And so it all comes down to a winner-take-all Game 7 between the Boston Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens.

That’s the way it’s seemingly always supposed to go between the ancient Original Six rivals. The Habs and Bruins will go the distance for the third time in four playoff meetings between the two teams during the seven years since Claude Julien took over the club in 2007-08. They’ve come a long way from that particular edition where the Marco Sturm Face pushed them to a Game 7 in Montreal as scrappy underdogs, but it’s still a part of the current team’s DNA.

It was certainly clear to anybody watching that Montreal was the more desperate team in Game 6 at the Bell Centre. Their postseason lives were on the line in the 4-0 win, so now the Bruins will participate in their ninth Game 7 in the last seven years. It will also be Boston’s ninth Game 7 against Montreal in the long, sordid, sometimes frustrating history between the two organizations, which is the most Game 7 meetings between any two teams in any of the four major professional sports.

“The playoff mentality is always about that next game. That’s all you can worry about it,” said Patrice Bergeron. “It’s about finishing the job, and we know that we need to be better.”

The Big Bad Bruins have a so-so record of .500 in those games during that time span, but they are 3-1 in Game 7’s at home after losing a close-out Game 6 on the road, so there’s some slight reason for optimism in Bruins land. The Bruins never seem to do things the easy way in the playoffs, and that's just who they are.

“For the guys that have been around here for a couple of years it’s the ninth [Game 7] since 2008, so it’s all we’re looking forward to right now," said Milan Lucic, who could not execute on a couple of scoring plays in Game 6. "We’re putting everything else behind us, and we know it’s one game with the winner moving on. You hope that [the experience] does [help]. You know that it’s not going to be easy.

“You work all season-long to get the home ice advantage in situations like this, and now you’ve got to go out and get it. We’ve been a confident group all year long, and we’ve played well in big games. This is the biggest one so far throughout this year, so we’ve got to bring our best when we need it the most. That’s the most important thing.”