Bruins: Capitals haven't seen our best yet

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Bruins: Capitals haven't seen our best yet

BOSTON -- The Bruins and Washington Capitals have played what amounts to the closest, tightest series in NHL Stanley Cup history.

No two teams had ever started a series off with six straight games decided by one goal as the margin of difference in each contest, and its been dead-even with things tied at 3-3 headed into Wednesday nights Game 7 winner-take-all at TD Garden.

So what will the difference come to in the end?

One overriding factor in the Bruins favor: they havent played close to a perfect game in their series against the Washington Capitals while the No. 7 seed team has blocked shots with agonizing desire and played Dale Hunters defensive system to frustrating perfection.But the Bruins have suffered the odd defensive breakdown, they watched Tim Thomas sag during the third period of Game 5 in front of the TD Garden crowd and they received next-to-nothing offensively from their top forward line (Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Tyler Seguin) until midway through Game 6 in Washington DC.

I think weve seen spurts, but I dont know that weve put an entire 60-minute game together that wed like to see. The last game we had that four-minute power play. We didnt capitalize, and that really swung things in the direction of the Caps. Thats what we dont like to so were obviously looking to put together full 60. Were looking to lay it all on the line.

That means the Black and Gold, who became the first team in Stanley Cup playoff history to win three Game 7s en route to a Cup last season, still have another gear they can shift up to against an upstart bunch from Washington. Its the kind of effort that Boston put forward in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning in a 1-0 victory where neither team blinked until the Bolts made one critical defensive error late in the third period.

Were obviously always chasing after perfection or for as close to perfection as we can. Youre foolish to think youre ever going to get perfection. Even if you think to past years that might have only been mentioned in one gamemaybe in that Game 7 against Tampa, said Andrew Ference. I dont think that was even mentioned during any of the Vancouver games. Its a pretty high standard to say we need to play our best hockey when its happened only once in five years.

The one thing thats fair to ask is for every player in this room to play at or close to the level that theyve played at all season long. It would be great if everybody could play beyond that, but its not realistic and thats inviting trouble if guys start to try doing too much. We havent a game in this series where weve had all 20 guys playing at or close to the level that theyre normally capable of getting to, and if we can do that then well get a pretty good result.

Thats the same style two careful hockey coaches could adopt for Wednesday nights tilt with hockey lives on the line: the club that doesnt allow their opponent to capitalize on their mistakes, or doesnt make any mistakes, will be the one advancing toward the next round.

Its tough. Every game is kinda funny. There are games were bounces went it, there are games were teams made big defensive mistakes and there were ones where one guy had a monster game. They all take on their own personality, said Ference, who will be playing in his team-high 10thGame 7 of his career on Wednesday. But generally speaking its the team that can recover the fastest between shifts, keep their heart rates down and not overreact to situations be they positive or negative. Its like everything we talk about in the playoffs except its amplified higher for one game.

The Bruins have been battling through frustration and a surprising Washington Capitals while fighting to find the full scope of their game. They grasped it in the final few periods of Game 6 in Washington, and now its time to finally tap into their considerable Game 7 potential with everything waiting for them.

Morning Skate: Former PC coach Army on Avs' rough year

Morning Skate: Former PC coach Army on Avs' rough year

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars being released today. Amazing that the power and influence of the best movie franchise in cinematic history are just as strong today as it was four decades ago. I still remember my first time seeing it as a very little kid with my parents at the dearly departed Starlight Drive-In in North Reading.

*Good guy and recently fired Colorado Avalanche assistant coach Tim Army talks about a rough past season with the Avs, and some of the difficulties they faced in a truly terrible season. The former Providence College head coach and good hockey man shouldn’t have much trouble finding his next gig.

*A great move by the Arizona Coyotes, who have hired former Bruins forward Craig Cunningham as a pro scout after his awful medical situation last season that resulted in his leg getting amputated. Cunningham is a hard worker and a hockey lifer, and that’s exactly the kind of traits that the best scouts have in huge amounts.

*The New Jersey Devils have fired a number of employees after a rough season, including a groundbreaking radio analyst.

*With the ultra-competitive demand for an edge in NHL player development, teams are beginning to look to Europe for more and more diamonds in the rough. The Bruins tried that with Joonas Kemppainen, but it didn’t work out so well.

*One of the real big advantages of the Nashville Predators getting to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time is a national spotlight getting flashed on PK Subban, who shows off his personality in a rare ESPN interview of a hockey player featured on the network's magazine show.

*Ryan Johansen isn’t done talking smack to Ryan Kesler after the Predators prevailed over the Ducks, and it’s some delicious playoff hatred.

*Is the NHL ready to draft another goaltender with the last name DiPietro in the first round? Inquiring minds want to know, but I’d recommend the New York Islanders take a pass just in the name of avoiding a repeat of some bad history for them.

*Taylor Hall sounds pretty bitter about the whole “Edmonton Oilers getting into the playoff without him” thing, doesn’t he?

*For something completely different: As mentioned above, it’s a milestone birthday for the Star Wars franchise hitting 40 years old today. Boy, this Boston Globe movie review was right on the money back in 1977.

 


 

Report: Changes coming to Bruins' uniforms?

Report: Changes coming to Bruins' uniforms?

The assumption was that some NHL jerseys and logos were going to get tweaked when Adidas takes over for Reebok as the manufacturer of the game sweaters and it looks like the Black and Gold of the Bruins will be getting some alterations. 

According to a report on Sportslogos.net, the Bruins are one of 13 NHL teams, including the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, that will have some changes made to the jerseys they wear.

There’s no indication as to how sweeping the changes will be and it’s doubtful something as heinous as the 1990’s Pooh Bear jerseys will be entered into the B’s mix. The last major changes for the Bruins came when Reebok first took over in 2007-08 and some slight alterations were made to the B’s logo, but the Bruins have also switched around their third alternate jerseys several times over the past decade.

The personal favorite at this address is the gold Winter Classic jerseys the Bruins donned on Jan. 1, 2010 against the Philadelphia Flyers at Fenway Park. Something like that could be a pretty interesting look as a home alternate jersey for special occasions at TD Garden, but the expectation at this address is the Bruins will keep it simple with something in black that’s not too distant from their 2016 Winter Classic jerseys that have become their alternate third jerseys.

The speculation on the blog was that the Bruins sweater alterations will be something along the lines of a “font change for the names or numbers” on the jerseys, and that’s something that wouldn’t qualify as a significant deviation from the classically popular Bruins game sweaters. In other words, the Bruins and Adidas shouldn’t be messing with something that isn’t broken with the Black and Gold, or with their fan base that still wears old school Andy Moog and Ray Bourque Bruins sweaters to home games on a regular basis.