The best two words in all of hockey. GAME SEVEN! The Boston Bruins have been in this position before as they played the last Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Final back in 2011. The Bruins won the Stanley Cup on the road in Vancouver, so the core players on the Bruins know what it feels like to lift the Stanley Cup.
With Game 7 now on the Boston’s home ice at the TD Garden, the Bruins have a little extra motivation. Back in 2013, the Bruins lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. At the 1:25 mark of the third period against Chicago the Bruins were up 2-1 and on the verge of forcing a Game 7. In an instant, the thrill of victory changed to the agony of defeat as the Blackhawks scored two goals in 17 seconds and won 3-2 to lift the Stanley Cup over their heads on the Bruins home ice.
That is something these core players never want to feel again.
“You realize when you get to this point how hard it actually is,” said Brad Marchand. “The longer you’ve been around the league, you look at some guys that have been around for a long time and how few opportunities you get. It’s extremely difficult to get to this point. You need everything to go your way. You need the calls. You need the bounces. You need guys to be healthy, guys step up at the right time all the way through the year. It’s extremely tough just to get to this point here, and to win is even harder than that. Once you lose, you realize how close it is. You get a taste, but you don’t get that victory, you don’t get to feel all those sensations of winning.”
Both sensations feel great, but the loss in 2013 to the Blackhawks has stuck with the core players more than the win in 2011 against Vancouver. That is the driving factor as the Bruins look to lift the Stanley Cup on Wednesday night as they take on the St. Louis Blues in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. The NHL season is just a prelude to the Stanley Cup Playoffs which is the best payoffs in all of sports.
If you lose, the sting of defeat makes a player wonder how they could have done more to win.
“You put everything on the line for two-and-a-half months to get to this point, so you enjoy being in the moment and give everything you got,” said Patrice Bergeron.
The Bruins have remained focused all playoffs long which will allow them to play their style of game once the puck drops in Game 7. The Bruins veteran leadership group has helped the rookies stay composed during this playoff run, which has allowed them to live in the moment and not get ahead of themselves. Who knows how many of these players will have another chance of playing for a Stanley Cup. Those who have lost in the Stanley Cup Final, wonder if they will ever get back again.
“Think you learn from both of those experiences,” Zdeno Chara said. “Definitely one is happier, the other is more sour. Definitely makes you more hungry next you have the opportunity.
Marchand elaborated on Chara’s point when he spoke to reporters after Bruins practice on Tuesday.
“It’s extremely difficult, and unfortunately that’s the way it goes,” said Marchand. “Someone has to win. Someone has to lose. It’s the best thing in the world for the team that wins, and it sucks for the team that loses. Being on both sides of it, you realize how hard it is and just how s—– it is to lose. That sticks with you forever. Winning and losing, it sticks with you forever. You don’t forget everything that happens when you win and definitely don’t forget what happens when you lose.”
One team will win, one team will lose on Wednesday night, but the Bruins hope they are the ones that lift the Stanley Cup over their heads once the buzzer sounds on Game 7.