Bruins and Hurricanes know ‘anything can happen’ in Game 7

BOSTON Patrice Bergeron saw others.

The Boston Bruins captain has appeared in an NHL Game 7 12 times. Twelve games without a future, twelve opportunities to leave your mark. He did it by scoring six goals in Game 7, one shy of the NHL record.

But even if the Bruins have the experience — Boston will be in an NHL-record 29th Game 7 when they take on the Carolina Hurricanes at the PNC Arena on Saturday (4:30 p.m. ET; TVAS, SNE, SNW, SNP , SN360, ESPN, BSSO, NESN) – that doesn’t mean they have the edge.

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Why? Because in Game 7, anything can happen.

“It can be played by a few inches,” said Bergeron. A lucky leap here and there can make the difference. »

The Bruins and Hurricanes will play the final meeting of their first-round series after the Bruins avoided elimination in Game 6 in Boston on Thursday.

“It’s a show-stopping game,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “We are packed. […] You must be at your best. You don’t win Game 7 if you’re not at the top of your game. »

The home team has won every game in the series. It’s a trend the Hurricanes want to continue and the Bruins want to reverse.

Boston will be looking for a Game 7 win for the 16th time, while Carolina will be looking for a sixth straight win in such a game.

The stakes are high, but different, for each of the formations.

For the Hurricanes, an uphill team aiming for the Stanley Cup Final, winning Game 7 would fulfill one of the expectations. Carolina expects to reach the second round after finishing first in the Metropolitan Division and second in the Eastern Conference behind the Florida Panthers. The Hurricanes are once again part of the NHL’s elite, having lost to the Bruins in the Eastern Finals in 2019, the first round in 2020 and the second round in 2021.

As for the Bruins, this may be their last chance to be at the top before more difficult years. Nothing is less certain than Bergeron’s return next season. He could become an unrestricted free agent after the season, and a loss could spell the end of an era in Boston.

Bergeron helped the Bruins win the Stanley Cup in 2011 in one of three Finals appearances (2013, 2019) in his 18 NHL seasons. He is also among the top-4 in Boston history in games played (1,216; third), goals (400; fourth), assists (582; fourth) and points (982; fourth).

Video: [email protected], #4: Bergeron scores from the mouth

For both teams, an elimination would represent a disappointing outcome after a hotly contested series.

“We expected it,” Bergeron admitted of having Game 7. “It’s two good teams playing each other. Obviously, Carolina is a very good formation with a lot of depth, but so are we. »

The Hurricanes won the first two games of the series at home to send the Bruins into the cables, but Boston came home and posted two wins to tie the series. The story continued: the Hurricanes won at Raleigh in Game 5, then the Bruins avoided elimination with a win at Boston in Game 6.

“We’re getting ready to win a hockey game,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “You have to win an away game. You want there to be a sense of urgency, but you try not to talk about a one-night stand. What do we need to win? What did we do well to win the last meeting? »

For their part, the Hurricanes were not satisfied with their play in Game 6. Brind’Amour said of his troops that they were “bitter, angry and frustrated” with the result. But the players believe in their ability to bounce back, to win a game that should be dictated by special teams, as it has been in most games of the series.

“It’s not easy to play against us when you’re behind on the road,” said Hurricanes goaltender Antti Raanta. “The fans are loud and they energize the home team. It’s not easy to come from behind in the playoffs. This is one of the most important things. But anything can happen tomorrow. »

So we get back to work. Back in Carolina for Game 7.

And during this series, the advantage of the ice has made all the difference.

But sometimes Game 7s have a knack for turning the tables.

“When you jump on the ice, you only think about the present moment,” said Bergeron. What happened in the previous six matches no longer counts. »