Bruins Lament Great Season Going Down The Tubes In Round 2

Boston Bruins
Boston Bruins
May 14 2014 Boston MA USA Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara 33 leads his team off the ice after their 3 1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens in game seven of the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden Mandatory Credit Winslow Townson USA TODAY Sports

In a league in which parity reigns supreme and dynasties are all but a pipe dream, the Boston Bruins appeared poised to do something no other club’s been capable of in the salary-cap era: advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the third time in four seasons.

The champions in 2011 and runner-up to the Blackhawks in 2013 captured the Presidents’ Trophy during the 2013-14 regular season, leading the NHL with 117 points. Armed with the most talented roster they’ve ever assembled under Claude Julien and arguably their greatest lineup top to bottom in over four decades, the Black and Gold made quick work of the Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the playoffs.

Then came the Canadiens, their hated, historic rival, who many perceived to be the biggest threat to the Bruins in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

As it turns out, those prognostications were spot-on.

Boston squandered a 3-2 series lead, laying an egg in a 4-0 shellacking at the Bell Centre in Game 6 before falling in Game 7, on home ice, by a score of 3-1. Things went awry early in the decisive tilt for the B’s, who were all out of sorts in a first period they were lucky to escape trailing by only a goal.

“We’ve got a lot of experience, but we’ve also got a lot of young guys,” winger Brad Marchand said. “It doesn’t matter who you are, it’s always a little nerve-racking stepping into a Game Seven and with the amount of pressure we had on our team, it can just give you a little bit of jitters. But I think we calmed down, played well, after that. We just couldn’t bear [down].”

Montreal’s first goal, which came 2:18 into the contest via Dale Weise, was a crushing early blow for the Bruins.

“That first goal definitely sucked the energy out of us and it was hard to get it back,” Patrice Bergeron said. “…Bottom line, we’ve got to execute and score. We’ve got to definitely give them some credit where they deserve it, but we’ve got to be better.”

The Habs pushed their lead to two midway through the second period on a Max Pacioretty goal, but the Bruins were able to seize momentum late in the frame, as Jarome Iginla redirected a Torey Krug shot past Carey Price to make it 2-1.

That, however, was as close as the B’s would get, as a Daniel Briere power-play goal with 2:58 left in regulation sealed Boston’s fate.

While there’s plenty of blame to go around for their shortcomings, two players in particular stand out above the rest. Marchand finished the playoffs with zero goals after tallying 25 times during the regular season. Boston’s leading point-getter in 2013-14, first-line center David Krejci, wrapped up the postseason with zero goals and just four assists in 12 contests.

“We didn’t win and we’re not moving ahead because we didn’t play as well as we can. So I don’t think David Krejci is the only guy there,” coach Claude Julien said. “I think as a team we didn’t seem to find our rhythm that we had for most of the year, and so I don’t think I’m going to turn to David Krejci and point the finger at him because there’s more than just one player. I think we have to take the blame here as a team and that’s what I intend to do.”

A solemn Krejci wasn’t as forgiving for his underwhelming playoff performance.

“Not just the series, but all the playoffs,” Krejci said when asked if this was the most frustrating series of his NHL career. “You know the guys did a pretty good job the first round and we got past it. And in the second round, I felt like I could have put the puck in a couple times, especially Game One. You know, if I would get at least one goal then we wouldn’t go into Game Seven. So obviously it’s disappointing.”

“I mean, it is what it is,” Krejci continued. “People can talk about it, guys can talk about whatever they want. But like I said, as a top centerman, if you don’t put the puck in the net in two rounds, you don’t give the chance to the team to win the game or the series. I felt like I could have put the puck in the net a couple times, but I didn’t so I didn’t do my job in the playoffs.”

With their early exit, the Bruins will be forced to forever lament the fact that a truly terrific season ended not only well short of their ultimate goal, but in such a tremendously frustrating fashion.

“Yeah, we definitely had a really good team and a really good opportunity,” said Marchand, who missed a golden opportunity to score from atop the crease early on in the game. “I think any time you finish first in the league you expect to go far, but we had a lot of depth this year and a lot of really good players and guys were playing right, playing consistent. It had everything to be a good team but we just weren’t able to capitalize on it.”

While the Habs will move on the face the Rangers in the conference finals, the Bruins will now begin an offseason much longer than many expected them to be saddled with.

“It’s unfortunate, the way it has to end,” said Milan Lucic. “I mean, we got ourselves up 3-2 in the series and were unable to get the job done – especially with the group that we had here and the season we were able to put together. It’s going to be tough to swallow this one and deal with it for the rest of the summer.”

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Jesse Connolly
Jesse Connolly is the founder and editor of, and an NHL contributor for XN Sports. The Massachusetts native has been a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association since 2009.