Bruce Cassidy says Bruins will ‘stick to our routine’ for Game 7
BEDFORD — During a long break after the Eastern Conference finals, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy consulted with local teams about dealing with playoff pressure. But Cassidy and the Bruins are on their own now; few of their colleagues can relate to the situation the team is in, preparing for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.
“Excited, the whole hockey world is,” Cassidy said. “So, Stanley Cup Final, Game 7, looking forward to it. Like I said last night, may the best team win.
“You’ve got to put your best foot forward. Try to stick to our routine. We’re off today, practice tomorrow. We’ll say a few things, I’m sure our leadership will have a few things to say to the younger guys — everybody, really — and be ready to go.”
Several current Bruins played in the seventh game of the 2011 Final and in the 2013 Final, including Patrice Bergeron, who delivered a pregame motivation talk before a 5-1 win over the St. Louis Blues Sunday night, setting up Wednesday’s decider at the TD Garden.
“Well, to me, it matters a lot because I haven’t been through it in a Stanley Cup Final,” Cassidy said upon arriving at Hanscom Field Monday afternoon.
“So, the core from Vancouver  and from Chicago , for that matter, they didn’t want to go through that again last night. And it showed.
“Who were the guys that stepped up? Tuukka [Rask], March [Brad Marchand], these guys, they’ve been through it. So, I think it matters a lot in our room.
“I do believe once the puck drops, listen, guys want to win. They’re not overthinking it, generally. I just think it’s sometimes in the preparation. If you’re not ready to go, that’s where the leadership helps the guys a lot. Settle you down a lot an hour and a half before the game, a day before the game, sometimes in-game.
“But I do believe the players, they’re used to playing, that’s when they’re comfortable, that’s when some of that stuff just goes out the window. You just play hockey and the team that executes the best generally wins.”
Even the less experienced Bruins do not seem overwhelmed by the stakes.
“It’s a lot of emotions, and I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like going on the ice,” Marcus Johansson said. “You dream about it. There’s nothing bigger, and you know you’ve worked for a chance like this your whole life, so I can’t wait.”
Said Karson Kuhlman, who scored his first playoff goal Sunday: “I’ve never been in a situation like this, but you just go out and play. It’s still hockey. It’s a big game, but we’ve got to go out and keep doing what we’ve been doing, and yesterday was not that different to us.
“We had to win. We had no choice but to win, and it’s going to be the same Wednesday. We’ll have to do the same thing.”
The Bruins are unbeaten in close-out and elimination games during this postseason. Johansson scored the game-winner in a 5-1 win over Toronto in a first-round Game 7 at the Garden.
“The guys just step up,” Johansson said. “Everyone knows what’s at stake, and even if we have our backs against the wall, or not, we come out and we play and we move forward together.
“We have such a good group of guys that we push each other and we’re positive and I think that’s a big part of it.”
Cassidy said the veterans should help the team maintain focus.
“Our composure I’m sure will be there,” Cassidy said. “I think it’s dealing with the adversity, as well. Who scores first, how do you react to that? I think that’s one of the areas that you’ve got to be able to deal with if it’s not your team [that scored].
“Then discipline in those little battles, discipline in your forecheck routes. There’s discipline all over the ice, not just the physical part of it, but how you play the game, how you approach it.
“So, I think we have a good group in there. That’s part of [Bergeron], what he talked about. How do you approach the game without getting too far ahead of yourself, without getting in your own way? Just play hockey.”