Opportunity knocking, can Bruins answer?
Tonight is a night for history, and it’s hard to imagine the Boston Bruins won’t keep up their end of the bargain.
It’ll be the first deciding championship Game 7 in Boston since the Celtics beat the Lakers in the 1984 NBA Finals. Before that, the Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds ended their epic 1975 World Series with a Game 7 at Fenway.
One out of two.
The Bruins tonight hope to make it two out of three, and you have to like their chances. The St. Louis Blues botched theirs in an epic way on Sunday night, complete with the internet release of celebratory material. They had a chance to have their historical night, first Cup win and at home no less, and it blew up in the collective faces of the Blues, the city and the media. Oops.
You don’t often get a second chance for epic momtents. The Bruins screwed Chance One up last Thursday in Game 5 when they failed to capitlize on the inspiration and emotion of captain Zdeno Chara playing with a broken jaw.
They won’t pass up Chance No. 2 in Game 7.
“I think there’s a certain amount of pressure that our guys are used to having,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “In this situation, I think both teams like the pressure that’s on them. Any team would trade the opportunity to be here, so I think we’ll be OK.”
We think they will be, too. They have the better goaltender in Tuukka Rask, who has a chance to cement his spot in Bruins lore, especially alongside his former teammate, Tim Thomas. They have the better skilled players, and those players are the ones – Brad Marchand, for example – who seemed to come alive in Game 6, helping to quiet the Enterprise Center.
As we’ve said, it’s been a series of memorable moments, and not just on the ice. Patrice Bergeron – who with Chara, Rask, Marchand and David Krejci are the only current Bruins who played on the Game 7 winning Cup team at Vancouver in 2011 – gave the Bruins a reported inspirational speech before Game 6 the other night.
“Any time you a guy like that speaks up, you listen,” Bruin defenseman Torey Krug said. “Obviously a huge motivating factor, got the guys going for sure.”
Who can motivate the Blues? They have to be frustrated at a blown opportunity, and if they don’t score first tonight, they’ll be in big trouble.
“They’re aready over it,” Blues coach Craig Berube said of his players. “Every kid, every player dreams about a Game 7. They probably played a hundred of them in their heads already as a kid or even adult, whatever. That’s over with, Game 6. They’ve moved on from that already.”
Maybe, maybe not. The Bruins did a great job of moving on from Game 5. Now it’s the Blues turn, but we just don’t see that happening.
The Cup will be in the building. The Bruins simply won’t, can’t, let it leave. They may not get this chance again for a long time. Just ask St. Louis.
Tom King may be reached at 594-1251, or@Telegraph_TomK, or firstname.lastname@example.org