The Boston Bruins have been here before, several times. As coach Claude Julien noted recently, they don't like to make it easy on themselves.
Playing one grueling seven-game series after the next probably isn't great for the Bruins' bodily health, but it has helped to forge a mental toughness which can only help Boston in Wednesday's night's Game 7 against the Washington Capitals.
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley explained how Boston can benefit from past playoff encounters during an interview on WEEI.
"You can look at the X's and O's and all of the matchups that you're trying to get and, as far as the Bruins are concerned, the elevated play of their top six, but it's all about the control of your emotions," Brickley said. "Fear and guilt are great motivators, and the fear of losing, the fear of going home, you have to be able to channel that fear into something positive. That's where the experience I think starts to come in.
"The Bruins were around for Game 7 losses three years ago, two years ago, and then the three Game 7 wins a year ago. The guys that experienced both sides of that, I think they have a better handle on how to handle the emotional side of that."
"Sure, the fact that you're expected to win -- and I think that's the expectation throughout the whole NHL hockey community is that the Bruins will and should win tonight -- it can be a dangerous thing," Brickley said. "The one thing that I didn't like about this core group, and I'm going back a year-and-a-half now, is that they're not good front-runners. When they were expected to win, they didn't handle it well, but I think their experience a year ago, because they're champions and what they went through at times this year, should help them."
For everything Bruins related, check out Stanley Cup Of Chowder. For more news, analysis, and discussion on Capitals hockey, head to Japers' Rink. You can also head over to the SB Nation NHL hub page for more on hockey news as the playoffs begin.