Game 7. It’s two of the best words in sports.
For one team, it means their season and their journey to a Stanley Cup continues. For another, it means that the season comes to an end.
As impressive as this series has been between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens, Game 7 promises to be special. The intensity, hatred and clashing styles will come to a head one more time. The winner will go on to face the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference FInals, while the loser will hit the golf course.
Series details: Tied 3-3
Puck drop: 7 pm
Location: TD Garden
TV/Radio: NBCSN, CBC, RDS, 98.5 The Sports Hub
Bruins’ projected lines
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Jarome Iginla
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Reilly Smith
Matt Fraser-Carl Soderberg-Loui Eriksson
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Dougie Hamilton
Matt Bartkowski-Johnny Boychuk
Torey Krug-Kevan Miller
Habs projected lines
Max Pacioretty-David Desharnais-Brendan Gallagher
Michael Bournival-Tomas Plekanec-Thomas Vanek
Rene Bourque-Lars Eller-Brian Gionta
Dale Weise-Daniel Briere-Brandon Prust
Josh Gorges-PK Subban
Andrei Markov-Alexei Emelin
Nathan Beaulieu-Mike Weaver
Morning skate update:
The Bruins and the Habs both had an optional morning skate prior to Game 7.
After the skate, Julien was asked about the status of Dennis Seidenberg, who suffered a torn ACL back on December 27th. His response?
“I don’t think so,” Julien said after a long pause. “I’d be very surprised if he’s in tonight.”
Nathan Bealieu should get his second career postseason game after replacing Douglas Murray on the Habs third defensive pairing. The rookie defenseman tallied an assist on Max Pacioretty’s goal and logged 9:36 of ice time in Game 6.
Who to watch for in Game 7: Tuukka Rask and Carey Price
Despite hesitating on Pacioretty’s goal in Game 6, which made it 2-0, Tuukka Rask had a few good saves to keep his team in it. But it was not enough as his counterpart, Carey Price, notched his fourth career postseason shutout - each of which have come against the Black and Gold.
Rask and Price both have pitched a shutout in the series. Both are a big reason why their teams are one step away from the Eastern Conference Finals. Both led their countries (Price - Canada, Rask - Finland) to gold and bronze medals, respectively, in the 2014 Winter Olympics. Both have won a Game 7 in their careers.
Yet Price’s numbers are a little better than Rask in his Game 7 career. Both are 1-1, but Prices’ 1.91 goals against average and .932 save percentage trumps Rask’s 3.87 GAA and .855 save percentage.
After helping the Black and Gold to their second Stanley Cup Final appearance in three years, Rask signed a hefty contract extension in the summer. He may want to make his John Hancock worthwhile with a clutch performance in Game 7.
Gameday edge: Coaching
It’s no secret that the Bruins and head coach Claude Julien are experienced in Game 7 situations. They are 4-4 in the seventh and decisive game behind their bench boss and have won four of their last five series closers. Even with a few guys who will partake in a Game 7 for the first time, including Torey Krug, Matt Fraser and Kevan Miller, Julien and company should be well prepared for Wednesday’s contest.
Michel Therrien, who guided the Penguins to the Stanley Cup Final in 2008, will be coaching in his first career Game 7. He may be taking a different approach compared to the experienced Julien, but there’s no reason why his team shouldn’t be confident in pulling off the upset. On the other hand, his line changes have been quite interesting and it could come back to bite him if he doesn’t play his cards right.
A look back at Game 6