Game 7 preview: What they're saying

The message for a Game 7 with historic implications is simple: Win or go home. For the Bruins, a win matches them up with their long time rivals the Canadiens. A loss, however, puts them in infamous company. Head coach Claude Julien’s words for his team are simple.

“You go out there and you play to win,” Julien said of his team’s approach. “Sometimes they say the term, ‘Safe is death.’ If you play safe, it’s not going to help your chances to win.”

Playing it safe is what the Bruins have seemed to do in games five and six of this series and after an overtime loss in Game 4, the Bruins have played seemingly scared to lose. The Flyers, meanwhile, have responded in a big way to being on the brink of elimination, something coach Peter Laviolette was eager to point out.

“It really is our fifth time facing elimination,” Laviolette said. “I feel like we’re ready for this. The message hasn’t changed from Day 1 since I’ve been here until where we are right now. Everything has stayed the same. The meetings are the same. The message is the same. What’s expected is the same.   

“When we start mention a Game 7, there’s this buildup because somebody’s going home, but like I said, we’ve been faced with that for a while.”

As for the players, Laviolette likes having a guy like Chris Pronger in the locker room as he’s a guy familiar with what it takes to win in a big spot.

“Not only has he proven it in the past, he’s proven it already here. Our team has been in survival mode; we’ve been fighting. And you don’t win those fights unless there’s great type of people in the locker room. Mike Richards. Danny Briere steps up. Chris Pronger plays his minutes. Guys who have proven they can get there and handle the pressure of an elimination game, and that’s where we are tonight.”

“There’s no question that Chris Pronger can be a difference tonight.”

How does Claude Julien plan on slowing down the Flyers while at home? His approach is simple and predictable.

“It’s pretty simple, especially when you’re the home team. You want to get your crowd into it, so there’s no doubt you’d like to come out strong in the first 10 minutes. When you’re on the road, you want to make sure you quiet down the other team for the first 10 minutes,”

In other words, if you’re tuning in tonight to watch or joining us for our live chat, don’t miss the first ten minutes.

After PTO, Upshall signs one-year deal with Blues

Florida Panthers v Ottawa Senators
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Scottie Upshall has parlayed his training camp tryout into a contract with St. Louis.

On Monday, the Blues agreed to a one-year, two-way deal with the veteran forward, worth $700,000 at the NHL level. The deal comes after Upshall spent all of training camp and the preseason impressing the Blues his speed and skating ability, no small feat for a 31-year-old veteran with over 500 NHL games on his odometer.

But where Upshall fits in the Blues lineup — and within the organization — remains to be seen.

The club has plenty of depth up front and Upshall isn’t coming off a terrific campaign, having scored just eight goals and 15 points in 63 games with Florida last season. That said, he showed enough to be just one of a handful of veterans on PTOs to score a contract.

Panthers’ Crouse is going back to junior

2015 NHL Draft - Round One
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Lawson Crouse is going back to junior. The big 18-year-old winger confirmed it today on Twitter.

Crouse was drafted 11th overall in June by the Florida Panthers. Despite the club’s belief that Crouse could make “an immediate impact” on the roster, he finished the preseason with just two shots and one assist in three games.

Crouse will return to the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, with whom he’ll look to improve on his modest point totals from last season.

“I don’t think there’s any pressure on the kid,” coach Gerard Gallant said last week. “If he doesn’t make the team this year he goes back to junior … and will have a lot of success.”