Pierre McGuire on M&M: Game 7 referee Dave Jackson ‘will blow his whistle a lot’
|05.14.14 at 12:54 pm ET|
NBC Sports analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to preview Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals between the Bruins and Canadiens at TD Garden. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
While Monday’s 4-0 Game 6 win never seemed in doubt for the Canadiens, the Bruins set a physical tone with a scrum, which appeared to come out of frustration, at the end of the game, something that came as little surprise to McGuire with a deciding game upcoming.
“You’re trying to plant the seed doubt, no question about that,” he said. “I was a little surprised it didn’t take place with about eight minutes to go. In fact, I may have mentioned to [play-by-play announcer] Kenny Albert in the last 10 minutes that there would be more shenanigans.
“That’s just the way it works. It’s a long series, it’s a hard series, it’s a rivalry series. Boston has one significant advantage over Montreal: They’re most robust, they’re bigger. That’s just the reality, you can’t argue with it. Play to your advantage.”
Whether or not the Bruins will be allowed to play their physical style in Game 7 may depend on the officiating. Wednesday night’s referees will be Dave Jackson and Dan O’Rourke — who previously officiated the Bruins’ Game 2 victory that included B’s coach Claude Julien picking up a bench minor — while Shane Heyer and Brad Kovachik will be the linesmen.
“Dave Jackson will blow his whistle a lot,” McGuire said. “He’s called [games] by the letter of the law — now, only on stick infractions; hooking, holding and that stuff. He lets you play physical, chest to chest, shoulder to shoulder. … Dan O’Rourke is the best skating official in the league right now and he keeps up with the play very well. He will not be a whistle-blower.”
The team that has scored first in each game this series has won the game, something that McGuire believes will be equally important on Wednesday, especially with it being a Game 7.
“In the last 19 Game 7s, 17 times the first goal has won, and the only time we had a deviation was in the first round where Colorado scored the first goal against Minnesota, and San Jose scored the first goal against Los Angeles in Game 7,” he said. “That’s the only two deviations we’ve had. … That’s pretty significant.”
If the Bruins want to have such success, that means they’ll have to avoid the kind of start they had in Game 6, when the Canadiens scored just 2:11 into the game on a goal by Lars Eller.
“The one thing I would take out of [Game 6] if I were Boston is, ‘I’ve got to be ready right from the start. I can’t wait five minutes. I’ve got to be ready right from the start,’ ” McGuire said. “And you’ve got to take a lot from your Game 5 and put it into Game 7 because your Game 5 game was outstanding.”
One area where the Bruins should have a significant edge over the Canadiens on Wednesday is their recent experience in Game 7s.
“Go back to 2011, you had to win three Game 7s: the first round against Montreal, the third round against Tampa and the fourth round on the road against Vancouver. I can’t even tell you how much experience that is, a wealth of experience for the Bruins compared to what the Canadiens are going to have to go through tonight,” McGuire said. “They virtually have no experience when it comes to those moments. Just experience-wise this is a huge night for Boston in terms of what they’ve gone through in the past.”
McGuire won’t discount the importance on home-ice advantage, either.
“The fact that they’re in Boston makes a big difference,” he said. “It’s just a different environment than in Montreal. It’s very hard. Young players make mistakes. It happens, it’s normal. [Montreal] is a very intimidating place to play.
‘There’s a phenomenon when you’re in Boston, having been to the Stanley Cup finals here twice in the last four years, I can tell you, these fans are as rapid and as loud and intimidating as any fan base in the league.”
Following are more highlights from the interview. For more on the Bruins, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.
On whether or not all the pressure is on the Bruins to win Game 7: No. There’s a lot of pressure on Montreal just because the organizational expectation is so high and the fan base is so energized and into it that the players know that they’ve got to win. They did their turn by winning their last home game. That’s a really important thing. Now they have to go on the road and steal one. Now, are they a little bit further ahead in their development than they thought they would be? Absolutely. But there’s still pressure for them to win now. They’ve gotten this far, there’s a lot of pressure.”
On the goaltending matchup between Tuukka Rask and Carey Price: “They’re virtually the same. They just play a little bit different style. They’ve both had some ups and downs in this series. Tuukka’s had a tough time breaking through in Montreal, but he got a shutout in Game 4 in overtime, which was really important for the Bruins, so he found a way to find some magic. In Game 1, double overtime, Carey Price was a big reason why we’re still playing. I really believe if Boston won that double-overtime game, Montreal was going to be knocked out fast. But because Carey Price played so well, it kept everything close. I’d say consistency in the whole series, I’d probably give a little bit of an edge to Carey Price. Not much, but just in terms of the consistency factor, just a tinge of an edge toward Carey Price. That’d be it. It’s hard to separate these two guys.”
On whether or not he’s seen improvements in the Bruins’ first line: “Yeah, I really do. They were getting a lot of chances. [David Krejci] had his chances, just didn’t find the back of the net. [Milan] Lucic missed a wide open net, [Jarome] Iginla had opportunities to get pucks on goal from high-quality scoring areas. It just didn’t happen for them. But I thought they were really starting to take charge.”