You’d think a memorable come-from-behind win in Game 2, one in which the Boston Bruins trailed the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 midway through the third period only to rally and score four unanswered, would really provide a lot of momentum. You’d think heading to the notorious Bell Centre with a tied series thanks such a clutch performance would kick Boston into high gear. You’d honestly think that.
But you’d be dead wrong.
In a game where the Bruins could’ve taken a pivotal lead in their Eastern Conference semifinals series, the team instead decided there was no need to show up until it was too late. As a result, Boston lost 4-2 to Montreal, basically spoon-feeding their rivals a 2-1 series lead.
You can say one thing about this Bruins team, they certainly are a consistent bunch. Once again, Boston decided they felt much more comfortable playing from behind, gift-wrapping a two goal lead for the Canadiens 15 minutes into the game. Of course, if the plan was to erase another Montreal advantage, the plan backfired when Dale Weise skated in on a breakaway and put the home team up 3-0.
The Bruins were able to cut the lead to 3-2, but it was too little, too late. Now, they face the daunting task of stealing a win in one of the toughest arenas in the NHL Thursday night.
If they keep playing like this, there won’t be much drama from here on out. Boston continues to play with fire in this series, and thanks to a Game 2 flurry, they’re lucky to have only been burned twice. Still, the Bruins hardly look like a team many pegged to be a Stanley Cup contender just a few weeks ago.
Yet again, chances came in bunches for Boston. They weren’t as juicy as the ones the team fumbled in the first two games, but they were there, and for the most part, they were blown. Carl Soderberg failed to cash in on a few opportunities up front. Jarome Iginla continued to show how many things he could hit with the puck besides the back of the net. Shots went wide, shots went under the sticks, or they just simply went right at Montreal goalie Carey Price.
Some may be quick to point the finger of blame at Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, but despite letting by three goals, he’s not nearly at as much fault as it looks. The Canadiens first goal was scored simply because neither of the Boston defensemen on the ice thought it would be a good idea to cover a wide open Tomas Plekanec. Minutes later, d-man Dougie Hamilton failed to notice Bruins killer P.K. Subban leaving the penalty box and then proceeding to skate in untouched on a successful breakaway. Weise’s goal was thanks to Boston defenseman Andrej Meszaros doing his best impression of a fence post and letting the Habs winger go right past him.
It all makes for quite a perfect transition into one of the Bruins biggest red flags: bad defense. The drawbacks of losing Dennis Seidenberg for the season have never looked so apparent than in this series. The younger blue-liners looked rattled during their first experience in front of a hostile Montreal crowd, while Meszaros was ineffective to say the least. If Boston loses this series, you can be sure GM Peter Chiarelli‘s inability to fill the hole left by Seidenberg at the trade deadline will be brought up all summer long.
This latest loss puts the Bruins in an unenviable position. The Boston team everyone saw during the regular season, the one which won a President’s Trophy and looked dominant more often than not, could very well turn this situation around. However, the Bruins who’ve been showing up lately would rather be fancy than effective. They love handing out leads like lottery tickets, and only show up after they paint themselves into a corner.
Those Bruins are going home soon if they can’t get their act together.