BOSTON -- When the Bruins and Canadiens face off in Game 7 on Wednesday night (7 ET) at TD Garden, it will be an epic battle, another chapter in an already storied history. This will be the ninth Game 7 between the organizations, which is the most in all of the major pro sports.
“I expect us to win, simple as that,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien, whose team lost 4-0 in Game 6 in Montreal on Monday night. “Our team has been resilient at rebounds with losses, it’s done that all year. So it’s about having confidence in your group, and that I have lots of.”
The winner will face the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference finals, which will likely begin Saturday afternoon.
“I’m excited, for sure,” said Montreal coach Michel Therrien. “But for us, Game 6 in Montreal was the same thing. It’s a matter of attitude. I believe we’ve got the right frame of mind, and the right mindset for Game 6. The attitude was there and I saw a bunch of guys yesterday with the same attitude, and this morning again. ... It was a huge challenge for us back home [in Game 6], and it’s another huge challenge for us tonight.”
Here’s what to watch for in Game 7:
Cash in: Too many times in this series the Bruins have been on the receiving end of a few unlucky bounces. Too many times they hit a post or crossbar, or missed an open net. The Bruins need to keep creating those chances ... and bury them this time.
“When you win the Stanley Cup, you have played some of your best hockey, but you have also had the breaks,” Julien said. “I’ll be the first one to tell you, if we don’t have a little bit of luck when we want it, then we don’t win the Cup [in 2011]. So it all comes with the package here. We have to play our best. We have to get some breaks and a little bit of luck. If you get all of those things, your chances are good but most importantly is control what you can control. I think our effort and our game tonight is something that is in our own hands and then you just have to hope that the other things follow.”
Boston’s third liners, specifically Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson, have tested the iron more than once in this series, so look for either one of them, or both, to sneak one past Montreal goalie Carey Price.
K.O. P.K.: The Bruins need to hit Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban early and often. Bruins forward Shawn Thornton did exactly that during Game 7 between these two teams in 2011, and it set the tone. Subban has been arguably the best player in this series and he’s confident Montreal can win Game 7 on TD Garden ice. Boston needs to be in his face as much as possible tonight.
“P.K. Subban’s been phenomenal since the playoffs started, even at the end of the season,” Therrien said. “He’s a gamer. He’s a guy that will bring his team to a new level, another level when the games count. He’s been a leader on the ice.”
The Canadiens have fed off Subban’s energy. That needs to end Wednesday night.
Masked men: The team that will win Game 7 will be the team whose goalie plays better. It sounds elementary, but it’s true. The Bruins’ Tuukka Rask is 1-1 with a 3.87 goals-against average in two career Game 7s. Price is 1-1 with a 1.91 GAA and one shutout in two career Game 7s. While both have played well in this series, Price’s play has stood out. But if Rask plays his best game, the Bruins will win.