As the minutes tick down until puck drop at 7 p.m. for the Bruins-Canadiens Game 7 matchup, Bruins fans can be assured that they’re not the only ones anxious to get started. Claude Julien is right there with you.
“It’s do or die, right?” Julien said. “I think everybody knows that. To me it’s exciting. I was ready to play last night and I was excited watching the other games on TV. I wish it was an afternoon game versus a night game.”
It was a sentiment repeated on the other side, too, where Montreal defenseman Josh Gorges seemed ready to put on his skates and take the ice immediately.
As he said, “If it was up to both teams, you’d say, ‘Let’s get here at 9. Let’s play.’ ”
But for everyone involved, there were hours to wait before the game, hours to sit and stew, hours to get excited, hours to burn. And then, after all of that, the Bruins will take on the Canadiens for the right to face the Rangers in the Eastern Conference finals, which are likely to start Saturday.
“It’s a great challenge,” Patrice Bergeron said. “That’s why you play the game — it’s definitely to win. Situations like that, it’s always fun to be part of it.”
Especially back home at TD Garden.
“We do have the experience, we know how it’s going to be tonight, and we have our fans with us so we’ve got to use that to our advantage,” Bergeron said. “But we still know it’s going to be a tough game, a hard game, and we know Montreal is going to be ready, so it’s about us tonight.
“It’s about us skating and doing the things to come out with a win.”
They know, of course, that this is a big game. The Bruins have played in eight Game 7s since 2008, after all, with a 4-4 record. But they also know what they have to do, as Julien laid out in his pregame meeting with the media.
“I think it’s pretty simple: We’ve got to go out, play our best game, and play our game, not just our best game but the way we play,” he said. “If you’ve followed our team all year, you’ll know what that is.”