BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues will put it all on the line Wednesday night when the two teams battle in a deciding Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. Despite an illustrious sports history that spans over 100 years, it will be like nothing Boston has ever seen before.
That’s because Boston has never hosted a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. This will mark the 17th time that the battle for Lord Stanley’s Cup has gone seven games since the NHL adopted a best-of-7 format in 1939, but none of those deciding bouts have taken place in Boston.
The Bruins were part of the last seven-game Cup Final, when they went on the road and shutout the Canucks in Vancouver in Game 7 back in 2011. That will allow some of the younger players to pick the brains of Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, Brad Marchand and Tuukka Rask, all of whom lifted the Cup eight years ago. But Wednesday night will still be a new experience for everyone involved.
“I would say lean on past experience with that, but there is none,” defenseman Torey Krug said Monday morning. “There is experience with guys who played in Game 7 in Vancouver. It’s tough, man. It’s the most exciting game in all of our lives. I think whoever maintains their composure and discipline within their system, and how they play and approach the game, is who is going to prevail. We have a really disciplined group led by some great people, and we’re all pulling for each other. I think that’s how we do it.”
“There is no time to be worried or nervous about this situation,” said fellow blue liner Charlie McAvoy said Sunday night. “There are guys who never get a chance to play here, and I’ll be [darned] if I spend a second not being grateful and just playing the best that I can. Because I’ll look back on it one day and all you can do is be thankful for these opportunities. You’ve just got to go out and have fun.”
The Bruins will host the deciding game thanks to their convincing 5-1 win in Game 6 Sunday night in St. Louis, becoming just the sixth team to win a Game 6 on the road to force a Game 7. The good news for Boston is that four of those previous five winners went on to win Game 7 and hoist the Cup.
Home teams are 12-4 overall in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, though visitors have won the last two — the 2011 Bruins and 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins, who beat the Red Wings, 2-1, in Game 7 in Detroit.
But none of what happened in the past matters to these current Bruins. They’re just 1-2 at home against the Blues, and only 7-5 at home in the playoffs. They’re ready to put it all on the line Wednesday night, and expect the TD Garden to be rocking when the puck drops around 8 p.m.
“We expect the fans to be there and be behind us, giving us some extra energy that will be important,” said Bergeron. “You work so hard to get home ice advantage and now it’s all down to one game.”
“We’re thankful, we’re blessed for a chance to play in Game 7 now,” added McAvoy. “It’s a roller coaster and you’ve just got to ride it.”