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PREVIEW: Game Seven!!!!

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The NHL season ends tonight, so you should take as much enjoyment from it as you can!

NHL: Stanley Cup Final-St. Louis Blues at Boston Bruins Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Just the facts

When: Wednesday, June 12; 8:00 PM

Where: TD Garden - Boston, MA

How to follow: TV: NBC, CBC, TVAS, SportsNet; Radio 98.5 The Sports Hub

Rival SBN site: St. Louis Game Time

When the puck dropped on this series, where did you think it would end? Calling either team in a short series was shortsighted confidence. I even had eager predictions for B’s in five. As soon as St. Louis won Game 2, I knew that fan-biased pick wouldn’t hold up. Even with the 2-1 series lead it didn’t translate to dominance in the Cup Finals. Now, having overcome their fifth series deficit this postseason, the moment we’ve all been waiting for has arrived. Game 7.

When not just a seven-game series but entire playoff performances have been whittled down to this small toothpick of a game, it’s difficult to put too much stock in predictions. Physicality, forecheck, controlled zone exits, injuries: both teams have it all. Where St. Louis exceeds Boston in size (and probably some top-end speed as well), the Bruins have made up the measurement deficits - in their wins - with tenacity, poise, and faster decision-making. At this point, it really comes down to who executes better, and whichever team has better foot speed or hand-eye coordination matters not. The series has to have a winner, and we’ll have one on Wednesday night. Or, maybe Thursday morning. Wouldn’t a Finals Game 7 multi-OT affair be a thrill?!

Put yourself in a seat tomorrow night. The Garden would be great, sure; but where’s your bar? Your couch? Your friend’s couch? Are you as far afield as Bruins fans in other time zones? Are you a Blues fan in a black-and-gold city? Who cares. Buckle up. There is nothing better than playoff hockey, and in the next 48 hours, there will be a champion.

If you were looking for keys to a victory for Boston, you should continue to rely on Tuukka Rask being his regular stalwart self, the role he’s played since the start of the postseason. With a rotating defensive corps, he has stood tall and is funneling shots either into his pads or under his glove, if not deflected to the corners. Boston as a team digs the puck loose to start the offensive rush, so we can skip the defense and start discussing the forward group, which has been porous in losses and impenetrable in wins. You can’t really call any of the SCF losses a disaster on scoring or defense - it just tends to balance more evenly between the top teams in the league during the most important games.

Nearly everyone coming to this site leans into Bruins fandom, but truly, diehard fans of either team and casual sports-fans alike can get behind the deadlock that has become this series. The exceedingly-physical NHL playoffs have left two defensive-minded, heavy-checking teams scraping for the last few inches left in the series. Will this be a grind to the finish? Will one of these teams establish early and control the last moments of the ‘18-’19 season?

It’s here. You might as well enjoy it. Just don’t expect to have your sanity intact by Thursday morning.