How Bruins-Hurricanes Game 7 Early Start Time Might Favor Boston

Patrice Bergeron might be the Bruins' secret weapon in Game 7


May 13

The Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes will play a high-stakes game in unfamiliar circumstances.

The teams will face off at 4:30 p.m. ET on Saturday at PNC Arena in Game 7 of their first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series. None of the 88 regular-season and playoff games Boston and Carolina have played this season have started at 4:30 p.m., so the teams must adjust their schedules for the pivotal matchup. Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy on Friday explained why he believes the the Bruins might have an easier time doing so than the Hurricanes.

“That’s (usually) on-the-bus-to-the-rink time or arriving at the rink,” Cassidy said Friday at a press conference, as seen in video the Bruins provided. “Now it’s the puck drop. It’s the same for both teams, though. They’ve got to go through it. Maybe some of the older players’ toddlers don’t enjoy their nap at 1 o’clock or whatever, and it throws them off (chuckling). You laugh but that’s what happens with some of the older guys: they’re so routine (-oriented), and their kids get routine.

“Sometimes when you’re on the road it’s a little easier because you don’t have that. … Sometimes it’s an advantage to be on the road because you’re just by yourself and you control your own timing of the day. Again it’s the same for both teams. I don’t think it’ll affect much in Game 7. Guys are going to find a way to be ready, both sides, I would anticipate.”

That’s something hockey lifers know intuitively, but those of us on the outside rarely take into account.

Patrice Bergeron’s presence as Bruins captain also will help Boston’s cause. He is set to play in his 13th career Game 7, tied for second-most all-time, according to the NHL, and Cassidy will depend on his wealth of experience to ensure the Bruins are in the right mindset before and during the matchup.

“We talked today about practice, and (we have) meetings tomorrow, just (about) how you’re setting up your next two days,” Cassidy said about Bergeron. “Because I think players are creatures of habit. 4:30 game’s a little different for us now.

“So we talked a bit through that. As coaches you still want to get through what we need to get through in terms of preparation. They would like to have their routines.

“… Once the puck drops, we rely on him on the bench to say the right things in-between periods. The motivational part of it is basically gone now. These guys know what’s at stake. It’s more about keeping guys in a good place … .”

That preparation work already is underway, and Boston won’t have to wait long to see the fruits of their efforts.

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