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Stanley Cup Final

Bruins set to draw on experience for Game 7 of Cup Final against Blues

Confidence high in veterans who helped win deciding game in 2011

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / NHL.com Staff Writer

BEDFORD, Mass. -- There is comfort in experience. There is comfort in knowing that the Boston Bruins have been through a Game 7 before -- back in the Eastern Conference First Round against the Toronto Maple Leafs -- and that a select few have been through an experience even more aligned with the one they will have Wednesday, a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Final.

Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, David Krejci and Brad Marchand -- plus Tuukka Rask, who did not play in that game -- all were on the ice eight years ago in an all-or-nothing Game 7 at the Vancouver Canucks, emerging with the Stanley Cup held high, their names to be literally engraved in history.

They'll get the chance again against the St. Louis Blues at TD Garden on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS), looking to replicate that feat. 

 

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"[The] leadership group's been there; they've been in a Game 7 before, in the Stanley Cup Final," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. "They've lived it. We've been in Game 7 at home against Toronto this [season]. Stanley Cup's not at stake, but if you don't win [that game], you have no chance at [the Cup]. 

"There's a certain amount of pressure our guys are used to having and, in this situation, both teams like the pressure that's on them. Every team would trade the opportunity to be here, so I think that we'll be OK."

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The plan, at this point, is not to deviate from what they've been doing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs so far and what has gotten them to this point. They took the day off Monday, when they traveled back from St. Louis, and plan to practice at TD Garden on Tuesday followed by an optional morning skate Wednesday. It's what has become their routine, what has become comfortable.

And then they'll take the ice for Game 7, for the biggest moments of their hockey careers. 

"It's the most exciting game in all of our lives and I think whoever maintains their composure and discipline within their system, how they play and how they approach the game, is probably going to prevail," Bruins defenseman Torey Krug said. "I think we have a disciplined group, led by some great people, and we're all pulling for each other. That's how we do it."

There are some differences between the past Game 7s and the one the Bruins are approaching Wednesday. They'll be home in a friendly environment, a place they know, and that should be a positive. 

And there are enough similarities that the Bruins believe they will be confident when they're on the ice, ready, prepared and comfortable with the task ahead.

"Our team has been through these moments," Cassidy said. "I'm not going to speak to their team, I don't know how they'll react. I assume they'll play their same game, play hard. I don't know them as well as I know our group. Our composure I'm sure will be there. I think it's dealing with the adversity as well, who scores first, how do you react to that? I think that's one of the areas that you've got to be able to deal with, if it's not your team. And then discipline."

That's part of what the leadership group -- specifically Bergeron -- talked to the Bruins about ahead of Game 6, part of what he warned them about and what he informed them about. And Cassidy watched them take that to heart and follow through. 

He'll be watching for the same again Wednesday, knowing that he is in a privileged position with the players he has on the roster, with the experience they have and the ways they can call upon their past to inform their future.

"To me, it matters a lot because I haven't been through it in a Stanley Cup Final," Cassidy said. "So the core from Vancouver and the core from Chicago, for that matter, 2013, they didn't want to go through that again last night. It showed. The guys that stepped up, Tuukka being one of them, [Marchand], they've been through it. So I think it matters a lot in our room."

At least it matters now, Cassidy said. It matters in the preparation, the waiting time, the wondering. It can settle them down, get them ready, get them on the ice in the right frame of mind with the right approach. 

From there, it's hard to tell where it will go. 

But the Bruins have been here before, some of them, and they will use whatever they can. Beyond that, they can't wait for the puck to drop. 

"Excited, obviously," Cassidy said. "The whole hockey world is. So, Stanley Cup Final, Game 7, looking forward to it. May the best team win."

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