This is it!!!
Big story: For the ninth time in their history and the sixth time in the past nine Stanley Cup Playoff series between the Boston Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens, the best-of-7 has gone the distance. Montreal has won five of the prior eight do-or-die games. The Canadiens pushed the series to the limit by winning 4-0 in Game 6 on Monday. A berth in the Eastern Conference Final goes to the winner.
Canadiens: To say Montreal is relishing the chance to go on the road as underdogs for Game 7 at TD Garden would be an understatement. The Canadiens are embracing the challenge like it's the best thing ever.
"It's going to be great," defenseman P.K. Subban said. "I can't wait for the crowd, the noise, the energy in the building.
"I can't wait to take that all away from them."
Montreal won Game 1 in Boston. The Canadiens think they've pretty much settled on what works and what doesn't when it comes to taking down the Presidents' Trophy-winning Bruins. They can't get mixed up in a battle of brawn.
"You can't beat the Bruins playing like the Bruins," forward Daniel Briere said. "I think they're probably the best at it. We have to be smarter. We'll have to take punches, we'll have to take slashes, we'll have to get hurt at times, and then that's when we're most successful, when we don't get into their game."
Bruins: With the chance to eliminate Montreal in Game 6, Boston was unable to match the Canadiens' desperation. Now the Bruins are in a situation where each team is desperate.
A full analysis of the series should tell the Bruins what they need to do.
"You go back and look at what we were doing right and what helped our team to victories, obviously," defenseman Torey Krug said. "But at the same time, I think it all comes down to preparation [Wednesday] and making sure we're ready to go, because that first 20 minutes is going to be a crucial part of the game. So you've just got to be ready for it."
Boston's hallmark in the regular season was consistency. Through six games against Montreal, they've been inconsistent. It's hard to get a feel for whether the Bruins will play like they did when they won Game 5 or lost Game 6. Center Gregory Campbell has faith it'll be the former.
"As a team and as an organization, we've always held ourselves to a high standard," Campbell said. "And there's a lot of pride in the room and we want to win. It's up to us to show that we want to win and that we can win. But the game is played on the ice. That's where we have to compete and be ready for it."
Who's hot: Canadiens forward Thomas Vanek scored twice in Game 6 and has four goals in the series. Forward Max Pacioretty scored his first goal of the series in Game 6 and has three assists. … Forward Reilly Smith leads the Bruins with three goals in the series; center Carl Soderberg and left wing Brad Marchand lead in points with five each.
Injury report: Montreal forward Alex Galchenyuk (lower body) remains out. … Boston defensemen Dennis Seidenberg (ACL/MCL) and Adam McQuaid (ankle) and forward Chris Kelly (back) are out.