The Boston Bruins have done this before. When this incarnation of the Bears takes the ice in Game Seven Wednesday, they will do so with five players who were on that 2011 Cup-winning squad.
Goalie Tuukka Rask, playing backup for then-Bruin Tim Thomas, was among their number. Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, and Brad Marchand were also around for that victory in Vancouver, also a Game Seven albeit one shaded by a certain “public disturbance.”
Nevertheless, that game and that victory and that Cup-hoisting ceremony following that defeat of the Canucks is well within the shadow of the rearview mirror now and this year’s model of the Bruins are ready, willing and able to take on the St. Louis Blues in the confines of their very own barn.
But Chara, Rask, Bergeron, Krejci, and Marchand are still possessed with that spirit of “been here before” that gives them an edge, an edge the rest of the Bruins may not have when they take the ice Wednesday night.
“You just have to be yourself and play the same way we’ve been playing all along and not change anything and not overthink anything,” Bergeron said. “Like I said, just play.”
“Just play” may sound like another one of those timeworn hockey clichés – and it is – but it also works. If the Bruins can simplify their game and stick to what’s been working, they can win this thing and give themselves a parade.
And with a dude like Bergeron, who could or would argue with that level of success? After all, this is the guy that scored two when the Bruins knocked off Vancouver in 2011. This is the guy that skated through Game Six of the Stanley Cup Final against Chicago with a hole in his lung.
And then there’s Chara, who’s been in 13 Game Sevens over 21 seasons and will set a league record when he steps on the ice for his 14th Wednesday. That puts him ahead of Scott Stevens and Patrick Roy. His first Game Seven, back as a member of the Ottawa Senators in what seems like a different era entirely, was a loss to Stevens’ New Jersey Devils.
For the record, Chara is 6-7 in Game Sevens.
“He just leads in so many ways,” said Marchand. “When you look at someone with experience, you tend to look for them for guidance. Even when things aren’t going right, if they have the momentum or we have a tough point during the game, that’s when we’ll look for guidance because a guy like [Chara] feels so comfortable it seems in every situation.”
The Bruins will be looking for that comfort and guidance Wednesday. There will be stories of leadership, experience and playing through pain after this. There will be stories of heroism. And, most of all, someone’s going to hoist that Stanley Cup at long last.
(Photo credit: NHL.com)