If you’re the Boston Bruins, you’re feeling the effects of one hefty gut punch right now.
After erasing two separate two-goal deficits against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 4 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals, Boston couldn’t finish, losing in overtime 6-5. But let’s face it, this was a game the Bruins didn’t deserve to win.
Yes, they deserve all the credit in the world for refusing to quit no matter how bleak things looked. Yes, they had plenty of chances to steal this game late. However, don’t let their gritty comeback blind you to the fact that this was not the Bruins at the top of their game.
For some reason, a lot of people in Boston were assuming, with a 2-1 series lead, this series was pretty much over. Parade routes were being planned, money was being set aside for championship memorabilia, all because the team had a one game edge in the Finals.
Anybody still think this now? More importantly, did the Bruins think this as they took the ice tonight? You’d like to think the answer is no, but you could’ve fooled me with what was put on display early on.
Boston started this game out pretty much as miserably as possible. Zone entries were a joke, puck possession was non-existent and all the while, Chicago was an absolute buzz saw. How the first period ended in a 1-1 tie is a greater mystery than why so many people still buy Nickelback albums. Sure enough, the Blackhawks made the Bruins pay in the second period, establishing leads of 3-1 and 4-2, respectively.
Look, I get it Bruins. You stunned the world in sweeping the Pittsburgh Penguins, it really was quite a feat. But if you intend on assuming every time you take a series lead the opposing team is going to fold like a lawn chair, this is what’s going to happen.
Again, more props than ever for Boston continuing to come back over and over as the night went on. However, this leads me to my next big beef with this game. Why was it that, when the Bruins tied the game at 1-1 and again at 4-4, did they seem to take their foot off the gas?
Apparently, 4-4 is the most comfortable lead in hockey, am I right? At least that’s how it looked for Boston, as they decided the fans being loud again meant the Blackhawks would stop trying.
I will give the team credit, they stopped this after tying it 5-5, but costly errors in overtime sank the ship for the Bruins.
On a night when Corey Crawford‘s glove side was the size of a freeway, Boston just made way too many mistakes. Tyler Seguin‘s soft play of the puck early on lead to Chicago’s first goal. An ill-advised pinch from Dennis Seidenberg resulted in a two-on-one for the Blackhawks that was cashed in on seconds after the Bruins pulled within one. Another brain-blunder by Seidenberg, completely cutting off Tuukka Rask‘s view of the shot, lead to the overtime goal from Brent Seabrook.
Overall, it was a pretty miserable night from Boston’s top defensive pair. Seidenberg was at -2 for the night, while captain Zdeno Chara, who had been playing lights out for over a month, was -3. He was crumpled in or around the crease more times than one would like tonight.
Even though six goals were allowed, it’s tough to fault Rask on this one. He was completely hung out to dry by his team all game. I wouldn’t blame him for tearing into a few people in the locker room.
And so it is; Boston had a chance to choke the life out of Chicago tonight, then took the ice assuming the Blackhawks would just do all the work for them.
Playing all-around solid hockey is the reason the Bruins made it this far in the first place. Deciding not to play solid tonight is the reason Chicago now has all the momentum in this series.