Bruins Expect Raucous Crowd in Vancouver, But Thrive on Challenge of Playing in Hostile Environment

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VANCOUVER — The Bruins expect a hostile greeting when they open up the Stanley Cup Final Wednesday night in Vancouver.

They wouldn't want it any other way.

"It's going to be loud and it's going to be crazy," Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference said Wednesday afternoon at the team's hotel in Vancouver. "Obviously the people here have waited a long time for a return to the Finals, so it's going to be amped up. That's no secret to anybody."

The Canucks have never won a Cup in their 40 seasons in the NHL, last making the Final in 1994 when they lost to the New York Rangers. The Bruins' recent history isn't much better, as they last won it all in 1972 and haven't reached this round since 1990.

That makes for two very anxious and passionate fan bases, which will create quite an atmosphere in both buildings all series long. That starts with Games 1 and 2 at Rogers Arena on Wednesday and Saturday.

"Any team who is going to be in the Stanley Cup Finals can certainly take advantage of their home crowd and we'll be in that position Games 3 and 4," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "But as of right now, you got to kind of block those things out as best you can and concentrate on your game. When we go to Montreal, we have a pretty good feeling of what those crowds can be like. So I'm sure Vancouver will be a lot like Montreal has been against us. And we've had a lot of practice in that area."
 
The Bruins won their first two playoff games in Montreal in the opening round, evening that series after dropping two straight at home. They also opened the second round with two wins in Philadelphia en route to a four-game sweep, and won their first game in Tampa in the conference final. But winning Game 1 in Vancouver might be the biggest challenge yet.

"I expect them to come out hard," Bruins center Patrice Bergeron said. "They've always done that at home. Like us, they're going to have all that excitement and everything and they'll have the crowd behind them, so we're going to have to make sure we weather the storm and have a good start ourselves."

Going into hostile environments hasn't been a problem for the Bruins. In fact, they seem to relish the opportunity to go deep into enemy territory and come away with a win.

"It's fun to be involved in high-energy games," Ference said. "There's definitely a lot of practice with that going up to Montreal, especially in the playoffs. If you can't embrace a hostile environment and enjoy being a part of big games like that, then you don't have a heartbeat. It really is fun. It's great to play at home and have the support and have people cheering for us, but it is a pretty neat feeling to walk into a place where everybody's against you and try to defy the odds."

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