Tonight's game without question has to be a team effort. And there are so many factors in play in which the Bruins have to step it up, which I won't list here (we all know what they are as we debate them daily here on SCoC). But no factor tonight is more important for this team to come out on top than a Vezina Trophy performance from Tim Thomas.
We, the fans, have to expect nothing less from "our Lord and Savior." We've seen Timmy save this team's tails countless times this season and in the playoffs. Goaltending was the primary reason the Bruins came up big in Games 3 and 5 of this series. Tonight, this is his moment to shine unlike any other night of his career. He's going to have to come up big once again. Defense also helped to cap off those playoff games for us, bottling up wins in both. Tampa Bay is going to crowd the net tonight. Thomas is going to need all the help he can get to keep those players away so that he can do his job. The Bruins have to, unequivocably, play as tough and as hard in front of the net as Timmy does and protect him at all costs, especially if they have to endure the penalty kill.
As far as the other end of the ice goes, Patrice Bergeron needs to bring his "A" game. This is also his moment to shine, his moment to show Boston that there was a very good reason for drafting him in 2003. For all intents and purposes, he is the face of the Bruins. And now, more than ever, his play tonight needs to rise above all other Bruins. His skill, his hockey sense, his ability to control the puck and make ordinary plays into great ones is going to be needed. His presence motivates this team. Tonight, his play might possibly be the fulfillment of the expectations the Bruins organization have wanted, both from him and for him - the pivoting factor between goodness and greatness.
Maybe I'm being a bit dramatic. Maybe I'm being a bit too hard on Timmy and Patrice and putting too much pressure on them alone to be The Embodiment of Epiphany that determines the road the Bruins take on this journey through the playoffs. Maybe this story should have been reserved for a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
But this is it folks...one game. One determining game that will bring that possibility of reaching the Stanley Cup Finals into reality. The passion and determination of the entire team is going to be needed, and I don't mean for my words to take anything away from their hard work this year. But tonight, the hopes of all Bruins fans rest on those two players - the most liked and respected players on the team.
For Timmy and Patrice - this is their moment to...well, do I need to repeat it again?
Let's go Bruins. Let's do this.