BOSTON (AP) — There won’t be a third championship parade through the Back Bay, and it seems so long ago that people in the city were dreaming of a Boston Slam.
After back-to-back wins by the Red Sox and the Patriots, the never-satisfied fans in this town coveted a chance to sweep the major sports prizes. But the Celtics didn’t cooperate and, on Wednesday night, the Bruins fell one game short of winning the city’s 13th title since 2002.
To get back again, the Bruins have some decisions to make.
Most of the core is signed, including goalies Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak, captain Zdeno Chara and top forwards Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, David Pastrnak, and Brad Marchand.
Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, and Danton Heinen are all restricted free agents. Marcus Johansson, Noel Acciari, and Steven Kampfer are free to test the unrestricted market.
Forward David Backes, who is owed $12 million over the next two seasons, is 35 and was a healthy scratch for much of the series against St. Louis and could be a candidate for a buyout.
Chara, who is 42, said he thinks the team has a chance to make another long playoff run.
“We just came short,” he said. “Sometimes those downs make you stronger, and I believe this team still has potential to get back to the final and get it done.”
But the Bruins also understand that nothing is certain.
“There are guys that this could have been our last shot,” Bergeron said. “This stings even more.”