Growing up, every hockey player dreams of being the hero of a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Finals, and tonight, that dream will become a reality for a select few individuals.
The 2011 Stanley Cup Finals has truly been a seesaw battle between two teams who have grown to hate one another, and Wednesday night's Game 7 has all the makings of a classic that will be remembered for years.
Going into Game 7, each team has a handful of players whose performances will likely determine the outcome of the game, and ultimately the series.
Thus far, the player who has had the most obvious impact on the series has either been Tim Thomas or Roberto Luongo, depending on your perspective.
On one hand, Tim Thomas has played like a man on a mission through each of the series' first six games and has been the key behind the Bruins' success. On the other hand, Roberto Luongo has been a major factor in his team's three wins, but also a poster boy for the team's struggles on the road.
Either way, the performances of Luongo and Thomas will undoubtedly be deciding factors on Wednesday night. Beyond the netminders, each team has a couple of skaters who will be leaned upon to come up big, and the outcome of the series will likely hinge on their ability to do so.
With that in mind, here are the six most important players going into Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals.