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BOSTON (CBS) – I was all set to be down in Eastham Saturday evening, finishing up my annual rib roast dinner with my extended family and ready to take control of the remote to view the Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, with the Bruins in Vancouver facing the Canucks.
But now we, and they, face a Game 7 at the TD Garden Friday night. How did this happen again? How does it keep happening with this team, a team that has had many chances to knock an opponent out only to come to the penultimate game time and again.
In games where Boston has a chance to clinch with Claude Julien behind the bench, the Bruins are 3-7. This includes Game 6 in Tampa where Boston was outshot, outhit, lost more face offs and that abysmal power play continued to be an embarrassment. Nothing changes during games as far as an adjustment to things not working.
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So now what can we expect in Friday night’s clinching game? It’s so hard to gauge with the way this team has made it this far. Tim Thomas has been great in some games and pretty average in others. The Bruins managed a mere 20 shots on 41-year old Dwayne Roloson in Game 6, yet scored four times. But some major breakdowns on the penalty kill and some soft goals have us all in this position of putting our holiday weekend on hold for one night.
The Bruins are 1-3 in their last four Game 7’s, beating Montreal in the opening round this year, but losing to the Flyers, Hurricane, and Canadiens before that. To make it worse, the Philly and the Carolina losses were on home ice.
Once again the hometown hockey club has a chance send the fans into the street on a Friday night, beginning Memorial Day Weekend with the weather so nice and a euphoria not felt in Bruin fans in quite a while. Is there such a thing as the due factor?
This Garden has had many exciting games and big victories, but not since this building opened have the Boston Bruins played in such a huge, ginormous statement game as the one that could push them into the Stanley Cup Finals.
In this blog, Diehard almost never makes predictions. As a matter of fact, I have only done that once.
I am not ready to make that prediction again because of the way they seem to come back from a notable loss, only to win the next big game.
Friday night, once again the nerves are there. The apprehension is there. Playoff hockey is such a different animal, especially in Game 7.
But the Pittsburgh Penguins are not here, the Washington Capitals are not here, and nor are the Canadiens or Flyers. It’s your time right now Boston.
Carpe Diem Bruins.
Ric Duarte has covered hockey and the Bruins for various media outlets since 1986. You can follow Ric at BruinsDieHard.com and at twitter @bruins_diehard.