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.

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    Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

    Niklas Kronwall
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    When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

    (His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

    It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

    He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

    First, the Kronwalling:

    Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

    It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

    Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

    Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

    Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

    Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

    It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

    To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

    The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

    That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

    They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

    Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


    More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

    In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

    Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

    Jack Eichel
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    The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

    You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

    That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

    Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

    Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


    Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

    While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

    In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

    The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?