Jun 15, 2011, 7:16 PM EST
This is it, ladies and gentlemen. At this point, you’ve heard all the cliches about boyhood dreams of heroic imaginary moments carried out in backyard rinks and the streets of various burbs. Tonight’s game is for all the marbles and every other go-to description for a single contest that decides an annual NHL champion.
The hockey world couldn’t ask for a much more peculiar and entertaining first six games, either. The first three games in Vancouver were tense, nail-biting affairs. A couple bad bounces against the Canucks might have stripped their chances of even getting this far (or at least changed the makeup of this series). Meanwhile, it’s likely that you already know about the jaw-dropping 17-3 disparity in goals for the Bruins in their games in Boston.
Of course, Game 7′s tend to throw out the rulebook (and not just because officials rarely use their whistles). Tonight’s game could go either way, so it should make for some fascinating TV.
Boston @ Vancouver (NBC) – 8 p.m. ET; Series tied 3-3
As you’ve heard before, Thomas probably has the Conn Smythe Trophy locked up already, but there might be a subset of people out there who won’t give his odd style full credit unless he wins The Big One. It might be an honorable group, but Thomas probably doesn’t want to get heaped in the “great in defeat” bin with Ron Hextall and Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
That’s still an enviable position compared to the pressure heaped upon Luongo right now; even a great performance in defeat probably won’t wipe away the stain of his three awful games in Beantown. It’s unfair to downplay all of his career accomplishments because of a handful of bad nights, but it’s no doubt that is how most people will feel if he loses Game 7.
Want more Game 7 meat to chew on? Devour these clips from PHT.
- A recap of yet another beatdown in Boston in Game 6.
- The aftershocks of the Mason Raymond hit: the check angered the Canucks and GM Mike Gillis, but all the anger in the world doesn’t change the fact that Raymond won’t be back for quite some time.
- Thomas is putting together a run for the ages. He needs just one save to break the all-time record for saves in a singe playoff year and is almost certainly primed to join Brian Leetch as the second American-born player to win the Conn Smythe.
- Five Thoughts: tuning up for Game 7.
- While the Canucks must suffer through some serious stress tonight, the rest of the hockey world gains the special treat that is a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup finals.
- Take a look at the history of Game 7 contests in the Cup finals, plus a look at how the Bruins and Canucks handled their Game 7 challenges in previous rounds of this year’s playoffs.
- Who could follow in Max Talbot, Mike Rupp and Ruslan Fedotenko‘s footsteps by being an unexpected hero tonight?
- Which matchup might determine how this game shapes up?
- Both the Bruins and Canucks’ rosters sport players who have been through the heartbreak of losing a Game 7 on the game’s grandest stage.
- Shocking news: Game 7 tickets aren’t cheap.
- A look at the Game 7 officials.
- Mark Recchi will probably hang up his skates whether the Bruins win or lose.
- Nathan Horton won’t play tonight.
- Want more? Check out primer posts from the rest of this series: Game 1, Game 2, Game 3, Game 4, Game 5, and Game 6.
- Penguins’ Neal has phone hearing for knee on Bruins’ Marchand 21
- Shawn Thornton confirms hearing with NHL Department of Player Safety (Updayed) 36
- Video: Penguins’ Neal knees Bruins’ Marchand 58
- Penguins announce Brooks Orpik ‘alert and conscious’ (Updated) 33
- Shawn Thornton: ‘People could probably criticize that I’m a little too honorable’ 56
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty 165
- Report: Salary cap ‘may be around’ $70 million next season 17
- TGIF: Five NHL games to watch this weekend 5
- Report: Laviolette a candidate to replace Capuano 25
- Sharks say Fleury was ‘shaky’ and ‘fighting it’ in 44-save victory 53
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty (165)
- Bylsma: Sharks are NHL’s best, ‘with all due respect to Chicago’ (89)
- Flyers’ Couturier: ‘We’re starting to believe in ourselves’ (60)
- Video: Penguins’ Neal knees Bruins’ Marchand (58)
- Boychuk boarded by Pacioretty, taken off on stretcher (Update: has movement in extremities) (57)