Sometimes, the numbers play out just as expected.
Despite winning the President’s Trophy with the league’s best regular season record, and dominating the third period for the past two months with miraculous comebacks, the Bruins were susceptible in the playoffs to the Montreal Canadiens, particularly when the Habs scored first.
In Game 7 Wednesday night, that proved true again. Dale Weise’s first period goal 2:18 into the game proved to be the most pivotal goal of all as the Bruins fell to the Canadiens, 3-1, ending a playoff run that had been filled with much promise. It was the ninth time the Bruins had squared off with the Habs in a Game 7 in 34 playoff series. The Bruins are now 3-6 in those games.
But more importantly, the team that had scored first in this playoff series, won the game, leading the other to play desperate and careless. The Bruins’ play, while appearing anemic at times, was at its worst when behind to Montreal, allowing the Habs to get more chances as the game wore on.
The Canadiens move on to face the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Weise’s goal came just seven seconds slower than Lars Eller’s goal (2:18) in Game 6, which also set the tone for the Canadiens’ win. Weise, just like Eller, was followed by a Max Pacioretty goal in the second period. Pacioretty capitalized on a beautiful pass from David Desharnais, firing a one-timer past Tuukka Rask (15 saves).
Bruins forward Jarome Iginla, ending a scoreless streak that had lasted 103:46 of ice time, tipped in a power play goal past Carey Price (29 saves) on a shot from Torey Krug to get the Bruins on the board in the second period. But a Johnny Boychuk interference call in the third period led to a Canadiens power play goal by Daniel Briere, sealing the Bruins’ fate.
The Bruins ended with a stick salute to the faithful crowd at TD Garden, a disappointing end for a team that went 54-19-9 in the regular season.