The Boston Bruins beat the Montreal Canadiens in almost every stat in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. They outshot Montreal by a mile, outhit them, outdueled them in face offs and overall had more scoring chances than their rivals. At the end of the long, grueling night, almost every stat leaned in favor of Boston.
Except one. Montreal held the edge on the scoreboard, and that’s all that counts at the end of the game.
The Canadiens 4-3 Game 1 victory is one in which they defied all of the stats, held their own despite being outplayed for long sequences and pulled out a much-needed victory at the TD Garden. Goalie Carey Price deserves a ton of credit, stopping 48 of 51 shots on the night.
For the Bruins, though, they should certainly be kicking themselves this morning. There were opportunities galore that they, for some reason or another, just couldn’t cash in on.
Defenseman Torey Krug had Price down and out in the first period, but hesitated way too long, eventually losing the puck and failing to get a shot off despite getting a quality look. Jarome Iginla grabbed a rebound during a Boston power play, and with a gaping net in front of him, missed wide right. David Krejci had two separate chances driving in on Price all alone, but was stopped on both.
These were just a few openings the Bruins failed to convert. At the end of the night, had they potted even half of their missed chances, the score would’ve been 7-3. It was that frustrating of a night for Boston. All due credit, the Bruins were able to rally twice, tying the score after being down 2-0 and 3-2, respectively. But when the final buzzer sounds and you don’t have the edge on the scoreboard, all other stats are just footnotes.
For all intents and purposes, Boston has nothing to be ashamed of in terms of their play last night. As mentioned, they did push the pace on time of possession, scoring chances and shots. If they bring this kind of effort to the ice on a nightly basis, the puck luck will eventually fall their way.
However, they can’t fumble as many chances as they did last night. At times, it appeared the Bruins were looking for the extra pass, one more deke or just another second to put a shot on net. Whether it was general hesitation or a desire to end up on a highlight reel, it can’t happen. When an opening like any of the numerous ones they missed comes up like that, there can be no second guessing. Put the puck on net.
It’s just one game, so there’s no need to panic at the moment. If Boston wants to even this series up tomorrow afternoon, they need to bring the same approach they showed last night. There was plenty of evidence that this playing style will generate opportunities. Only this time, when they come around, the Bruins need to cash in. Otherwise, things might get grim in a hurry.