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.”

[NBC 2019 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

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.

Blackhawks F Katchouk will be sidelined by ankle sprain

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CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced Sunday.

The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.

The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.

The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.

Ducks’ Urho Vaakanainen crashes into boards, leaves on stretcher

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.

The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.

The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.

Vaakanainen’s teammates came onto the ice and gathered around him as he was taken away on the stretcher.

The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.

Lightning donate $2 million to Hurricane Ian relief efforts

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TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning and team owner Jeff Vinik are donating $2 million toward Hurricane Ian relief efforts.

The NHL team announced that $1 million each will be donated by the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and the Vinik Family Foundation.

“This is a tragic situation for many families and communities across the state of Florida, but especially so in the southwest region of the state,” Vinik said in a statement released by the team. “In times like these the most important thing we can do is support one another, and we hope this donation will help families recover and rebuild in the months to come.”

Ian made landfall Wednesday on Florida’s Gulf Coast, south of the Tampa Bay area. The Lightning postponed two home preseason games and moved the club’s training camp to Nashville, Tennessee, during the storm.

Maple Leafs sign defenseman Rasmus Sandin to 2-year deal

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TORONTO — Rasmus Sandin has signed a two-year, $2.8 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the club announced on Thursday.

The 22-year-old from Sweden was the 29th overall selection in the 2018 draft. Sandin had 16 points in 51 games with Toronto last season. He’s played in 88 career regular-season games, with six goals and 22 assists, and has one goal in five playoff games.

“Got a great set of tools,” fellow defenseman Jake Muzzin said. “With experience, I think they’re only going to get better.”

The signing comes as the Leafs’ blueliners been hit hard by injuries. Muzzin has been dealing with a back issue, and Timothy Liljegren recently had surgery for a hernia.

Toronto then lost Jamie Benn (groin) and Carl Dahlstrom (shoulder) in Wednesday’s 3-0 preseason victory over the Montreal Canadiens, pressing forwards Calle Jarnkrok and Alexander Kerfoot into defensive roles for two periods.