For the Boston Bruins, it’s do or die tonight. Down 3-2 to the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL Stanley Cup Finals, Boston is teetering over the ledge coming into Game 6. Will Chicago finally push them off tonight, or will the Bruins fight to live another day, forcing yet another Game 7?
It’s been an incredible few months for the Bruins. After a lackluster regular season came to a flat conclusion, the team was just minutes away from a first round elimination at the hands of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Down 4-1 at the ten minute mark of the third period, thoughts of a Bruins fire sale were dancing through the heads of both the fans and the team itself.
And then a miracle like no other occurred. Boston rallied as if their lives depended on it — which, in a way, they did — and stole the game and the series. Since then they had gone on an absolute tear, obliterating the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins en route to a second Stanley Cup Finals appearance in three years.
Now, their playoff lives are once again on the line. And if they do end up getting bounced tonight or Wednesday, the thrills the team has given the fans will be nothing but nice memories from a race in which the horse never made it to the finish line.
Make no mistake, I’ve had more fun watching hockey this postseason than I ever thought I would, especially considering how Boston looked late in the regular season. Who in their right mind honestly thought the Bruins, who just seemed incompetent some nights in March and April, would be in this position?
Unfortunately, this is just the nature of the game. Let’s think about it for a second.
What was a bigger Tim Thomas moment, his epic save against Steve Downie in 2011 or him helping sweep Montreal in 2009?
How many fans say Marc Savard‘s overtime winner against the Philadelphia Flyers is their favorite playoff highlight of all-time?
Make no mistake, the playoff moments are more historic when they’re part of Stanley Cup lore, not when they occur during postseasons that end in bitter defeat.
The comeback against Toronto was one of the greatest nights in Bruins history, and nothing will ever take that away. Their sweep of the star-studded Penguins was absolutely glorious. And let’s not forget Gregory Campbell. His play on a broken leg against Pittsburgh is forever ingrained in the minds of fans. However, if Boston ends up losing in the Finals, all of these become stories that end with the phrase “yeah, but”.
For the Bruins, it all comes down to how they want this postseason to be remembered. Will it be two months of great moments that ended up highlighting a playoff run ultimately coming up short? Or will fans be able to look back at that fateful night against the Leafs and be able to say, “without that night, we would’ve never won the Cup”?
Once again, Boston has been pushed to the brink. It seems like it’s been a while since the last time we saw the Bruins in such dire straights. Here’s hoping they remember how to overcome the high-pressure situations like last time.
The chapters of this playoff run have included memories nobody will ever forget. Tonight we find out whether or not this story can have a happy ending.