Both the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues will deal with nerves Wednesday night when they meet in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden.
That’s natural for big games, and games don’t get any bigger than a winner-take-all showdown for hockey’s ultimate prize, as the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat are much more pronounced at the end of a grueling two-month playoff run.
The difference then could be which team better maintains its composure amid the heightened intensity of a do-or-die Game 7, and Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy doesn’t seem too concerned about his club being rattled by the inevitable emotions. The B’s are a veteran-laden bunch, with five players — Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Brad Marchand and Tuukka Rask — having been part of Boston’s two most recent trips to the Stanley Cup Final.
“Well, I think you’re gonna have some (nerves),” Cassidy told reporters Tuesday. “I think our older guys will address the group and how they can best handle that and (make sure) once the puck drops we feel we’re prepared to play. I think that’s the easiest way to get through your nerves — if you know you’re prepared and you haven’t crammed, so to speak, and we’ve gone through the checklist of what we wanna hit. (Wednesday) it’ll be sticking with our routine, so hopefully that calms your nerves just knowing that you’ve prepared this way (more than 100 times) and that’s enough to get you through it early on, and you’ve got to play hockey.”
The Bruins will have the benefit of home ice in Game 7, although the Blues are 9-3 on the road this postseason, even winning two of three games in Boston thus far. Perhaps that’ll help calm the jitters a bit in the hours leading up to game time, especially with the Bruins coming off a 5-1 win in Game 6 that crushed the Blues’ hopes of hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup in front of their own crowd.
The reality, however, is that almost everything — stats, trends, momentum, etc. — gets thrown out once the puck drops. These two teams have fought tooth and nail to reach this point, and it’s now all about overcoming the extra hype of Game 7 to play a clean 60 minutes one more time.
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