3-on-3 for Game 7: Bruins-Caps
April, 25, 2012
To preview Game 7 (Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. ET) we enlisted a little bit of help, calling in ESPN.com senior writer Scott Burnside to play a game of 3-on-3 with ESPN Boston's James Murphy and Joe McDonald:
1. Pick an under-the-radar player on each team that will be key in Game 7?
McDonald: So he's not really under the radar, but Bruins forward Tyler Seguin should have a breakout night in Game 7. His overtime goal in Boston’s 4-3 win in Game 6 is exactly the confidence builder he needed. We’ve seen it many times with Seguin -- once he establishes that comfort zone he can build off that and produce. As a rookie a season ago, he was a healthy scratch for the first two rounds of the postseason. When he was inserted into the lineup for the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals in place of Patrice Bergeron (mild concussion) he had an instant impact. Seguin produced a total of six points in Games 1 and 2 last year because he knew it was his opportunity to prove he could compete at the highest level. He had a terrific regular season this year and led the team in scoring, but that success did not translate early in this series. Now with a crucial game-winning goal under his belt, it should serve as a big confidence boost and he’ll continue that in Game 7.
Murphy: Game 7's seem to have a way of turning unsung players into household names. For the Bruins in Game 7, I see that player possibly being center Gregory Campbell. He has two assists already in the series, but Campbell provides much more than points. This has been a gritty, hard-fought series and I see it only fitting that a grinder like Campbell could play a major role in Game 7. I will take the same approach on the Capitals side and go with Joel Ward. While Ward also has two assists in this series, he is a proven playoff performer. In the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs he had 13 points in 12 games for the Nashville Predators. Ward has the tenacity to create an opportunity or bounce that could determine Game 7.
Burnside: For Boston, Dennis Seidenberg. The big defender who plays in the shadow of partner Zdeno Chara has been a rock against Washington as he was throughout the Bruins’ run to the Stanley Cup a year ago.
For Washington, Jason Chimera. Big and fast, Chimera was third on the team with 20 regular season goals. He has one this post-season.
2. Every game has been decided by one goal, do you expect anything different Wednesday?
McDonald: It shows how tight this series has been and Game 7 won’t be any different. Don’t be surprised if there’s another one-goal game. This series is proof that once the puck drops on the Stanley Cup playoffs, it doesn’t matter whether you’re the second seed or the seventh seed, which the Bruins and Capitals are respectively. Both are great teams and that’s evident. Every shift and every play will be important in Game 7.
Murphy: I do. I've been saying the last two games that sooner or later one team will break. It is so rare to see a series this tight and it's a credit to both teams they have been able to play games this close without either team falling apart. But I think one team will come out Wednesday and dictate the tone and eventually pull away.
Burnside: No. Both teams have shown an ability to rebound from game to game and within games as well. Look for another close contest that could require extra time to decide.
3. What's your prediction for Game 7?
McDonald: Bruins win 4-3 in overtime. Patrice Bergeron nets the game-winning goal.
Murphy: As I said above, I don't expect another one-goal game and I believe the Bruins will be that team to pull away in the end with a 4-1 win.
Burnside: The Caps complete the upset with a 3-2 victory.