1. Not many, myself included, expect any NHL team to make it to the Cup Finals every year. It's simply too difficult to accomplish regardless of the talent (ask the Penguins). It only happens when you will yourself to wins over the other team. The fact that this is the 2nd Finals run in 3 years is a blessing, and the games have all been incredibly entertaining to boot.
2. Rask had huge skates to fill, and has done everything he possibly can to help raise another banner to the rafters. A 1.83 GAA and .941 SV% is amazing, especially when there are a couple high-scoring games sprinkled in to raise those numbers.
3. Bruins HOFers don't come along often, and I believe we are witnessing first-hand the careers of two numbers that will one day be retired at the Garden: #33 and #37.
4. This year started with a lockout. There were many times when I didn't think hockey was going to be played at all. Now we get to watch our team battle the season's presumptive best team and force them to the bitter end of every game they play.
5. This might be the last time we see Ference and Horton in the Black & Gold. Two players who wear the jersey with pride and were key contributors to the 2011 Cup.
6. Julien is a great coach for this team. Never too high; never too low. Doesn't waste his time tinkering with lines all season aimlessly, but unafraid to make changes when it matters most. Inserting Soderberg for Daug and splitting Chara and Seids for the 3rd last night just more examples that he gets this team, and is hugely underrated.
7. Lucic has proven during these playoffs that the investment is worth every penny. Glad to know he's on "our" team for years to come.
8. When Vancouver lost, the fans had countless reasons why (but none were "we got beat by a better team"). Oh, and they burned their city. When NJ lost, the fans...well, they don't have fans. When Philly lost, the fans blamed injuries. If Boston loses, it'll because Chicago is the better team over 7 games. I love that about these guys...no excuses. And Bruins fans? They'll have a final drink, tip their cap to the Blackhawks, be upset for a few days, then move on. Just like the team they root for.
9. Lucic, Krejci, Chara, Marchand, Seguin, Horton, Seidenberg and of course Rask. Any one of these guys can put the team on their back and single-handedly will them to a Game 6 victory. More importantly, guys like Kelly, Ference, Boychuck, Jagr, Paille and Peverly could make it so nobody has to put the team on their back at all. There are so many potential heroes in that locker room. Get your popcorn ready.
10. No matter what happens Monday night....Neely, Chiarelli and Julien have this team situated so that it can all happen again next year. There are very, very few teams that can say that....and it makes me appreciate my own emotional and financial investment in this team even more. They pay it back every year in spades.
Who's got the #11 reason?