That Boston Bruins 6-5 loss to the Montreal Canadiens was pretty much the most unbelievably frustrating and gutting loss to watch this entire season–namely because, despite being down by two goals and clamoring back in, the team flubbed big time at the most important moments and watched their hard work disappear in that most crushing of winning solutions: the extra rounds of the shootout, the sudden death to end all sudden deaths.
Once again, they failed to have a good start in a pretty important game. You know, a game against their archrival with first place in the Northeast Division on the line. Yeah, those are some high stakes, but you wouldn’t know it by the way Boston played right out the gate. Then, of course, they gave up that first goal to none other than former Bruin Michael Ryder. A halfhearted fight between Gregory Campbell and Travis Moen tried to rustle some life into the sluggish home team, but they’d have to go down two goals before they finally started to look like they actually came to the game.
When PK Subban put Montreal up 2-0, that is when good things started to happen and Boston played its best stretch of hockey through this game. Unfortunately, the first Bruin to score and break the shutout was Dougie Hamilton. The Bruins have lost every game he’s scored in, so that didn’t portend well. But when Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron (on the power play) and Nathan Horton all piled on goals to make it 4-2, Bruins fans dared to dream.
Then came the third period, which has so often been their undoing because the days of the strong third period Bruins are dead now. Ryder scored again, Tyler Seguin struck to increase the home team’s lead but they couldn’t keep it, of course. Brendan Gallagher made it a one-goal game and then the most useless of all the penalties bit the Bruins hard. Aaron Johnson (has he done anything useful yet for the team?) got called for delay of game as the period dwindled and Andrei Markov opened the present given to his team, tying it up with just eight seconds left to play in regulation. Eight seconds! It was perhaps an even bigger collapse than the various other blown leads the Bruins have released into the sky like so many deflated balloons this season.
When given a power play chance at the end of overtime, what did the Bruins do? Waste it by just standing there, bleeding the clock, only occasionally taking a shot. A crucial offensive zone faceoff with just seconds to go and Bergeron, the league’s best faceoff man, ready to go? Better send out Campbell to take the draw!
It’s like they wanted a shootout, though they then failed spectacularly in that tiebreaker, aiming for the crest on Peter Budaj‘s chest because that’s how to score a shootout goal now.
I fail to see how Jarome Iginla could possibly come in as some sort of messianic figure and single-handedly solve all the problems still plaguing this team, especially considering he’s a forward and many of the issues right now come from the blueline. Of course, who knows if Boston’s really making a big play for him or not? It’s all just whispers and speculation right now.
Sure, there’s an injury problem decimating the defense (Johnny Boychuk was placed on injured reserve, by the way), but even the still-healthy defensemen aren’t always so great. Yes, that goes especially for Andrew Ference, who’s making a great case for not getting a new contract this summer.
Who knows what Bruins team will show up for back-to-back games this weekend against the Philadelphia Flyers and Buffalo Sabres. If the one that showed up for just the second period tonight could somehow play for all six periods this weekend, that would be great. But it probably won’t happen.