|ESPN.com: NHL Playoffs 2010||[Print without images]|
PHILADELPHIA -- The city of Montreal had to close Saint Catherine Street because the Canadiens pulled off an incredible upset over the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday at Pittsburgh.
Will the Bruins give Boston a reason to shut down Causeway Street?
The Bruins were shocked once again as the Flyers skated to a 2-1 victory in Game 6 at Wachovia Center on Wednesday night to force a Game 7 Friday night in Boston.
"You've got two teams that are pushed to the edge now," said Flyers coach Peter Laviolette. "Boston's going to show up and play hard, and we have to do the same thing. It's going to be a great hockey game."
|Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask and defenseman Dennis Wideman, who were on the short end again Wednesday, have one more chance to eliminate the Flyers.|
It's now down to one game and the winner will face the Habs in the Eastern Conference finals.
"It's one game to see who plays Montreal," said Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman. "That would be quite the atmosphere."
It would be if the Bruins can get there.
After Boston took a 3-0 lead in this series, Philadelphia answered with three consecutive victories and is on the brink of making history.
The Flyers will attempt to become only the third team in NHL history to erase a 3-0 deficit en route to a best-of-seven series win. They would join the 1942 Maple Leafs and the 1975 Islanders.
After Wednesday's loss, the Bruins said they're not nervous about how things have unfolded. But the Flyers believe otherwise.
"I'm sure there's lots of pressure on them," said the Flyers' Danny Briere. "I'm sure the pressure is mounting even more. We want it too. Now that we've climbed all the way back in this series, we want it too. We have to realize that the last game will be the toughest to leave with."
Before the puck was dropped to begin this series, both teams knew it was going to be a battle. The way it has played out has shocked a lot of people. Will it end up as a collapse of monumental proportions by the Bruins and an epic comeback by the Flyers?
Both teams have faced adversity all season and had to fight to the bitter end just to earn a postseason berth. The Bruins beat the Sabres in the first round, and the Flyers shocked the Devils. Now this series comes down to Game 7.
"If you would have asked me before the series if I thought it was going seven, I would have said, 'Definitely,'" Wideman said. "We wouldn't have imagined winning three in a row to start the series off, either. Now it's a one-game series."
After the Bruins were absolutely horrid in a 4-0 loss in Game 5 in Boston, they rebounded and played well in Game 6 despite the loss.
They didn't get off to a good start, but they finished strong, which could prove crucial in Game 7.
The Bruins were hesitant in the first 15 minutes Wednesday but settled in with five minutes remaining in the first period, and it carried over into the second and third periods. Boston just couldn't get the puck to bounce its way. The six ounces of vulcanized rubber found its way off the post a few times, or just trickled through the crease untouched by a Bruins stick.
Still, the end result was the 2-1 loss.
"I would rather be going back to Boston for Game 7 than coming here," said Bruins pugilist Shawn Thornton. "That's definitely a positive. They are pretty stressful situations, Game 7s, so we'll leave it all out there and see what happens."
There were three defining moments in Game 6 for the Bruins:
1. Fourth-line center Trent Whitfield had a chance to tie the game on a shorthanded breakaway, but he couldn't convert with eight minutes to play in the first period. If he scores there, it could have changed the outcome.
2. Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask gave his team a chance to stay in the game when he stopped the Flyers' Ville Leino on a penalty shot at 12:39 of the third period. Philadelphia had a 2-0 lead at that point, but Rask made a terrific glove save.
3. The Bruins were finally able to score when Milan Lucic netted the team's first goal in a span of 134:32 at the 19-minute mark of the third period. Rask was out of the net for the extra attacker and it worked. If anything, it gives Boston confidence heading into Game 7.
"The first 10 minutes of the game, they really took it to us, but after that we settled in and played pretty well and played hard," said Bruins coach Claude Julien. "We probably didn't get enough scoring chances in the second, even though we had the puck in their end quite a bit. In the third, we got more scoring chances and we hit a few posts. Pucks weren't going in for us tonight, but I'm not going to criticize my players' effort. I thought we were ready, but somehow we have to find a way to score goals."
Rask was solid again, making 25 saves. Philadelphia's first goal was not his fault. The second one, however, he wishes he had back as Briere scored on the power play.
"I exposed my glove side, I got a piece of it, but not enough," he said. "I let that side be too open. You can't think about it too much. It happened and you have to focus on the next shot and hope your team is going to score the next goal. It's hockey. It happens. It comes down to one win. It's not over until it's over."
As disappointed as the Bruins were that they failed to close out this series for the third straight game, it didn't take long to put the loss behind them.
"Right now we're disappointed with the loss, but we can't get too down on ourselves and we can't get down on each other," said Lucic. "We need to find a way to battle through this. It's been tough the last three games, but we need to do everything we can to bring our ultimate best for Game 7 because that's what we're going to have to bring if we want to win that game."
The thought of a Bruins-Canadiens Eastern Conference finals is no doubt on the minds of every hockey fan in New England and Montreal. But first the Bruins have to stave off elimination and find a way to beat the Flyers.
"Anything can happen in Game 7," said Wideman. "It's going to be a great hockey game, for sure."Joe McDonald covers the Bruins and Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com.