NHL Playoffs: Is the Bruins’ long wait finally over?

Zdeno Chara, Ryan Kesler and Tim Thomas will factor heavily in the Stanley Cup finals, beginning tonight.

The waiting has been the hardest part. Twenty-one years since the Bruins last played for the Stanley Cup. Not since 1972 have they hoisted it.

All of that means little to the players tasked with rewriting that history, starting tonight in Vancouver with Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals against the Canucks.

For these Bruins, this series caps a four-year odyssey that began with a dramatic Game 6 against Montreal in 2008, three straight devastating Game 7s that followed and two Game 7s that went their way this season, validating a group often maligned for not having the stuff worthy of Stanley.

“We’ve learned a lot through the course of the season with this group of guys,” forward Mark Recchi said. “It’s just a matter of going out and playing and enjoying it. This is fun. It’s exciting times for everybody.”

The Canucks have been the perfect tonic for Cup withdrawal before. In 1994, the Rangers captured their first Cup since 1940 in an epic seven-game series.

But to scratch their 39-year itch, the B’s will have to contain a high-flying Vancouver offense, led by talented twins Henrik and Daniel Sedin.

Just like against the Lightning

The Bruins would do well to try to emulate last Friday’s effort against Vancouver.  

Boston beat Tampa Bay 1-0 in a classic Game 7 at the Garden.

How much tougher could Vancouver be?

“I’m sure they’re not any faster than the teams we faced before,” defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said of the Canucks. “It’s just a matter of us to keep going where we ended up, how we ended up playing last game, Game 7, and just build on that.

“Then we’re going to be on the right path.”



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