Players and coaches rejoiced at Game 7 on Saturday


Winners advance, losers start scheduling tee times.

This is the game everyone wants to play. There is no such thing as a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Three series will end with a do-or-die game Saturday: The Boston Bruins are in the Carolinas to face the Hurricanes (4:30 p.m. ET on Sportsnet 360), and the Toronto Maple Leafs look to rock the Game 7 Devils at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning (7:00 PM ET on Sportsnet) The Edmonton Oilers are looking to eliminate the Los Angels Kings (9:45 PM ET on Sportsnet).

Here’s what the players and coaches have to say about the two best words in sport:

Bruins vs Hurricanes

This is far from being Patrice Bergeron’s first rodeo. The veteran central player will play his 17th game but won’t take anything for granted.

“I think you should enjoy it, that’s why you play the game and that’s the most important thing about it is trying to enjoy the moment and make the most of it,” Bergeron said. “Obviously, adrenaline and energy, everything is always up but it’s still said to be hockey.”

Both teams were able to protect the ice at home in the series and the Bruins know they’ll need to break the loop at Raleigh on Saturday afternoon to survive.

“We need to win one game down the road,” Bruins coach said Bruce Cassidy. “We need a level of urgency, but you try not to talk about a do-or-die mentality. What do we have to do to win the match, and what have we done well? [Thursday night] To help us win the match, and that’s how we’ll handle it [Saturday].

“I think players, a lot of them have gone through different levels of hockey. They know what’s at stake. I definitely don’t have to bring that to their attention.”

The Canes have been 5-0 in the Game 7s since moving to North Carolina from Hartford in 1997. Despite this, coach Rod Brind’Amour said his team is excited about the game but has kept their focus on the three (or more) periods of hockey ahead of them.

“You have to play your best, you won’t win a game of 7 unless you play your best,” He said. “There’s nothing different in the game, obviously if you don’t win the title, you’re done but nothing has changed.”

“All that matters is that everything is much more important.”

Maple Leafs vs. Lightning

Where were you on April 20, 2004?

The Maple Leafs are brimming with talent, but will they win their first playoff series in 18 years? Lightning fell into one of the toughest first-round streaks in the playoffs this year, but will she take another step toward her first three Stanley Cup games since Mike Posey and the 1983 New York Islanders?

One thing is for sure: Maple Leafs vs. Lightning Game 7 has the potential to be one of the top-level breakout games of the year. For Lightning coach Jon Cooper, it’s simply “a TV must-have.”


William Nylander said it’s an exciting moment for the Leafs to be able to play another 7 game at home. A year after losing to the Montreal Canadiens in the first round, Nylander added that they had grown and ready to face the two-time defending champion for the seventh time.

“We learned from them and we don’t think about those tonight, we focus on them [Saturday]”

“I think we came out a little bit in these games, maybe a little afraid of losing. We don’t need to be afraid of losing. We have a great team and the best team will win.”

Oilers vs. Kings

The Oilers are also in the house and will lock in the triple header by trying to finish a tough streak against the Kings.

On Friday, Jay Woodcroft praised the support not only of the Oilers fan base but “with the support of our city, we feel the support of most of Alberta. Most of the province.”

During Saturday’s pre-match availability, Woodcroft also mirrored the “privilege” of playing Game 7 at Rogers Place.

“We think it’s a privilege to play for our fan base,” he said. “We think it is a great honor to be a proud Canadian franchisee and we are excited about the opportunity to win a game here on ice here on our own soil.”

The Oilers faced elimination in Game 6 but rallied to a 4-2 victory at the Arena to force Game 7 in Edmonton. Despite the sheer size, it’s just another do-or-die game by Conor McDavid.

“It doesn’t look much different than a normal match day,” he added. “Obviously it’s a big game for our group and a death match again, which is something we just had in Los Angeles.”

“It’s something we are comfortable with and we are looking for a big match.”

The best part of this trilogy for the 7s game? We have two more to follow on Sunday as the Pittsburgh Penguins face the New York Rangers and Calgary Flames host the Dallas Stars.

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