At the end of tonight I'll be okay with the B's even if they lose this game, and become only the 3rd team ever to 'blow' a 3-0 lead. I will be okay, provided they play the way the did in Buffalo series, games 1-4, and periods 2-3 of game 6.
This isn't and wasn't a team that was supposed to challenge for the cup, not after letting Kessel go and it becoming clear they didn't have consistent offense somewhere around December.
They were crushed with injuries, I believe playing perhaps 15 games this entire season with a completely healthy roster.
Prior to the playoffs I though the team was regressing from it's previous two years. This current playoff run has shown me they are capable of playing very good hockey, and were it not for the loss of Krejci (and somewhat Sturm) they would likely already be in the conference finals.
The B's were able to withstand the lose of Savard, in large part due to the elevated play of Bergy and Krecji - both of whom seemed to get a charge from the Olympics. So one top line center is replaced by 2 up and coming, hot centers.
They were able to withstand the defensive issues because Boychuck, Hunwick and McQuaid are capable, not perfect, but capable defenders who can slide into the conservative system the B's play.
Harder to replace a deft centermen at the peak of his game, your fastest skater, and two of your best PKers. That's about 4-5 changes within your offense at least - and at a time where your opponent's offense is getting healthier...that's a lot.
To me it's going to take an amazing game from Bergy to get his wingman involved early. I think Looch should be on the first line with Bergy and Rechhi and Savard and Sobodka should switch lines as well. B's need to get players working together more, and the current lines are just in a rut at the worst time.
Oh and Rask needs to be very, very good because the Flyers have learned they can out hustle the B's in front of him now and the 2nd, 3rd chances have to be limited.
End of the day, it would be one thing if the B's lost a 3-0 series at face value, but to me when you lose arguable the top 1/3 of your offense as the opponent gets one of it's top 3 offensive players back - that's a pretty significant change to the series.
I hope that doesn't sound like an excuse, I'm not trying to make one. I'm more trying to say it makes sense how this series has gone based on personnel changes to each team.
All I ask for is effort, more effort then the final game vs. Carolina last year, more effort then the last 3 games.