Recchi, 43, with (maybe) one more game to go
BOSTON — The Bruins were facing elimination in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals, and Mark Recchi knew just how to keep his teammates focused.
The 43-year-old Boston forward brought his Stanley Cup championship ring to TD Garden on Monday night and showed it around the locker room before the game. Then, he went out and assisted on three goals as the Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks, 5-2, to force a decisive Game 7.
"This is what we dream of, right here: Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final," said Recchi, who with Shawn Thornton is one of two Bruins to have his name on the trophy. "Let's go see what we can do."
The former Penguin helped set up Brad Marchand's goal to open the game just 5.5 minutes in, then added another assist on Andrew Ference's goal just three minutes later, and Boston already led 3-0. After Vancouver scored to cut the deficit to 4-1 in the third period, Recchi made a cross-ice pass through the crease and David Krejci put it past backup Cory Schneider to help clinch the victory.
The win kept the Bruins' chances of a championship alive.
It also meant one more game for Recchi, who has said he would retire if Boston wins it all and could call it quits even if they lose.
"It crosses my mind, but I have a job out there to do for the guys and I can't put those thoughts in my head," he said. "I'm going to lay it on the line one more time and see where it takes me after that. No matter what, it's been a great 22 years."
The oldest player in the NHL and No. 4 on the league's all-time list in games played, Recchi is a seven-time All-Star who won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins in his third season and again with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006, his 17th. He considered retiring last summer, but decided to come back to the Bruins and give it one more try.
That decision is paying off — and not just for Recchi, who has moved up the NHL's all-time lists and solidified his Hall-of-Fame credentials.
Recchi's 1,533 career regular-season points put him 12th on the league's all-time scoring list; everyone ahead of him is either in the Toronto shrine or not yet eligible.
It's also working out quite nicely for the Bruins. Recchi has five goals and eight assists in the playoffs, while moving Boston within one game of the championship for the first time since 1972.
"The biggest thing is just embracing it. This is what we dream of," Recchi said. "It's come down to one game. No pressure. Go play. You can't let it grab you. You can't let it bite you."
It was Recchi's 87th career playoff assist, tying him with Brett Hull for 33rd on the NHL's all-time postseason assist list. He has 146 postseason points, passing Ron Francis, Larry Robinson and Chris Chelios to move into a tie at 29th with Mike Modano on the all-time scoring list.
But the number he is aiming at is a third championship.
He's already had the pleasure of holding the Cup.
Now he wants to share it with his teammates.
"Having the opportunity to raise the Cup, I want nothing more than for them to have that feeling," he said. "I want them to feel that; I want them to enjoy it. We all want this for each other. It's special to get to this point, and hopefully we can realize it."
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