Bruins show a champions' poise in forcing Game 7

741774.jpg

Bruins show a champions' poise in forcing Game 7

WASHINGTON DC Things werent trending all that positively for the Bruins headed into the third period.

The score was tied at 2-2, of course and the Bruins were still hanging with the Washington Capitals while their Verizon Center home was rocking. The Caps had just outshot the Bruins by a 15-5 margin in the middle period and the Bs had frittered away a four-minute power play created when Alex Ovechkin gashed Zdeno Chara in the forehead with a high stick.

In an elimination game where Bostons playoff lives hung in the balance, things probably could have been moving in a more positive fashion. But thats when the Bruins hunkered down, tapped into their previous Stanley Cup-winning experience when their collective backs were against the wall and started treating things on the ice like it was go time for the reigning champs.

It certainly keeps your heart rate down, said a smiling Andrew Ference after he potted a pivotal third period rebound goal that allowed things to go to overtime. Thats probably the biggest thing with playing in a lot of pressure situations and playoff games. Its hard to play in them when your heart beat doesnt slow down and youre sweating twice as much.

While Ference brings 105 games of NHL playoff experience to the table and certainly isnt fazed by big game situations or elimination scenarios -- and even tosses the occasional unintentional bird out there at a particularly relentless crowd even relative newcomers to the postseason way of life can feel the difference. Gregory Campbell had never been to the playoffs before logging his 25 games of experience with the Bruins en route to the Stanley Cup last year. But he more than made up for it with a career full of experiences in last years sprint to the Cup, and recognized the quiet determination running their locker room headed into Sundays third period and overtime sessions.

The Bruins didnt know whether they were going to win or lose, but they werent going to blink when it mattered. Ference scored his goal to give the Bruins their go-ahead chance in the third period, and the Bs refused to fold when Alex Ovechkin tied it back up with a missile off an offensive zone face-off.

Its huge. For teams to win you always hear people resort to the face that we have experience. Fortunately we have a team-full of experienced players right now, said Campbell. Its not a guarantee, but it certainly is a huge help for us to have been through so many things during the playoffs: Game 7s or being down in series.

The playoffs are a roller coaster of emotions and were just riding the wave. Not only has the series been up and down, but every game has been up and down. Its been back-and-forth, and the key to it all is to remain calm.

That calmness was coming through loud and clear as the Bruins outshot the Caps 3-1 in the opening minutes of overtime, and they were simply looking for their first opening to force a Game 7 back in Boston. Seguin supplied that chance with a calm, poised, confident move setting up the overtime score that personified the champions swagger heading into the extra session.

The best part about Bostons heart of a champion coming to the forefront: the Bruins should have a distinct advantage on Wednesday night at TD Garden after taking home three Game 7 scenarios last year.

It comes into a factor if you use it the right way. The same goes for Game 7, said Ference. Maybe we can draw on some of that experience and ride that line of excitement and keeping your wits about you.

Morning Skate: Not a dry eye as Canucks draftee gets the call

Morning Skate: Not a dry eye as Canucks draftee gets the call

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while getting ready to check out GLOW on Netflix.

*This video of a Vancouver Canucks draft pick tearing up while watching the video of his brother celebrating him getting picked is all that is right with the NHL Draft.  

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Adrian Dater has Avs first-round pick Cale Makar talking about his hockey background, and why it doesn’t matter.

*The Calgary Flames are excited about their prospects and the pieces they were able to acquire last weekend.

*The Washington Capitals have re-signed Brett Connolly for a couple of years at short money and he appears to have found a home in DC.

*The Chicago Blackhawks are still in talks with Marian Hossa about how to resolve his contract and the allergic skin condition that might have prematurely ended his hockey career.

*Will the Tampa Bay sports go through a dry spell when it comes to Hall of Fame athletes now that former Lighting forward Dave Andreychuk has been called to the Hockey Hall?

*It looks like young Pierre Luc Dubois will be put in a position to contribute with the Columbus Blue Jackets this season.

*Alex Prewitt has a preview of the NHL free agency period and the stress levels that many players go through in it.

*For something completely different: This video of Drake and Will Ferrell hoop handshakes was pretty solid, and funny.

 

Drellich: Hanley Ramirez has to improve or Red Sox need to try others

Drellich: Hanley Ramirez has to improve or Red Sox need to try others

BOSTON — It doesn’t really matter what’s holding Hanley Ramirez back: his health, his desire to play at less-than-100 percent, neither, both. The Red Sox need him to produce more at the plate, as the designated hitter, or need to play someone who can produce more.

The suggestion of putting Ramirez on the disabled list so that his shoulders (and now, his left knee, where he was hit by a pitch Sunday) may heal is reasonable. If you can’t hit well — if you can’t even be in the lineup — why are you on the roster?

Ramirez was out for a second straight game Tuesday night. 

Flat-out benching Ramirez in favor of Chris Young or Sam Travis or both for a time makes sense too. Young will DH again Tuesday and Travis will start at first against Twins left-hander Hector Santiago. 

Try one, try all. The route to better production doesn’t matter. As long as the Sox get some, be it from Ramirez or somewhere else.

After Mitch Moreland, who’s playing with a fractured big toe on his left foot, homered and had another impactful night on Monday, Sox manager John Farrell made some comments that are hard to read as anything but a message to Ramirez.

“In his most recent stretch, he’s been able to get on top of some fastballs that have been at the top of the strike zone or above for some power obviously,” Farrell said. “But I think the way he’s gone about it given the physical condition he’s in, is a strong message to the remainder of this team.”

Tuesday is June 27. From May 27 on, Ramirez is hitting .202 with a .216 on-base percentage and .369 slugging percentage. 

In the final three months of the 2016 season, Ramirez hit .300 with a .379 OBP and .608 slugging percentage. That’s from the start of July through the end of the regular season. 

The potential for such a second-half surge is hard to ignore. The Sox need to figure out if Ramirez is healthy enough to give it to them, and if not, be willing to give someone else an extended look — be it with Ramirez on the bench or the DL.