New England Sports React

Down ‘Nd Out

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The Bruins will have a long time to dwell on their Game 7 loss to Montreal.

They simply didn’t show up. In a Game 7. On their home ice.

How the hell, why the hell…what the hell?! With the sense of urgency cranked to the max (at least in the minds of Bruins fans), the black and gold crapped their pants, soiling themselves like Peyton Manning once the calendar turns to January (or February, for that matter). They came out of the gates sluggish, playing in slow motion as if this were just some meaningless regular season game. Following the pattern they started in Game 6, the Bruins once again put themselves down 1-0 less than five minutes into the contest. Stupidity was once again the theme; the only difference was, in Game 6 they at least got some chances early inside the Montreal zone. Wednesday night, however, they slept walked their way into a deficit and never recovered, not even appearing to care or making an attempt to. And just like that, the season was over much earlier than anyone (fans and players alike) had anticipated.

As was the case throughout the series, Montreal’s speed once again proved too much for Boston. From skating down stray pucks off of the faceoff and creating odd-man rushes to consistently generating scoring chances and even winning the battles on the boards (typically one of the Bruins’ strengths), the Canadiens outplayed them in every facet of the game. And don’t even think of blaming Claude Julien for not motivating his team. He shouldn’t have had to say anything more to his players other than “It’s Game 7, gentlemen.” Those words alone should’ve ignited a spark; instead, it seemed to frighten a team that appeared to be leaps and bounds ahead of every other team in the league during the regular season. I’m sure they knew they didn’t match up well with Montreal and thus deflected their insecurity by ensuring a series victory in their minds. Yet they played as if there was a tomorrow, as if second chances were somehow granted after losing a Game 7; they played like they didn’t want anything more than to be enjoying long fairways and freshly-polished greens. Sorry, boys, but that just doesn’t cut it in Beantown.

Lack of effort aside, they lost to Montreal. Of all the teams in the league, it had to be Montreal. Couldn’t have gotten knocked out in the first round at the hands of Detroit, a series loss that would’ve been much more respectable given the nature of their second-round opponent. No, it had to be those damned Canadiens that spoiled the Bruins’ chance for a second Stanley Cup trophy in four years. At the end of the day, you have to tip your cap to Montreal. As poorly as the Bruins played, the Canadiens still had to capitalize on the chances they were given, and they did just that. Despite being outshot most of the series, the rouge, bleu, et blanc executed when it mattered most, and that ultimately proved to be the difference. Hell, they even outhit the “Big, Bad Bruins.” Instead of sticking to their regular season identity, Boston attempted to integrate Montreal’s finesse game into their gameplan, and as we sports fans know best, “You can’t change who you are.” You can change who’s around you, however, and it seems a definite that the Bruins will be doing just that come this offseason.

-Ryan Hartley

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