Published May 31, 2011
It’s been a weekend and I’m still exhausted from the tension of a classic 1-0 Game 7 of playoff hockey.
Standing on the ninth floor Friday and looking down at the ice with three minutes left in the game and remembering that feeling back in 1990 when the Bruins beat the Hartford Whalers, Montreal Canadiens and the Washington Capitals to advance to the NHL Finals for the second time in three years. Although I was a media member, I was also a fan and it was a great time to be a Bruins fan.
Little did I know that I would not get a chance to have that emotion for another 21 seasons. But Friday night at TD Garden, it was a really good feeling. With 1:13 left in the game, the crowd felt it, and the guttural screams of all those years were released — it was indeed the loudest noise I had ever heard in that building since its birth.
The Bruins played the most perfect hockey game they could play. They attacked, the defense played flawlessly — I cannot remember a single bad defensive play by any of the six. The goaltender was perfect, despite the fact he was protected well and made all the saves he was supposed to.
At some point during the second period, you had that feeling that it was going to be a one-goal game, but which team would get that break? Bruins fans have seen it before, where their team is the one pressing, attacking, making all the right plays, firing shots on the opposition goalie playing spectacularly and then… bang, Boston trails. But that was not the case this time as David Krejci fed a pass from the right circle to Nathan Horton for an easy tip-in. It caused an eruption from the boisterous fans, who had been loud and behind the team all game long.
7:33 left in the third period.
It was the longest seven minutes of the season as the B’s were out to make that lead stand. And give Claude Julien and the team credit, they did not sit on it and let the Lightning take it to them. No, no, they kept putting the pressure on. And, with Tampa trying to get the equalizer, the Bruins would create several odd-man rushes. The defense would not allow the Tampa goalie to get off the ice until there were less than 30 seconds remaining.
There was a deafening roar as the seconds ticked down and the Bruins blocked several passes from geting in their zone until it was over. “Dirty Water,” hugs and pats on the backs, congratulatory high fives in the crowd, “Don’t Stop Believin’” and that tingly teary feeling all over again!
I just stood there taking it all in from the ninth floor because, as the players have often said, you should enjoy the Stanley Cup Playoff moments, because this doesn’t happen every year. You never know if you are gonna get back there again.
The Boston Bruins are back in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Presidents Cup winner Vancouver Canucks. It’s been a hell of a long time and I can’t wait till Wednesday night!