Players on both teams seemed relaxed and focused, as did both coaches.
“I think Game 7 is Game 7 whether it's first or third round,” Julien said. “There's an opportunity here to move on to the next round. That to me is what Game 7 represents, no matter where you are in the playoffs.”
Following the Bruins’ skate, Julien gathered his players at center ice as he normally does and his message was simple.
“Our guys just have to enjoy this whole process here. There are 27 teams right now that would love to have the opportunity that we have in the playoffs right now. This is one of those days where I think if you don't enjoy the moment, you're wasting a pretty precious day. And you take advantage of it today, you get ready, you get excited about it. You come out tonight and you leave it all out on the ice. Simple as that. Anything less than that, it's a waste of a day.”
Tampa coach Guy Boucher said he would be lying if he said it’s not a challenge to keep his team’s emotions in check.
But I think that's the challenge is to be able to control these emotions,” he said. “ And we didn't want our players or ourselves playing the game last night or this morning or this afternoon. It's our job to make sure that we stay focused on what we've got to do, not the hype of everything else that this game means. And we feel that we can be better than the last game, definitely. We've done some good things. We want to keep those, but I think we need to focus on what we need to improve for tonight.”