Memory of 2013 Cup Final defeat serving as motivation for Bruins veterans

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BOSTON — The TD Garden crowd were on their feet. The clock was ticking down as the Boston Bruins held a 2-1 lead. Corey Crawford rushed to the bench for the extra attacker with 1:29 to go in the the third period. Then, it happened…

Toews to Bickell. Score!

Bolland. Score!

In a matter of 17 seconds, the Bruins went from forcing a Game 7 in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final to losing the game and watching the Chicago Blackhawks celebrate on their ice.

The Bruins veteran core has been on both ends of a Stanley Cup Final resultTwo years before that stunning defeat they were parading the Cup around Rogers Arena after a Game 7 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Both nights were memorable for different reasons, but losing left them with a bigger learning experience.

“You realize when you get to this point how hard it actually is,” said Brad Marchand. “The longer you’ve been around the league, you look at some guys that have been around for a long time and how few opportunities you get. It’s extremely difficult to get to this point. You need everything to go your way. You need the calls, you need the bounces, you need guys to be healthy, guys step up at the right time all the way through the year. It’s extremely tough just to get to this point here, and to win is even harder than that. Once you lose you realize how close it is. You get a taste but you don’t get that victory, you don’t get to feel all those sensations of winning.”

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Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, and Tuukka Rask were on both of those teams and could get back that “sensation of winning” they all felt eight years ago if they were to win Wednesday night in Game 7 against the St. Louis Blues. The Stanley Cup Playoffs are a grind and the payoff can be so great.

“You put everything on the line for two-and-a-half months to get to this point so you enjoy being in the moment and give everything you got,” said Bergeron.

The Bruins veterans have certainly reminded their teammates who have never reached this point to not take the experience for granted. Some of them may never get back to the Cup Final in their careers, so they have to savor the opportunity. Six years later, that core gets another crack to make more memories and move another championship ahead of that defeat in their memory banks.

“It’s extremely difficult, and unfortunately that’s the way it goes,” said Marchand. “Someone has to win, someone has to lose. It’s the best thing in the world for the team that wins and it sucks for the team that loses. Being on both sides of it, you realize how hard it is and just how s—– it is to lose. 

“That sticks with you forever. Winning and losing, it sticks with you forever. You don’t forget everything that happens when you win and definitely don’t forget what happens when you lose.”

Blues-Bruins Game 7 from TD Garden in Boston will be Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

MORE BLUES-BRUINS COVERAGE:
Win or lose the Conn Smythe should belong to Rask
Stanley Cup photos inside Bruins’ dressing room serve as inspiration
How much it costs to attend Game 7 of Blues-Bruins
St. Louis newspaper gets roasted for ‘jinxing’ Blues before Game 6

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.