Like two punch-drunk prize fighters, the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins have been taking turns knocking each other down during these Eastern Conference semi-finals. Neither team has been able to get more than a single game lead over the other the entire series.
It has all led to tonight, a one-game title bout in an arena from which it is almost literally close enough to throw a tea bag into the Boston Harbor (grab TD Garden parking from ParkWhiz.) And in an article written to showcase history that, fittingly, allows for a neat segue from American history to North American sports history.
Although no, this rivalry does not date back to the American Revolution, it is still nearly a century old. And while the players and venues may have changed over the years, the attitudes displayed by the Big, Bad Bruins and les Bleu, Blanc et Rouge toward each other have not. Now once again, these ancient NHL rivals find themselves having to go through each other in order to keep pursuing their Championship dreams.
For the Habs, top scoring defenseman P.K. Subban has been simply fantastic in these playoffs. Connecticut’s Max Pacioretty is returning home to New England, and likely champing at the bit to win here.
And I can’t imagine any player the Boston Bruins would rather not see suiting up against them in a Game 7 more than their perpetual nemesis, ex-Buffalo Sabre Thomas Vanek.
While not necessarily rare, games like this one between two league titans are somewhat uncommon. So when they come around, they’re always worth watching. Even if you don’t have an actual rooting interest in either team.
Surely you’ve heard this said before, maybe even from me, and I’ll echo it here. There is nothing more exciting in the realm of sports than a Game 7 in the NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. And that’s what we’re now fortunate to have before us.
Even better, it’ll be between two legendary squads who will each carry the pride and tradition of their teams’ respective history with them out onto the ice in Boston. While it’s a great responsibility, my guess is that neither would want to have it any other way.