THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
Dan Shaughnessy

This could translate into something you hate to see

By Dan Shaughnessy
Globe Columnist / April 15, 2011

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Our nerves are frayed. Our patience is running out. Hated rivals are beating up on Boston.

Lakers, Jets, Yankees, now the Montreal Canadiens. How much more can we stand?

Seeds of discontent were planted on Causeway Street last May when the Bruins came home for Game 7 of their second-round series against the Flyers and lost, 4-3, after leading 3-0. You might remember that as the same series the Bruins led, three games to zero.

Since that fateful night, we have seen the Lakers beat the Celtics in Game 7 of the NBA Finals (a game the Celtics led by 13 points). We have seen the Rex Ryan Jets humble the 14-2 Patriots in a playoff game at Gillette Stadium. We have seen the Red Sox miss the playoffs for the second time in eight years, appear to vault over the Yankees during an expensive winter, only to fall five games behind the Bronx Bombers in a thus-far miserable season.

And now the Bruins are playing their Original Six nemeses in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the 33d time since 1929 and we are worried about a great depression. The favored Bruins lost Game 1 last night, 2-0.

Frustration. It’s called Bruins.

This is simply unacceptable. The Bruins got us into this mess and it’s up to them to stop the bleeding around here. It’s not like we’re expecting Daisuke Matsuzaka or Jermaine O’Neal to turn the beat around. It’s up to the Bruins. They need to skate back to the Stanley Cup finals. Losing to the Canadiens in the first round is simply not an option.

One game doesn’t wrap up any series, but it’s disturbing to see the Bruins fall behind at home right out of the gate. Everyone in Black and Gold now has to live with a couple of days of hysteria.

Zero goals. After all this?

“We had some great opportunities, we just didn’t capitalize,’’ said ever-flatline Claude “Grady’’ Julien. “We were all around the net, but we weren’t in front of the net . . . I thought we dominated a good part of the game.’’

Ouch. Sometimes we wonder if the Bruins bosses have a read on the pulse of the constituency.

Prior to last night’s game, general manager Peter Chiarelli went on the team’s flagship radio station (98.5 The Sports Hub), acknowledged the common refrain that his team needs to advance past the second round, and said, “I don’t necessarily think that’s the case.’’ He went on to make comments about consistent effort and other stuff, but the takeaway remark was already out of the barn.

Chiarelli says he doesn’t want to draw a line in the sand. Too bad. Bruins fans are toeing that line and anything less than the conference finals will have the loyals calling for the scalps of Chiarelli and Julien.

“We can’t get too frustrated,’’ said veteran Tomas Kaberle, who coughed up the first goal, while playing his first playoff game in seven years. “We have to stay patient.’’

Patience. That’s exactly what fans don’t want to hear at this hour. Bruins fans have been patient for 39 years.

A forgiving lot for sure, the Bruins crowd came to play and shook the rafters when Rene Rancourt wrapped up “The Star-Spangled Banner.’’ By the end of the night, Boston fans were booing with gusto. Zero goals will do that.

The dastardly Canadiens got the jump in the third minute of play on a goal by Brian Gionta, a former Boston College guy and Hobey Baker finalist who had some great moments here in the Beanpot. Gionta’s potted puck was the sad result of a sloppy pass by Kaberle.

If Bill Belichick had been asked about it, he would have said, “That’s not what we were looking for.’’

The Bruins played pretty well for the rest of the first two periods (some would say they “dominated’’), outshooting Montreal, 26-14, over the first 40 minutes. Unfortunately, Carey Price had a spectacular night. Price didn’t seem to have been traumatized by the 7-0 thumping here last month when he was pulled in the third period.

The goals came easily for the Bruins that night. They were even able to score in a three-on-five situation.

Nothing was easy last night. The Canadiens are deadly when they have a lead. With three minutes to play, Milan Lucic made a bad play and old friend Gionta capitalized again.

Lights out. Party over. It was Price’s third playoff shutout. It marked the 52d time that the Bruins were blanked in the playoffs.

“Mistakes are going to happen,’’ said Lucic. “I can’t let that get to me. I can’t let that affect my play.

“Obviously, you want to get off to a good start, but it’s four wins. Look at last year. We learned a lot. We were up, 3-0.’’

Yes. We remember. And your Bruins have been outscored, 6-0, on their ice in their last five-plus periods of playoff hockey.

“Saturday is definitely a must-win to try to get the split,’’ said Lucic.

Whoa. One game down and the Bruins are in a must-win situation. Good thing nobody around here is prone to panic.

Lakers, Jets, Yankees, now the Canadiens.

What’s next? Something really impossible like the Celtics losing to the Knicks?

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at dshaughnessy@globe.com.

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