The Boston Bruins are an Original Six NHL team with a history reaching back to 1924. But in all those decades since there's one thing the storied franchise has never had a chance to do: Play a winner take all Game 7 for a chance to win the Stanley Cup on their own home ice.
That's what will happen Wednesday night following the Bruins 5-1 win against the St. Louis Blues in game six of the Stanley Cup finals last night, a game in which the Blues could have won their first ever Stanley Cup at home, but for the continued brilliant net-minding of Boston's Tuukka Rask.
Rask made 28 saves in all, and weathered a massive push from the Blues in the first period, with a packed house of rabid fans, TV and movie stars in attendance all anticipating the Cup being raised by the team in home dark blue.
But Rask turned away every Blues shot until late in the game, and by then the Bruins had built up a 3-0 lead, kicked off by Brad Marchand's strike during a five on three power play, converting a one-timer off a feed from Torey Krug.
The game stayed tensely locked at 1-0 until the third when Boston blue liner Brandon Carlo flipped a wobbly puck toward the net that bounced like a knuckleball in front of Blues goalie Jordan Binnington, the puck sneaking in behind him for a soft and quirky goal that lends credence to former Blue Wayne Gretzky's line that 100% of the shots you don't take don't go in the net.
And Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy may have finally found the right wingman to get second line center David Krejci going. The veteran Czech Republic center had been held without a point in the finals until he flipped a little backhand pass inside the blue line to rookie Karson Kuhlman, who then whipped a wicked wrister just inside the post past Binnington.
Ryan O'Reilly scored for the Blues to make it 3-1 with less then ten minutes to go, but David Pastrnak scored shortly after and captain Zdeno Chara added an empty netter for the 5-1 final.
So for the first time ever the Bruins will host a Game 7 for the right to hoist the Stanley Cup. I picked the Bruins to win this series in seven before it started and I'm not about to change that tune now, but I'm expecting also an emotional roller coaster ride on Wednesday night.
The news isn't nearly as bright on the Boston baseball front. The Red Sox lost 6-1 to the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway yesterday. Eduardo Rodriguez took the loss, Blake Snell got the win. Brandon Lowe hit two long solo home runs, and the Rays took three out of four from Boston in the homestand, which continues against the Texas Rangers tonight.
Red Sox fans are also worried about the condition of the franchise's greatest clutch hitter of all time, David Ortiz, who was shot in the back while at a club in his native Dominican Republic. The 43-year old Ortiz is said to be in stable condition following surgery, and an arrest has been made in connection with the shooting.
The NY Yankees coughed up a 5-0 lead against the Cleveland Indians, but still notched a 7-6 victory when Aaron Hicks hit a go-ahead RBI double in the 10th.
The Yank had a 6-5 lead going into the bottom of the 9th but Didi Gregorius made an error on an easy ground ball, and closer Aroldis Chapman couldn't, allowing Cleveland to tie, but after Hicks came through in the tenth, the save and win was nailed down by Stephen Tarpley, who struck out the side. Tarpley had been called up to replace injured starter Domingo German, as the Yankees continue to win despite a spate of injuries up and down their line up.
Noah Syndergaard allowed one hit over seven shutout innings, Todd Frazier homered and drove in four runs, and the Mets beat the Colorado Rockies 6-1 in advance of their Subway series against the Yankees, which starts in the Bronx tonight.
The talk of the women's world cup of soccer so far is Italy's opening round 2-1 upset victory over heavily favored Australia in group play. The U.S. opens its cup title defense tomorrow against Thailand.