By Stu Hackel
It’s Tampa Bay at Boston tonight and the winner gets a trip to Vancouver, where the Canucks await, hoping this Game 7 goes a few overtime periods and the Bruins and Lightning beat each other’s brains out. Could happen. When it comes down to one game, anything can happen.
Will home ice matter for the Bruins? It did when they played Montreal in Game 7 of the opening round, as B’s Coach Claude Julien has mentioned a few times since the end of Game 6 vs. Tampa Bay. On the other hand, the Lightning won a Game 7 on the road in their first round series against Pittsburgh, as their coach, Guy Boucher, has mentioned a few times as well.
The Lightning’s victory over the Penguins is the only Game 7 triumph by a road team so far in this playoff tournament. The home teams have won four times. But last year, visitors took all four Game 7s, and in 2009, road teams won four of six. In the six playoffs since the lockout, home teams have won 11 Game 7s and road teams have won 11. So the most obvious advantage may not be an advantage at all.