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stanley cup finals


In the hours before they face the fight of their hockey lives, the last thing the Boston Bruins will be thinking about is what happens if they should lose to the Vancouver Canucks.

"Guys will have clear heads. You have to," Bruins defenceman Andrew Ference said after Monday's morning skate. "If you think too much about the circumstances that you're in, or the consequences of them, you're done before you start."

It may be human nature to sit and think how awful a loss to the Canucks in the sixth game of the Stanley Cup final would be - not only the end of the Bruins NHL season but an ending with the hated Canucks celebrating their championship in the Bruins' building - but Ference insists it is not hard to brush such thoughts aside. And once he and his teammates are on the ice, in what will surely be a cauldron of sound created by 18,000 or so Bruins fanatics, the pressure will be even easier to escape.

"Really," Ference said, "you're quietest moments are on the ice."

No one, he added, should get caught up in the other side of such a situation, putting pressure on himself to be the hero. You do what you are capable of, what the team expected of you all season. If everyone does that, things will work out.

"The whole thing is just to meet the bar, meet the expectations," Ference said. "You don't have to go out there and exceed everything that you've done before. Just play as you have. That's all that can be asked."

Any thoughts about what lies ahead are confined to the happy side of the equation.

"It's never about someone else winning it," Ference said. "It's always you winning it."

Besides, in a strange way maybe there is more pressure on the Canucks. They can lose and still live to win the Cup in the seventh and deciding game of the series but the franchise has never won a championship in its 41-year history and its fans are a passionate yet angst-filled lot.

Bruins forward Milan Lucic thinks there may be something to that. He should know, since he grew up in East Vancouver.

"It's definitely a different mindset with what they're going through and what we're going through," he said. "We're fighting to live another day. They're fighting to win tonight.

"I know Vancouver and people from British Columbia want the Cup in Vancouver. We're going to do whatever we can to stop that from happening tonight."

Lucic was not surprised at the scenes of thousands of Vancouver hockey fans filling the streets during and after each game of this year's final. The memories of the Canucks' only other trip to the Stanley Cup final, in 1994, are still with him.

"I can remember," he said. "I was only six years old, but still you remember as a kid when they played in '94 and how crazy it was for that team to do what they did.

"Obviously, no matter which Canadian team is in the finals, it's always going to be like that. The city is excited, and I'm not surprised that it is the way that it is."