BOSTON -- Boston Bruins rookie forward Matt Fraser has made his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut, tasted a couple wins and one loss, and scored an overtime goal in their Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Montreal Canadiens.
Now he'll add to his NHL experience by becoming one of five Bruins who will skate in their first NHL Game 7 on Wednesday at TD Garden (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS). The winner will advance to the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers.
Not only is Fraser's Game 7 experience naught, his experience in elimination games is slim. He recalled that the only time he's been in a similar situation was a couple of weeks ago when he was with the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League and they defeated the Springfield Falcons in a best-of-5 series that went the distance.
Fraser figures he knows how to overcome his lack of experience with the season on the line.
"I think these games are obviously a different animal," Fraser said after an optional morning skate. "But you show up to the rink, you're loose, you're relaxed. There's no reason to be uptight because it won't work in your favor. You just kind of work with it, go about your business and make sure you're ready to go."
There's a thin line between being pumped up to play and getting carried away.
"If you're too overzealous and too excited, I guess it can get to you a little bit," defenseman Matt Bartkowski said. "It starts playing on your emotions, you start trying to do too much and then you get away from your game. So you've kind of got to keep them in check a bit and just focus on your job."
The Bruins are playing in a Game 7 for a NHL-record seventh straight season. In that time they've split eight Game 7s. All that experience playing in do-or-die games under coach Claude Julien should benefit the core of a team that's been through most of those games together.
"To me, it's exciting. I was ready to play last night," Julien said. "I was excited watching the other games on TV and I wish it was an afternoon game vs. a night game. It's the excitement of wanting to play those. It depends how you approach it. I'm excited about it.
"I don't know if having been through a lot of Game 7s is a compliment, but we've been through a lot of them. So we'll take it. Hopefully we can take advantage of it."
The Bruins are 12-7 all-time and 3-3 under Julien in Game 7s at home. The Canadiens are 5-6 all-time on the road in Game 7s.
"Oh, it definitely helps," Bartkowski said about playing this game at the Garden. "Being able to have the fans behind you and you can feed off it. … Especially in between plays, the fans help."
Here are the projected lineups:
Milan Lucic – David Krejci – Jarome Iginla
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Reilly Smith
Matt Fraser – Carl Soderberg – Loui Eriksson
Daniel Paille – Gregory Campbell – Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara – Dougie Hamilton
Matt Bartkowski – Johnny Boychuk
Torey Krug – Kevan Miller
Scratched: Jordan Caron, Andrej Meszaros, Corey Potter
Injured: Dennis Seidenberg (ACL/MCL), Chris Kelly (back), Adam McQuaid (ankle)
Max Pacioretty – David Desharnais – Brendan Gallagher
Michael Bournival – Tomas Plekanec – Thomas Vanek
Rene Bourque – Lars Eller – Brian Gionta
Brandon Prust – Daniel Briere – Dale Weise
Josh Gorges – P.K. Subban
Andrei Markov – Alexei Emelin
Nathan Beaulieu – Mike Weaver
Scratched: Ryan White, George Parros, Travis Moen, Douglas Murray, Francis Bouillon, Jarred Tinordi
Injured: Alex Galchenyuk (lower body)