Here it is folks. Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Win, or go home.
The story lines are endless:
Good vs. Evil. Thomas vs. Luongo. Sedin's vs. Marchand. I can go on forever.
From Burrow's bite to Horton's concussion, all the way to Roberto Luongo's famous "pump my tires" press conference, this series certainly hasn't lacked flair.
Normally, the glitz and glamour of the postseason is assigned to superstar goal scorer's like the Sedin twins, or the relentless Ryan Kesler. This time, the fame was reserved for a 37-year-old goaltender named Timmy Thomas. What he has done this series is bordering on record breaking, and he is almost unanimously regarded as the eventual Conn Smythe Stanley Cup MVP award winner (whether the Bruins win or lose tonight), barring a total collapse in Game 7.
Tonight's game is going to be dirty, fast, and extremely hard fought by both teams. Whoever wins the Cup will not only transform a fan-base, but an entire city.
Ryan Kesler said it best: "If we win tomorrow, we become legends."
Here are five reasons why the Bruins will become legends.
The entire City of Boston has rallied behind these Bruins.
Unlike Vancouver, Boston fans have other things to worry about besides hockey. This Bruins team, this group of players has reunited Boston with one of its favorite past times.
Game 6 in Boston was probably the loudest the new TD Garden has ever been. Louder than Celtics-Lakers, louder than Lady GaGa.
The whole place erupted.
It was like the fans were just waiting their whole lives for it, for another chance at a Cup, and this was it. An elimination game.
Do or die.
With a raucous crowd on their side, the Bruins destroyed the Canucks with a record breaking barrage of goals in only a short period of time in the first period. Once Roberto Luongo, or as he is now known around here "LuBrongo" (because he chokes like LeBron), was pulled, the Garden faithful wasted no time serenading him with mocking chants of "LuONNNNN-Gooo, LuONNNNN-Gooo, LuONNNNN-Gooo."
It was simply magical. The Bruins finished the game with a 5-2 victory, and head into Vancouver with a world's worth of confidence. Unlike Daniel Sedin, who guaranteed a victory tonight, the Bruins are going to let their play do the talking.
And with a whole city behind them, the Bruins will have to deliver for their fans.
After a beyond miserable Game 1 in which he couldn't do anything right, David Krejci has responded in a strong way with six points in his last five games.
Probably the Bruins most important offensive player, Krejci must have a big game tonight. So far, he has been up to the task, no reason to think he will fall short now.
As for Marchand, what has he not done?
He has been a scoring machine, an instigator, a pest and most importantly, the Bruins are 3-0 in games which he scores.
One of the most confounding stats in this series is Marchand's lines from the three Bruins victories:
Three goals, one assist, 20 penalty minutes.
Yes, 20 penalty minutes. Standing at 5'9" (and that is being generous), Marchand has probably been the most aggressive Bruin this series. He somehow always ends up in the middle of a skirmish, he almost always backs up his trash-talk.
I expect him to have a gigantic impact tonight.
These two beasts have done what no other defensive tandem has been able to do—shut down Vancouver's first line.
With Ryan Kesler, along with Daniel and Henrik Sedin, the Canucks first line forms one of the most lethal scoring lines in the NHL.
This series? Two goals scored combined.
That, my friends, is what we call defense.
Side note: Dennis Seidenberg is quietly having an amazing finals. He really has picked up the slack for Chara a few times, and has made very few mistakes. Terrific job by him.
After Aaron Rome's disgusting cheap shot gave Horton a concussion, the Bruins were devastated.
Here he was, a rookie, playing unbelievably well, and he gets knocked out in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup.
But the Bruins didn't let it break them. Unlike the Celtics, who fell apart in Game 6 (in 2010) after Kendrick Perkins tore his ACL, the Bruins instead rallied around their injured brother.
Since his injury, the Bruins have outscored the Nucks' 17-4. Total evisceration.
If you don't think knocking out Horton had an effect on the series, watch this video.
Once you are done wiping the tears off your face, take a long hard look in the mirror and ask yourself: "Can I root for Vancouver? Rooting for the Canucks is like rooting for evil, right?"
The answer? Yes. Of course it is. The Bruins are good, the Canucks are evil. Plain and simple.
Thomas and Chara will once again celebrate tonight.
Having one of the greatest Finals run in NHL history, Thomas is almost single-handedly destroying Vancouver's championship aspirations.
You have seen all the numbers. You have read all the articles. You know his journey.
Unlike LuBrongo, Timmy Thomas will let his play do the talking.
1) Bruins win 2-0
2) Tim Thomas wins Conn Smythe Trophy
3) Boston explodes after the final horn is sounded. Your Boston Bruins are World Champions!
By the way, watch this video if you want to get totally pumped up for the game. Inspiring.