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By Michael Whitmer
Globe Staff / May 28, 2011

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A seventh game of the Eastern Conference finals doesn’t happen often, at least not in Boston, which until last night’s tilt with Tampa Bay had last played host to such a scene 23 years ago.

Not knowing how long it might be until the next Game 7, Don Allen decided he didn’t want to miss this one, and woke up Thursday morning determined to find his way into TD Garden. Not the easiest of tasks, since Allen lives in Newfoundland, and didn’t have any tickets lined up, for the game or through the air.

Airfare was easy. So was lodging. In the end, thanks to the Internet, even game tickets weren’t an issue. But they weren’t cheap.

“Paid $1,160 for two,’’ said Allen, who flew into Boston yesterday with a co-worker, Tom Duggan, a lifelong Montreal Canadiens fan. Allen even convinced Duggan to wear a matching Bobby Orr jersey, with the duo quick to snap a few pictures at the Orr statue outside TD Garden 90 minutes before the puck dropped.

Not surprisingly, the Orr landmark was a popular hangout prior to Game 7, with fans decked out in Bruins sweaters hoping the legend could pass along some Stanley Cup playoff magic to this year’s spoked-B bunch.

Serenaded by a cover band singing “Don’t Stop Believing’’ in the Garden parking lot, the throng of fans waiting for the doors to open were a melting pot of emotions: equal parts anxious, optimistic, pessimistic. Denied a chance to see their team win the series in Florida Wednesday, those heading in for Game 7 were hopeful, more than anything else.

“As Red Sox fans, we all know the heartache,’’ said Jason Hickey, a 33-year-old from Millis, before the Bruins came away with 1-0 victory and a spot in the Stanley Cup finals. “1972 [the Bruins’ last title] isn’t 86 years, but it’s been a long drought. I think a lot of people the past few days have contemplated being disappointed.’’

Had he?

“All week. But I don’t think that’s what’s going to happen, by any means. At this point, they can create their own legacy. If you get that opportunity, you’ve got to take it and make it yours.’’

Anyone walking on Causeway Street without a ticket to Game 7 would have found an assortment of sellers, but no bargains.

“Tickets won’t go below $200,’’ said one scalper who asked not to be named. “That’s pretty much what it was for Game 7 of the Montreal series [in this year’s first round].’’

Allen and Duggan, the duo from Newfoundland, already had their way in, and were content to enjoy the pregame atmosphere. At 45, Allen said he’s old enough to have seen the Orr-led Bruins win Stanley Cups in 1970 and ’72, but doesn’t remember those victories.

“I’ve seen the pictures and the YouTube clips,’’ he said. “After that, we went through the ’90s, and now here we are, and I can see the end. I’ve got a good feeling about tonight, I really do. The chips are down, we’re going to win. We’ll see you in Vancouver.’’

Duggan, the Canadiens fan, had other thoughts on his mind.

“This is the first time I’ve ever worn anything with Bruins on it,’’ he said. “I hope nobody back home watches the game and sees me.’’

Michael Whitmer can be reached at mwhitmer@globe.com.

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