It seems like every time the Bruins look to have regained control of the series, they follow it up with some absolutely sloppy hockey. It was the case in Game 3, and even more so tonight as they gave Montreal one of the easiest wins they could ever ask for. During a night where Boston could’ve sent the Canadiens home for good, where the team had a chance to give themselves some much needed rest before beginning the conference finals, the Bruins instead decided not to show up at all.
As a result, Boston displayed the kind of play that dominated Games 1 through 3. They were able to create chances throughout the game, but were never able to cash in. Open nets were missed while pucks were fumbled left and right. And just like the aforementioned games, any time Montreal was given an opportunity to pounce on a mistake, they did so with a vengeance.
There was Kevan Miller severely misplaying a puck off the boards, allowing Lars Eller to score one of the least difficult goals in his career. There was Zdeno Chara‘s odd decision to pass on contesting a Max Pacioretty breakaway, which of course was scored easily. Top it off with a Canadiens power play goal and an empty netter caused by Tuukka Rask tripping on his way to the bench and you’ve got all you need to sum up an embarrassing night for the Bruins.
It’s something Boston has had a propensity to do for quite some time now. When they have their foot on the snake, they always seem to let it loose instead of finishing the job. And that’s what they did tonight. After finally finding a way to dominate their arch-enemies from start to finish this past Saturday, the Bruins put forth one of their worst efforts in recent memory. In doing so, they allowed Montreal to force a pivotal Game 7.
Boston could’ve jumped all over Canadiens goalie Carey Price, especially after hanging four goals on him in Game 5. Instead, Price shut them out, which gave the netminder all the confidence he needs heading into the final game of the series. The Bruins could’ve taken a boisterous Montreal crowd out of the contest early had they taken the ice with intensity. Instead, a mental lapse by Miller started the downward spiral.
Boston leaves Montreal hard-pressed to find any positives from their latest defeat. Any glimpse of killer instinct may have very well put this series to bed, yet it was nowhere to be seen. Whatever positive vibes the team gathered from their Game 5 thumping must have gotten stuck at the Canadian border.
The Bruins picked the worst time to play as ugly as they did tonight. Now, a Canadiens team that was on the ropes just landed a crucial counter-punch. The teams return to New England Wednesday, and it’s Montreal who has all the momentum. Boston better hope they can finally bank on any scoring chances they come up with Wednesday night, otherwise they’ll have the pleasure of watching their rivals celebrate a series victory on their ice.