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Stanley Cup Final

Bruins leaning on 2011 veterans for edge in Game 7 of Stanley Cup Final

Rask, Chara, Bergeron, Krejci, Marchand hope lessons of past success pay off against Blues

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / Staff Writer

BOSTON -- The last time the Boston Bruins played a game when they had a chance to win the Stanley Cup, in 2011 at the Vancouver Canucks, goalie Tuukka Rask could do little to affect the outcome. He hadn't played a single second of the Stanley Cup Playoffs that season, watching instead when goalie Tim Thomas captured the Cup, the Conn Smythe Trophy and the hearts of Bruins fans forever.

But Rask watched and noticed and saw what it took. He internalized what his teammates did and how they approached a game that was the biggest of their lives -- to that point.

"I was trying to be vocal on the bench, trying to help the guys out," Rask said. "But I think everybody was super-focused on just getting the job done, going on the road and playing your game. I think that was the thing, that everybody was super-focused and just focused on the task at hand."


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The Bruins will have another chance at that opportunity when they host the St. Louis Blues in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS). And the five Boston players who dressed the last time they won the Cup on June 15, 2011 -- Rask, defenseman Zdeno Chara, centers Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci and forward Brad Marchand -- will try to replicate what they can from that memorable game.

The vast majority of the Bruins have not played in a Game 7 in a Stanley Cup Final, but the five who have can convey a certain level of calm around the day and the game and the approach.

They have done it, have climbed the mountain, and there is hope and faith for the rest of their teammates in that. 

"I think you want to share that with the other guys, but also use that as much as possible," Bergeron said. "That being said, you have to go and play the game and be ready for tomorrow's game. You can't really live in the past, and it's about being in the moment."

Video: BOS@STL, Gm3: Bergeron buries PPG to open scoring

It's about being who you have been. 

"You just have to be yourself and play the same way we've been playing all along and not change anything and not overthink anything," Bergeron said. "Like I said, just play."

The last time, they faced the situation on the road, in Vancouver, in front of a hostile crowd. This time, they will be more comfortable, certainly more beloved, when they try to play the way they did in a 4-0 win in that Stanley Cup Final Game 7 in 2011.

Because why deviate from what has worked? 

"I think the preparation is, for me, always kind of the same," Bergeron said. "Try starting to focus today. Be in the moment and enjoy and soak everything in, because those moments are important to enjoy and to make sure you stay in any moment you're living."

Or any moment you're playing. 

Of course, as Marchand cautioned, "Every game plays out differently. So regardless of what you're been through, you're more just looking at your past experience as guidance, for some comfort. But again, everything plays out differently, so just because you've been through it before doesn't mean it's going to play out the same way."

Video: BOS@STL, Gm6: Marchand goes top shelf for PPG

But they hope it does, to get back the feeling of 2011, to erase the bitter taste of 2013, when they were 1:16 -- and two goals against -- from forcing a deciding Game 7 against the Chicago Blackhawks, a feeling that continues to stick with them, even six years later. 

They know how good the feeling can be, and they know how bad it felt to see the Blackhawks score two goals 17 seconds apart -- at 18:44 and 19:01 of the third period -- turning a Boston win and a chance at Game 7 into a Game 6 loss and the end of a season. 

"That's why we play the game, to be honest with you, for moments like these," Bergeron said. "I don't think it comes as any surprise if we say it's a childhood dream to be in this position."

A lot of their teammates have dreamed that dream, have imagined their own Game 7 moments in backyards and on ponds and on cul-de-sacs. The game-winning goal. The game-winning save. Hoisting the trophy.

Five Bruins have already done that. 

"It's much different when you're going through it and realizing how exciting and how hard it is," Marchand said. "You just have so much more appreciation for all we've been through and the road that we've taken to get here. It's a very special opportunity, regardless of how it plays out tomorrow. It's been a special adventure with this group. Hopefully it ends on a good note."


Listen: Game 7 preview from NHL Fantasy on Ice podcast

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