“Even though this is not the match-up that most Bruins fans wanted, I still feel the Bruins will prevail. It just may be more of a battle than you think. Bruins in 7.” – BostonPucks series preview back on April 10th.
All of the Game 7 cliche’s you could possibly think of are out in full force today in blogs, columns, on Twitter, everywhere.
“Anything can happen”.
“Someone is going home tonight”.
“It all comes down to this”.
“This game is a coin toss” (followed by Pierre McGuire explaining the origin of the first coin toss used in hockey, what year the coin was dated, and which game it was first used in).
Two weeks ago we picked “Bruins in 7”. We’re right on track with our prediction. But, no one predicted the manner in which the Bruins would arrive at this Game 7.
Most thought this would be a real trading blows, back and forth series. It’s hasn’t been. Most thought the games would tighten up the longer the series went on. They haven’t. We didn’t think Patrice Bergeron would be hampered by some injury or that Charlie McAvoy’s knee would fail him.
Hell, no one thought the officials would struggle just dropping the puck for a faceoff. They’ve shown they can’t even manage to get that right.
It has been an odd, often one sided series, that is now tied up.
I’m not going to list the things both teams need to do to win tonight because this series has gone way off script. But I will say this; this is the most “unsure how to feel” feeling I’ve had about a recent Bruins Game 7.
I was in the Garden for the 2011 Game 7 against Montreal. And even though that took overtime to win I felt confident that day that the Bruins would show up and put their best effort forward in order to win.
Against Tampa and Vancouver later that spring I felt even more confident.
Against Montreal in ’04, ’08, and ’14, Carolina in ’09, Philly in ’10, Washington in ’12, Toronto in ’13, I never once felt we could possibly see a less than desired B’s performance in a do or die game. I obviously knew they could (and they often did) lose. But regardless of winning or losing, who was in the lineup or not, I always felt the best version of those previous Bruins teams would show up that day.
Today, it feels different. Today I have that “I don’t know what Bruins team we’ll see tonight” feeling for the first time in recent Game 7 history. It’s a shitty feeling. It’s a shitty feeling because it’s not about their ability. The Bruins should win. This series should already be over. But, hockey happens.
And because of that, the manner in which the Bruins have arrived here, I have no idea which team we’re going to see tonight. Will it be that Bruins squad that should win? The one that actually finishes their countless scoring chances? Or will it be the one needlessly, and unforced, turning the puck over? Will it be a Frederik Andersen that has come back down from the stratosphere to join the rest of the human race, or will it be this otherworldly goalie version we’re getting?
It’s an odd feeling. Not a nervous, or anxious, or largely doubtful feeling. It’s a complete “who knows?”.
Just a couple of weeks ago the Bruins had a mock Game 7, with 1st place on the line in the final regular season game, and no showed. Two playoff elimination games later and they still aren’t closing the door. You can’t help but wonder what version of this Bruins team will show up tonight.
So your guess is as good as mine tonight. My heart says Bruins, my head is cloudy. And I haven’t even had my first IPA yet.
“It’s a coin toss at this point, Edzo”.
Bruins in 7.
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