Game 7 roundup: Luck, faith on Canadiens’ side entering finale?
|05.14.14 at 11:11 am ET|
TSN’s renowned radio host Tony Marinaro believes he has found the magic touch to send the Canadiens to the Eastern Conference finals with a Game 7 win over the Bruins on Wednesday night. Prior to Monday’s Game 6 in Montreal, with the Habs facing elimination, Marinaro had the Rev. Joseph Fugolo say a prayer for the Canadiens, particularly struggling forward Max Pacioretty, who scored in Montreal’s 4-0 win.
On Wednesday, Marinaro — who is broadcasting from the WEEI studios and will appear with Mut & Merloni at 1 p.m. — had Fugolo back again to “bless a white Canadiens road jersey” in hopes of keeping luck on the Habs’ side.
Whether you believe in the power of prayer or not, Pacioretty had arguably his best game of the series on Monday with a goal and an assist, and said after the game that it “felt good” to get back on the scoreboard after missing some opportunities in previous games. Pacioretty is hoping that kind of effort continues for him in Wednesday’s deciding Game 7 at TD Garden.
Montreal’s Nathan Beaulieu is hoping to bring some pride to the organization’s contingent of “Black Aces.” The Black Aces are the minor league players the Habs call up from the Hamilton Bulldogs — the team’s AHL affiliate — in the last month of the season, and Beaulieu is the one who got the call before Game 6 on Monday. Beaulieu’s efforts on the big stage made an impression on Canadiens coach Michel Therrien.
Even on the road, there’s no avoiding a crowded Bell Centre for a Habs-Bruins game. The Canadiens will host a viewing party with Game 7 being shown on the big screens at the arena. Tickets were sold for $10 with proceeds going to the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation.
Some Canadiens fans are so excited for Wednesday’s Game 7 that they have swarmed into a pair of local barber shops to have the Habs logo shaved in their hair. The barbers told CBC that fans have been lining up by the hundreds, and designs have included the Stanley Cup and P.K. Subban‘s face.
As is to be expected, there is plenty of support for the Habs north of the border in this series. But one Canadian bar went so far to hang a Zdeno Chara doll from the ceiling by a noose.
No matter who wins on Wednesday night, the Montreal Gazette’s Jack Todd writes that hockey is the real winner in this series. However, he did save room to leave his prediction at the end: a Canadiens win and eventual return to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since 1993.
Adrian Dater of the Bleacher Report sees the Canadiens as not only the hungrier team, but also the better team, giving them the advantage over the Bruins in Game 7. Dater views the Bruins as worn down and offensively challenged, and he expects Carey Price to once again outplay Tuukka Rask.
Alternatively, Yahoo’s Nicholas J. Cotsonika refuses to count the Bruins out despite the celebrations on the streets of Montreal after the Habs’ win on Monday. Cotsonika cites Boston’s recent Game 7 experience — the Bruins have played nine deciding games in the last seven years — and home-ice advantage as enough reason to like their chances.
If the Bruins want to win Game 7, playing their physical game may be the best way to do it. Sports statistics website FiveThirtyEightSports compiled penalty numbers from recent postseasons and determined that teams take significantly fewer penalty minutes in Game 7s than any other game in a playoff series, a likely result of officials swallowing their whistles rather than more disciplined play.