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May 27, 2011

Bourque to B's: Create identity tonight

Other than spending their long and illustrious Hall of Fame careers playing here in Boston for the Bruins and Celtics, respectively, you might not think to link Ray Bourque and Bill Russell together.

Bourque is a native of Montreal. Russell is a native of San Francisco.

Bourque is 50. Russell is 77.

Bourque won one Stanley Cup championship with the Colorado Avalanche, never winning a title in Boston. Russell, who might be the greatest winner of them all, copped 11 championships here.

But the Boston sports legends have something else in common, something that correlates to what is happening tonight when the Bruins face the Tampa Bay Lightning.

They were money when it was time to play Game 7.

Russell never lost a Game 7. Never. His Celtics were 10-0 when it was do or die, a record that can't be broken.

Bourque, believe it or not, isn't that far behind. In fact, when Bourque played for the Bruins in a Game 7, which happened six times, the Bruins won them all.

Bourque's Avs lost one Game 7 after he was traded there in 1999, but a year later, the Avs won two seventh games, including the memorable Stanley Cup clincher over the New Jersey Devils.

"Yes, I remember that one a little bit," said Bourque with a chuckle.

While the record shows that the Bruins lost a seventh game in the 1982 playoffs against Quebec during Bourque's tenure here, he has an alibi. He was in the press box wearing a cast for that one.

"That was tough to watch," he recalled. "It was early in the series and I was trying to go by (Andre) Dupont and he hip-checked me. I slammed my wrist. It was broken."

Seriously, though, Bourque is a quintessential expert on this subject.

In fact, the subject makes his a little giddy with excitement.

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