BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Bruins face another Game 7 on their home ice this postseason, this time with a trip to the Stanely Cup on the line.
The Bruins had a chance to close the Eastern Conference Finals out in Game 6, but mental mistakes and a Lightning team firing on all cylinders kept Boston from getting to their first Stanley Cup Finals in 21 years.
Here are some keys for the Bruins to winning Game 7.
Mark Recchi Talks Opportunity Of Game 7
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Top Line Needs To Keep It Going
The Bruins first line has been up-and-down during the playoffs, but had their best performance offensively in Game 6. David Krejci had a hat-trick and Milan Lucic scored the Bruins first goal on two perfect passes by Nathan Horton and Johnny Boychuck.
“If we can carry that over that would be big,” said Lucic. “It would be nice to start the game off the way we finished (Game 6). I think we applied a lot of pressure. We saw an opportunity and started to play with the confidence that we need in order to succeed.”
They are the big guns on the B’s offense. If they can put the pressure on Tampa early, and not let up, it will make the Lightning stars working on defense and keep them from getting into an offensive groove. Krejci does not need to net another hat-trick, but a point or two from each of them would go a long way towards a Game 7 victory.
He has stolen two games so far this series, and may need to do the same Friday night. To do that, he cannot let in anymore softies. Thomas cannot let Tampa beat him 5-hole, or under the shoulder, or give them an open net because he went out to play the puck.
Take 3: Predict Winner Of Tonight’s Game
Thomas showed his emotion in Game 6, slamming his stick on the ice after Teddy Purcell beat him on the left side to make it 3-2 Lighting in the second period. There is little doubt the Vezina finalist will come in to Friday night’s Game 7 focused and ready to stand on his head once again. Isn’t that what Game 7’s are all about?
Tyler Seguin On Garden Crowd, Game 7
Special Teams Need To Be Better
It’s beating a dead horse, but the Bruins power play and penalty kill cannot have another performance like they did in Game 7.
Anything the Bruins get out of their power play at this point is a bonus. A 1-for-5 showing in Game 6 looks good by comparison to the rest of the playoffs, but the Bruins will have to make the most of their chances in Game 7. Any momentum they’ve had gets blown away when they go on the man-advantage. They’ve started to put Zdeno Chara down low, trying to open lanes for guys like Krejci. So far the return has been minimal. They need to remain aggressive and at least show some life.
Claude Julien On Bruins Power Play
“You can’t let it mentally get to you,” said Claude Julien. “One out of five is 20-percent; I think usually 20-percent is pretty good. But when the other team is 3-for-4 it certainly overshadows that.”
The penalty kill had been strong, shutting down one of the best power plays in the NHL in Games 3 through 5, but fell back to earth in a big way in Game 6. Tampa scored on three of their four power plays, as the Bruins (mostly Johnny Boychuk) looked lost trying to kill the penalties.
“Discipline is going to be huge,” said Mark Recchi. “They made some adjustments on their PP and they have a great power play and we know that. We have to be smart and do the right things, move our feet and be smart about playing on the edge. We’ve been good for the most part all year, and again we’ll count on that night and trust we’ll do the right things.”
If Tampa gets an early man-advantage, the Bruins will have to do their best to kill it, keeping the Lightning from carrying over any confidence from Game 6.
Leave It All On The Ice
Win or go home. No Regrets. Play like a champion. The list goes on, but we’ll let the players do the talking.
“That’s what it’s going to come down to tonight, what team is more confident,” said Lucic. “Which team is more determined which team is more willing to pay the price to win this game. I could give you ever cliché in the book, but in the end, what I say or words don’t mean anything right now. Our actions are going to speak louder than anything right now.”
Bruins Talk Confidence Heading Into Game 7
“It’s everybody,” said Recchi. “This is where you need 20 guys all in and pushing together. Believing that what we’ve been through all year is going to come together on one night.”
Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Bruins and Lightning can only be heard on 98.5 The Sports Hub with pregame coverage beginning at 7 pm on the Dunkin Donuts Bruins Pregame show.