Game 7 isn’t pretty.
The “ultimate in sports” is the “ultimate in back-up plans” for the Boston Bruins, a team that somehow got lost on the way to the Bell Center in Montreal Monday night. We could go on and on here about how the Canadiens outhustled, overmatched, and defensively shut Boston down in their 4-0 win, but the truth of the matter is, Game 6 boiled down to this: The Bruins sucked.
One “S,” one “U,” and a “CKED.”
There’s really too much blame to even distribute in time for Wednesday’s deciding game in this Eastern Conference semifinal series. Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller’s atrocious decision-making from behind the net gave Lars Eller and the Canadiens a first-period, 1-0 lead that they never looked back from. Mian Lucic still can’t hit an open net. Tuukka Rask looked like Han Solo, frozen in carbonite, as Max Pacioretty used a Bruins blunder to his team’s advantage while Zdeno Chara was nice enough to escort his old pal straight to the net. David Krejci - zero goals this entire postseason - told Pierre McGuire he was going to finally score in Monday night’s game. David Krejci took three shots on net all night.
So, for the first time since last year’s series against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Claude Julien’s Bruins are headed to a Game 7, an epidemic that is an all-too-common outcome when they’re forced to play a Game 6. The Bruins are now 0-5 under Julien in Game 6 situations on the road, a stat that speaks to some level of possessing the fail-safe of home-ice advantage comfort. It certainly looked that way Monday night as the Bruins seemed comfortable with letting the Game 7 fates decide things at home rather than try to match the desperation of the Canadiens. Aside from a fantastic flurry of hockey in the second period, the Bruins looked disinterested and lost the entire night. Laissez -faire.
That’s on the coach, the same coach who preached earlier in the day how the Bruins had to match the win-or-stay home attitude of the Canadiens in Game 6. Whoops.
The only thing that spoke desperation about the Bruins was their desire to get out of there. But hey, neat, a Game 7. Maybe this could all be avoided if Lucic had a little more…well, I’m not sure there’s really an explanation for why he missed a net that was 90 percent vacated by goalie Carey Price, but hey, what he worry, right?
"Well, I mean, we capitalize on our chance there, it's a different game, but we're not frustrated with what happened here today," Lucic said. "We were able to establish some pretty good zone time and stuff like that, and not more to talk about than looking forward to a Game 7.”
Wait, back up.
“…we're not frustrated with what happened here today.”
“…we’re not frustrated with what happened here today.”
One more time?
“…we’re not frustrated with what happened here today.”
Oh, for a moment there it seemed like Lucic said he wasn’t frustrated with what happened in Montreal. Whew, that would have been odd.
This was a Game 7 nobody in Black and Gold wanted. Or so we thought. Based on the Bruins’ performances as a whole Monday night, maybe they were just being nice enough mood to grant Dan Shaughnessy’s wish for the pageantry of winner-take-all. Instead of sitting back Tuesday night and waiting to see whether they would be facing the Penguins or Rangers, playing in their own Game 7, Boston has its back to the wall, when it should have taken care of business in six. Again.
Expectations for Wednesday?
“I expect us to win,” Julien said.
That’s cool and all, but a lot of others expected the same Monday.
Julien’s teams seem to rely, nay, revel in second chances, “juicy rebounds” as Jack Edwards would say. That doesn’t apply here. The Bruins aren’t getting a second shot at closing out the Canadiens in Game 7. They never showed up for Game 6 in the first place. They backed into this situation thanks to a grand combination of mental errors, choking in the moment of it all, and carrying an attitude like Lucic seemed to present. “Meh, didn’t need this one anyway. When's the flight?"
"Can't dwell on anything going into a Game 7," Lucic said. "For guys that have been around here for a couple years, this is the ninth one since 2008, so it's all we're looking forward to right now. We're putting everything else behind us. We know one game, winner moves on."
We’ll say this for Lucic. He did his homework. Nine Game 7’s since 2008. This is old hat.
"Obviously, we've been in that situation before and we've got to approach it like any other game, but be really desperate and play our kind of hockey,” Rask said.
For the most part over the same six-year stretch, Game 7 has been kind to the Bruins. Toronto. Vancouver. Tampa Bay. Montreal (2011). There have also been Washington, Carolina, Montreal (2008), and Philadelphia, the worst Game 7 the Bruins were forced to play in the modern era.
Game 7 at home? Boston will take its chances for sure.
But they should no doubt arrive at the office with a little Dante Hicks in them on Wednesday. They weren’t even supposed to be there.
But don't worry. The Bruins don't seem frustrated about it , even if they did have a chance to avoid the potential disaster of a Game. 7 Hey, just because many opined it would go seven didn't mean it had to go seven.
It isn't pretty, but nobody will be complaining if they're still playing hockey on Saturday. If it's the Habs who have that privilege, Bruins fans can blame Game 6, a disastrous effort in which Boston gagged over the entirety of the Montreal ice.
Yeah, bring on Game 7. We could use a good migraine .
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