Friday, May 27, 2011

Can Boston Avoid Further Heartbreak?

The Boston Bruins have danced the "Game 7 on home ice" dance a few times in their recent history. While the results haven't all been bad, they also haven't all been good.

Before they were able to slide past Montreal in overtime in this year's first round, the Bruins had seen their last two seasons end with awful Game 7 losses at home.

Two years ago -- to Carolina in the second round -- was bad enough. Boston was the No. 1 seed, and the Bruins coasted by Montreal in the first round before running into a hot Hurricanes team in the second. The series went seven, and Game 7 went deep into overtime, before Scott Walker, of all people, won it for Carolina.

Walker had been in trouble during the series for a sucker-punch on Aaron Ward of the Bruins. This was his first career playoff goal.

Last year, though, could have been the worst feeling imaginable for Boston fans. The Bruins led Philadelphia 3-0 in a best-of-seven series, but couldn't close the deal, as the Flyers rallied to force Game 7 in Boston. The Bruins then took a 3-0 lead in Game 7, but couldn't close the deal.

Can Boston pull a rabbit out of the proverbial hat Friday night, or will Tampa Bay find a way to win consecutive games for the first time in the series?

I don't predict Game 7s. I enjoy them. I always give the edge to the home team, and history leans that way, too. However, Boston has to be careful, because it's not like they have had an easy time with home Game 7s of the past.

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