The Bruins are going to give me a heart attack, and other Game 7 thoughts
How did we do it? I was 99 percent certain my heart was going to explode at least ten times last night, so how on earth did Bruins fans survive three Game 7s in 2011?
I suppose the love of the game gets you through it, but I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t see last night coming. Well, the four Toronto goals I expected. After the Bruins’ incredibly poor performance Sunday night, I had all but written them off. It’s not that I don’t believe in the team, the talent, or the coaching (yes, I’m still with Claude Julien on this one), but it’s a heck of a lot easier to go in with low expectations to avoid disappointment. And by disappointment I mean the excruciatingly painful heartbreak that is a Game 7 loss.
I can only imagine what a Game 7 loss in overtime feels like today, especially after taking a three-goal lead. But luckily, I’ll live through at least another six playoff games before possibly remembering what that does to you. If you’re just dying to understand re-live those emotions right now, I don’t know, go ask a Leafs fan.
What makes it worse for the Leafs is they probably deserved to win Monday night. They outplayed the Bruins for most of that game, no one is arguing against that. When Nathan Horton scored with 10:22 left in the third to make it 4-2, it seemed meaningless. I had just been saying things weren’t clicking for the B’s the way we expect them to in the playoffs at this point, and then boom, Milan Lucic scores and it’s a one-goal game with 1:22 to go. The hope kicked in then. It was a game again and they had a shot at winning. I don’t know if I was more frightened or excited at this point. It would have been pretty typical Bruins to reel you in with the Lucic goal to pull within one just to drop you back down. But two goals in less than two minutes to force overtime? Sure, why not? And if anyone was going to make that happen, Patrice Bergeron is your man.
Don’t ask me why one more goal with 1:22 to play seemed more probable than two more goals had been back when there were still 10 minutes to play, but that’s hockey for you. Sometimes you lose a 3-1 series lead, are forced to play a Game 7 and make history. No team has ever come back from a three-goal hole in the third period of a Game 7 to win it.
I don’t even remember what the wait for overtime felt like. If anything, it’s just a blur of anticipation. I do know what I did when Bergeron scored his second of the night for the win, though – I screamed. I screamed a lot. We had gone from complete dejection down 4-1 just wanting the whole thing to end so we’d be put out of our misery to complete joy in a matter of about thirty minutes.
So yes, Monday night was awesome. We won’t soon forget it. But you have to hope the last-minute heroics weren’t for naught. The Bruins got lucky late, but they have to be much better moving forward if they want to make it out of the semifinal round against the New York Rangers. Jaromir Jagr needs to be faster, or at least better utilized. Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin need to start playing like Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin instead of a couple of duds. This team has to put guys on the net, because if I hear Jack Edwards say that no one was there for the “juicy rebound” one more time I might pull my hair out. Although, chances are Henrik Lundqvist won’t be giving up nearly as many of those.
It’s never easy with the Bruins. It never has been. But I wouldn’t mind if they made it a little easier on themselves and a lot easier on those of us watching with chewed up fingernails and anxiety attacks waiting to happen. Last night was nothing short of a miracle, but let’s not count on another one.
We made it through the three hours of Game 7. Now my only question is how we survive the 48 hours (plus) until puck drop of Game 1 vs. the Rangers on Thursday.