- Pierre LeBrun, NHL
- 0 Shares
BOSTON -- As the series shifts to Boston, you can't help but be reminded of this time two years ago when the Bruins brought Stanley Cup games back home for the first time in 21 years.
It was an electric time in this rabid sports town.
It was a time when the Bruins needed that buzz to lift them.
The B's were down 2-0 after going oh-fer-Vancouver, but they got all the inspiration they needed from a raucous crowd that craved their return to the finals.
"The excitement in the rink, the excitement that it had been a long time since this city had seen the finals, everyone was just so excited," Bruins blueliner Adam McQuaid recalled Sunday after the team flew home from Chicago. "I know we were excited to be back home. We were in a tough situation being down two games. We knew the importance of coming out strong at home. I think we're looking forward to that experience again."
If you're a Blackhawks fan, you sure are hoping history doesn't repeat itself for the Bruins. Nobody could have foreseen what transpired on June 6 and June 8, 2011 -- the Bruins blasting the visiting Canucks by a combined 12-1 score over two games, which threw the series on its ear.
Bruins winger Tyler Seguin didn't hide the satisfaction that week brought to his dressing room. He will never forget it.
"It was a great feeling, just because we knew we were underdogs and there was a lot of hate already built up right from the drop of the puck in Game 1," Seguin said Sunday. "We definitely walked away beating them quite handily. That was a great feeling.
"This year, the hate is building up, but right now, it's great hockey out there. It's a lot of fun."
The air of superiority that the favored Canucks perhaps had in Vancouver in the opening two games was gone in a hurry in Boston. To steal a line from Ilya Bryzgalov at the 2010 Winter Olympics when speaking about Canada thumping his Russian team in the quarterfinals, the Bruins came out in Game 3 like gorillas out of a cage, scoring an 8-1 victory that had TD Garden rocking like few times ever before.
A 4-0 win two days later, chasing Canucks netminder Roberto Luongo from the net, kept the party going.
The games in Vancouver and Boston were like night and day.
"Felt like such different games in their building," Canucks blueliner Keith Ballard told ESPN.com via text message Sunday. "They were relentless at home."
Ballard was kind enough to revisit what surely remains a nightmarish memory for any of the Canucks players from that 2011 team.
The Bruins became a different team at home in the Cup finals, carrying that energy into Vancouver for the Cup-clinching Game 7 win.
"Not a great memory at all," Ballard said. "They were very aggressive and physical at home. Tough building to play in. Similar to Chicago."
Former Canucks assistant coach Rick Bowness had a front-row seat to the TD Garden wreckage that year. If there's any advice for the visiting Blackhawks, it's to hang in for the opening minutes and try to stave off what surely will be a Bruins team roaring out of the gates in front of its boisterous fans.
"There were no surprises. They came at us, and they played exactly like we thought they were going to," Bowness, recently hired as an assistant coach in Tampa Bay, told ESPN.com on Sunday. "It's up to your team to overcome that. I don't think Chicago's players are going to be surprised at all. Joel [Quenneville] will have them very well prepared.
"It's a matter of playing through those first 10 emotional minutes. If you stay even for those 10 minutes, you'll be in good shape. Hang in there, get your game going, take the crowd out of the game a little bit, and away you go. There are no surprises. But it is imperative that Chicago gets some saves early."
The onus thus might be on Hawks goalie Corey Crawford to hold the fort early.
Then again, who is to say Chicago can't come out and push the pace?
After all, the core of this team that won a Cup in 2010 clinched the final game in perhaps the most intimidating arena of all: Philadelphia.
Just like the Bruins can tap into their home Cup finals dominance of 2011, it's just as reasonable to expect that the Blackhawks can remember pulling that win off at Philly in Game 6.
"We've just got to come out and play hard in their rink," said Blackhawks center Dave Bolland, a holdover from that 2010 champion team. "It's not an easy rink to play in. I remember that. We've just got to play hard and play our game."
Now playing at home, the Bruins would love to relive their 2011 thrashing of the Canucks to retake the momentum in the Stanley Cup finals, Pierre LeBrun writes.