Sports Q: How do you divide up the blame for the Bruins’ loss?

Is it fair that Brad Marchand is being scapegoated?

Zach Sanford of the St. Louis Blues is congratulated by his teammates after scoring a third period goal.
Zach Sanford of the St. Louis Blues is congratulated by his teammates after scoring a third period goal. –Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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I’ve been reading and hearing a lot about how Game 7 was pretty much over when the Blues made it 2-0 at the end of the first period. I didn’t feel that way at all. The Bruins had dominated play for most of the period and you figured they’d get one. I don’t think it’s fair either that Brad Marchand is being scapegoated for his play that led to that goal. It was a dumb play, yes, but not the reason they lost. Do you think he deserves the blame he’s getting? – Dave N.

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It’s not the reason they lost, but it’s a big reason, and it certainly felt like a huge development at the time. The worst fears at that moment played out: It was insurmountable.

If the score had been 1-0 after one, no big deal. Annoying, slightly worrisome, but one bounce or nice play and it’s all even again.

That 2-0 lead felt massive. Jordan Binnington had been flopping around like he had a hook in his mouth in the early going, but he stopped everything and you could practically see his confidence meter surging.

The Bruins missed their chances, and the Blues made the most of theirs in the first. (Two goals on four shots? C’mon.)

Marchand’s mistake was a gift that Bruins could not afford to give. Then the Bruins did nothing in the second period – they looked somewhere between lethargic and broken – and the lost opportunities in the first period started looking potentially fatal.

But to actually answer the question, Marchand deserves some blame, sure, but he shouldn’t get the brunt of it, and it’s not necessary to single out one scapegoat.

He wasn’t good. Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci were only occasionally visible. David Pastrnak would have had a half-dozen goals if the nets were set on the east-west sides of the rink rather than north-south. I have a hard time blaming Tuukka Rask for any of this, but the four goals in Game 7 do go on his ledger.

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It was a lousy game for many of the Bruins, and a devastating night for all of them. I covered their loss to the Blackhawks in ’13 and a couple of the Patriots’ Super Bowl losses, and I’ve never seen a more disconsolate locker room. They were crushed, and it was more apparent with Marchand than just about anyone else.

Yeah, he deserves some blame. His poorly timed and executed shift change is not going to be forgotten. It might be the new “too many men on the ice.”

But in the end, the Blues handed defeat to the home team just like the Bruins did to the Canucks eight years ago.

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They beat an excellent Bruins team in large part by neutralizing the players most responsible for getting them there in the first place. They deserved to win.

What does everyone else think? How do you divide up the blame for the Bruins’ loss? I’ll hear you in the comments.

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