In the back of most everyone's mind two weeks ago, it was understood that the Bruins-Canadiens Eastern Conference semifinals series would conclude with a Game 7.
The Bruins and Canadiens have had plenty of recent Game 7 history. The 2004, 2008, 2011 and now 2014 postseasons have featured a Habs-B's do-or-die showdown. Montreal won the first two of those but Boston captured the most recent edition, with that first round victory catapulting them to a Stanley Cup. All-time, the Canadiens are 5-3 in Game 7s vs. Bruins.
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This series has featured it all: high scoring games, low scoring games, overtime, double overtime and shutouts, but Game 6 was a new installment - a blowout. Boston basically didn’t show up as it was embarrassed 4-0 at the Bell Centre on Monday. Under head coach Claude Julien, the B’s have traditionally done a good job of bouncing back from crushing losses, but as everyone knows, anything can happen in a Game 7.
Struggling center David Krejci was ready to move on from the Montreal massacre.
and we’re going to have to win.”
It sounds rudimentary, but scoring the first goal should be a huge factor in Game 7. The team that has scored first has won every game in this series and across the NHL, the team that has scored first is an incredible 21-1 in this round.
The B’s earned home ice throughout the playoffs with the Presidents' Trophy so they’ll look to use that advantage Wednesday. Boston is 2-1 at the Garden vs. Montreal this series with the only coming in Game 1 (4-3 in double overtime).
“We’ve been a confident group all year long, we better bring our best when we need it the most,” said Bruins left wing Milan Lucic, who pointed out that this will be his team’s ninth Game 7 since 2008. Boston is 4-4 in those Game 7s under Julien, including a 3-3 mark at the Garden. They’ve won four of their last five dating back to 2011 (the first-round loss to Washington in 2012 being the exception).
Any prediction about this Game 7 will be mostly useless since Boston put together its best performance of this postseason on Saturday in the 4-2 Game 5 win and followed that up with Monday’s clunker. But Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask remains steadfast in his belief that the Bruins are the better team. The netminder's message to Hub fans prior to Game 7: “Just be ready to cheer us on, and we’ll get it done.”
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter @RichSlate