Well that was the complete opposite of everything that needed to happen for the Boston Bruins. Up 3-1 on the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Bruins looked absolutely miserable for the majority of their closeout game on home ice, losing 2-1. Here are some observations.
Did anyone tell Boston they could eliminate Toronto tonight?
If so, you could’ve fooled me. With a chance to finish out the series and gain a few extra days rest, the Bruins came out flat, uninspired, and looking like a complete mess.
Goalie Tuukka Rask was fighting for his life within minutes of the start of Game 5, getting peppered with 19 shots. Offensively, Boston couldn’t generate anything. After trapping the Maple Leafs in their own zone during the opening minute, it seemed like forever before the Bruins pulled off a legitimate scoring chance.
Anyone looking for a 60 minute highlight of Boston’s regular season just saw it in Game 5. Only generating a rally when it was too little, too late, the Bruins just plain didn’t look like a team with all of the momentum in a playoff series.
Speaking of which, Toronto has all the momentum now.
Sure, the Bruins still lead the series 3-2, but look at how Toronto scored tonight.
The first goal was short-handed, as Tyler Bozak took advantage of sloppy puck play from Andrew Ference and scored on a breakaway. Minutes into the third period, Boston donated another puck to the Maple Leafs charity fund and Clarke MacArthur put Toronto up 2-0.
Oh, and Toronto goalie James Reimer, who’s looked shaky for most of this series, stopped 43 of 44 shots faced.
It doesn’t matter who has the lead in this series, the Maple Leafs have the edge now. They’ll return home Sunday night for Game 6 to an arena full of fans dying to get into Boston’s head.
With nights like tonight, it won’t be too difficult of a task.
The only stat Boston’s second line can generate is time on ice.
Enough is enough. There is too much talent on the Bruins’ second line to be performing this poorly. Let’s take a look at their stats, shall we?
Patrice Bergeron has one goal in five games with no assists to his name. Brad Marchand is the line’s top performer with a whopping two assists.
Saving the best for last, Tyler Seguin is taking snake-bitten to a whole new level. Zero goals, zero assists, for zero points. His stat line looks like Bluto Blutarsky’s GPA in “Animal House.”
This is Boston’s skill line in case you were wondering, but the only thing they seem to be skilled at is doing incredible impressions of ghosts on skates.
The Bruins cannot afford for this line to play so miserably. Bergeron is winning faceoffs, but that’s about it. Seguin is looking really good at missing every opportunity he gets. And I’m told Marchand hasn’t been a healthy scratch this entire series, despite evidence proving otherwise.
If Boston still thinks they can move on to the next round, they won’t last long if this line continues to struggle.
Should we already pencil in Game 7?
Not trying to be pessimistic, just realistic. Since joining the Bruins in 2007, coach Claude Julien has seen ten different playoff series. Of those ten, only three were decided in less than seven games.
For some reason, Boston just doesn’t feel the need to close out teams when they have the chance, and it’s playing with fire to the worst degree.
The worst thing you could hear from any Bruins player tonight is something along the lines of , “Well, we still have two more chances to close them out, so the ball is still in our court.”
Boston can’t play this way because we saw tonight how they come out when given the opportunity to finish off the Leafs.
The Bruins have to play as if they’re the desperate team, not Toronto. Forget home ice; if Boston comes back home Monday night to play a Game 7, they will have absolutely no momentum in front of a crowd that will start looking towards the exits the second Toronto takes the lead. This is what happens when you approach these situations casually.
Earlier today I said we’d find out tonight just who the real Bruins were. Even though they leave tonight up 3-2 on Toronto, this Boston team is tough to believe in right now.