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Like they did all season long, the Bruins have taken us on a roller coaster ride in their first round playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens. After dropping the first two games at home, our Black and Gold went up to the Bell Centre and played two thrillers to tie the series up at two.
Usually, we say a playoff series doesn’t start until a team wins on the road. This series has been totally different and in Game 5 last Saturday night the Bruins were the first team this series to win on their home ice. In his first career playoff series, Nathan Horton made his presence felt when he scored at the 9:03 mark in the second overtime to give the Bruins a 3-2 series lead.
The opportunity to take Game 6 is one that’s bigger than we may realize. Not only can the Bruins close out the series Tuesday night, but they would more importantly avoid a Game 7. It’s quite clear that Bruins in recent years, have not fared well when a series comes down to, essentially, a one-game playoff.
In 2008, the Bruins fell in seven games to the Habs in the 1 seed versus 8 seed series. The Bruins were the lower seed then, but in 2009 they met again in reversed roles. The Bruins then swept the Candiens in the first round to set up a 1 vs. 6 matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Marc Savard found the back of the net twice in Game 1 of that series and all looked great as the Bruins won 4-1. The Hurricanes would win the next three games to pin the Bruins up against a wall. The B’s fought back to tie up the series on the back of Tim Thomas, who stopped 50 of 52 shots he faced in Games 5 and 6. Then, as fate would have it, the top-seeded Bruins dropped Game 7 in overtime thanks to a goal by villain Scott Walker.
I don’t even want to discuss last year, but I have to. As we all know, the Bruins entered the playoffs as a six seed. They won their first round series against the Sabres 4-2 to advance to an unusual matchup with the seventh seeded Philadelphia Flyers.
The Bruins jumped out to a 3-0 series lead, but lost centerman David Krejci in Game 3. Game 4 then featured the return of Simon Gange, and in overtime, he made sure Bruins fans knew he was back. He beat Tuukka Rask to give the Flyers a 5-4 win.
The goal was a sign of things to come. The Flyers took the next two games and forced the Bruins to play in their third Game 7 in 3 years. The Bruins took a 3-0 lead in the game and all was well. We couldn’t give up a 3-0 series lead and a 3-0 lead in Game 7. Oh, they could and they would and like in Game 4, the game winning goal came off the stick of Simon Gange. The loss made the Bruins the first team to give up a 3-0 series lead since the 1975 New York Islanders.
Now that I’ve brought back all those bad memories let me explain a little bit as to why I had to. As I said, the Bruins have not been on the right side of a Game 7 over the last 3 years, so it would surely be in their best interest to avoid it like the plague.
With so much at stake this year and changes possibly coming if the Bruin’s can’t show us more than they have the last few years, this is a big one. We’ve suffered through enough Game 7’s. We’ve already seen a great comeback by our Bruins and they can be the first team in franchise history to win a series after being down two games to none.
If the Bruins for some reason can’t pull out Game 6 they won’t have the luxury of a day off to regroup and prepare for another grueling Game 7. They can thank Lady GaGa for that. Her concert in Montreal Monday night pushed Game 6 to Tuesday night, so Game 6 and Game 7 would be a back-to-back.
Game 6 in Montreal should be Boston’s Game 7. It’s a must win. My heart, my head and my sanity cannot handle having to watch another Game 7 letdown, so c’mon B’s go right for the jugular and let’s take it home in 6. Besides, who doesn’t love seeing a silent Bell Centre as thousands of Habs fans head home with heads hanging.