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Pregame Notebook: Game 7 at Vancouver

by Hannah Becker / Boston Bruins
BOSTON – Tonight some of the finest athletes in the world will lay everything on the ice. Tonight is what young hockey players dream about. Tonight, the Stanley Cup Championship will be won.


The Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks will square off for the seventh time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and with the Cup in the building, both teams will give everything they have to be the ones to lift the 35-pound trophy above their heads.

Home ice has prevailed throughout the first six contests of the postseason, but tonight the B’s will have to buck the trend if they intend on coming out on top.

Tonight, one team will be left standing. Tonight, one team’s dreams will come true.

Game 6 recap
Boston beat the Vancouver Canucks to keep their Stanley Cup Championship hopes alive and the teams will square off for the trophy on Wednesday night in Vancouver for Game 7.

Henrik Sedin Vancouver Canucks Zdeno Chara Boston Bruins, action
The Bruins got things going in the opening stanza and never let up. Four first period goals set the pace for the B’s and got the sold-out TD Garden crowd of 17,565 going early.

Brad Marchand sniped a shot past Luongo to open the scoring at the 5:31 and Milan Lucic followed that up just 35 seconds later with his fifth goal of the postseason.

“It was a must-win. We came here, and it didn’t feel like the last game of the season. It didn’t feel like this is it, you know? And Marshy’s first goal was a great shot and it was pretty early,” Bruins forward David Krejci said.

“It gave us a little confidence.”

Mark Recchi and Michael Ryder finished the period with two points each, but it was Andrew Ference’s power play goal at 8:35—the third goal of the night for Boston—that sent Roberto Luongo to the bench in favor of Canucks backup goaltender Cory Schneider.

While the Boston College product is a suitable replacement for Luongo, and held the B’s off the board in Game 4, Boston quickly solved Schneider tonight.  Ryder scored the Bruins fourth goal at 9:45 of the first, tipping a Tomas Kaberle shot from the left point past Schneider.

Vancouver got one back early in the third with a goal off the stick of Henrik Sedin just 22 seconds in to the period.  The Canucks thought they scored again just minutes later, but the goal was ruled no good after a short review.

Just when the Canucks thought they were back in the game, the B’s stole the momentum right back as David Krejci slipped a back door snipe past Schneider for the B’s fifth goal of the evening at the 6:59 mark.

“We knew they were going to [fight back hard],” Tyler Seguin said.

“And obviously we want to go into each period like it’s, thinking it’s zero-zero, so I think we did that. They still came hard, so we know they’re going to still come back pretty hard.”

The Bruins continued to rack up the third period penalties, but the PK held strong throughout the night as the B’s went on to the eventual 5-2 victory.

Krejci close to reaching childhood dream
It was do or die for the B’s in last night’s Game 6 against Vancouver, and just when they needed someone to step up and put the game completely out of reach for the Canucks, David Krejci answered the call.

Milan Lucic #17 of the Boston Bruins celebrates with Rich Peverley #49, David Krejci #46 and Johnny Boychuk #55 after scoring a goal in the first period against Roberto Luongo #1 of the Vancouver Canucks during Game Six of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on June 13, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The Bruins potent point-producer scored Boston’s fifth goal last night, putting the victory solely in the B’s hands. Krejci took a cross-crease pass from Michael Ryder, and wristed the back door shot behind Vancouver’s second-string goaltender Cory Schneider.

Clearly, Krejci and the rest of the Bruins had no intention of falling to the Canucks last night and watching their new rivals raise the Cup in their barn.

Boston got things started with a four-goal first period and never looked back. The Bruins netted those four goals in a 4:14 span, and chased Canuck starting netminder Roberto Luongo from the game after just three goals.

“It was really important for us to get the first one. It was a must-win for us. You go and get the first goal, and then the crowd gets into it, we’ll feed off their energy, and I think that’s what happened,” Krejci said after the game.

Neither team has been able to win in the opposing club’s building, but if Boston wishes to lift the Cup tonight, they’ll have to do just that.

“Each team’s got wins at their homes, on home ice, so we’re going to go there and we have to play the same way as we do at home,” the center said.

“Try to get the first goal and go from there.”

It sounds easy enough, but considering the Bruins were a better road team throughout the entire season and the tables have turned in this Final series, it’s important for the B’s to play a simple, smart road game while still maintaining the energy and physicality that has become their identity.

“It’s going to be brought up, but it’s game seven,” Krejci said of their recent road woes.  “You never know what can happen.”

Krejci often holds to key to the B’s victory. He centers the top line, produces valuable points on offense, kills penalties and keeps the power play in line. And for tomorrow night’s Game 7, Krejci is sharing his prediction.

“I do like [our chances]. We are going there to win the game,” he said.

“We’re on our toes, and we’re going to try to get the first goal and if we do that, then I like our chances.”

For the native of Sternberk, Czech Republic who spent his childhood playing this scenario out in his head, tomorrow night, all his dreams could come true.

“I know we’re going to go out there, play our hearts out, put our heart on the line, and go after them. Go for something you dream as a kid.

“It’s so close.”

Bruins confident heading into Game 7
With everything on the line tonight, it wouldn’t be unheard of if the Bruins were feeling a little extra pressure as they prepare for the game.

Patrice Bergeron Boston Bruins, practice
But Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien ensures that his team, the same group of players that have only scored two goals in three games in Vancouver, have no extra weight on their shoulders.

“ I  don't think we're feeling any differently than we did Game 6 at home,” Julien said.

“You know, we were a group that was focused.  We were also, when I say enjoying  the moment, doesn't mean that you're relaxed.  It just means that you're soaking it in and taking time to see what's going on around you.”

A focused group is a prepared group in many cases. The Bruins will have to be focused if they wish to come out of tonight’s game with a win and the Stanley Cup.

“I think our group is focused.  They're ready to play [today].  Like I've said, we've had experience in two Game 7s so far. We  had  experience  with  another  elimination  game last night.  So we're coming in here and coming to hopefully play our best game of the series.”

Focus is key, but the B’s can’t lose the energy ad excitement that aided them to three huge victories at home this series.  Yesterday, Boston took part in it’s final practice of the season, and Julien put his team in a basic skate to get their competitive juices flowing.

“ When you've been on the plane for six hours, we just wanted  to  come  out here and get the blood flowing and loosen up a little bit  and  get  ourselves  ready for tomorrow.,” Julien said.

“It was as simple as that.”
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