in the practice locker room, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara was bombarded with questions about preparing for such an important game.
The 6’9” Slovak remained stoic and said that there is one thing they need to do to win—
“Everything. We have to throw everything we have.”