Thoughts on the Boston Bruins’ Game 6 Collapse


May 12, 2014; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Boston Bruins players including Jarome Iginla (12) and Milan Lucic (17) crash into the net of Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price (31) during the third period in game six of the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Bruins Trounced in Montreal

Many people could’ve guessed that the Boston Bruins would have a difficult time taking on the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Few would have guessed that the Bruins–the NHL’s best regular-season team as the President’s Trophy winner–could find an exit from the Stanley Cup playoffs by Wednesday.

In 4-0 Game 6 defeat on Tuesday night, the Bruins succumbed to an energized Habs team, one that clearly had its sights set on taking this series to one final push for victory.

But to be honest, while the Canadiens did play themselves a great brand of hockey, they were just the more opportunistic squad.

Claude Julien‘s crew had chances, making Carey Price stop 26 shots, but they didn’t capitalize on those occasions. The Habs had roughly the same amount of opportunities on Tuukka Rask, who was forced into 28 saves.

From the B’s forwards, we saw good things from Carl Soderberg carrying the puck in the offensive zone, generating solid puck movement in space and along the boards. He was really the bright spot for the Bruins, as the rest of the lines didn’t approach any breakthrough moments.

In the second period, Milan Lucic missed the best try of the game, facing an open net with Price sprawled next to the opposite post. His shot fluttered high and wide of the iron. Loui Eriksson nailed crossbar in the first period from a Soderberg pass, missing an endeavor that could’ve evened out the moment early in the contest, tying the game at 1-1. The Bruins, at that point, could’ve settled down and started to bring forth their usual physical, lively style of play.

That’s really what killed the Boston Bruins: energy. The lack of this quality was apparent when Zdeno Chara utilized a very weak back-check while Max Pacioretty sped down the ice on a breakaway. The Canadiens man was able to outrun Boston’s captain with little attempt at disruption, and he promptly scored his five-hole attempt to give his team the 2-0 advantage in the second period. If you’re Chara, this instance shouldn’t occur. He’s the best D-man on the Bruins’ from both a hockey “know-how” and enforcer standpoint. Even if it’s noticeable that the Habs have the momentum, don’t back down from it. Fight it, despite the possibility of resistance causing a penalty.

The third goal of the competition also showed that the Bruins weren’t all there mentally. A scrum in the front of Rask resulted in Thomas Vanek burying the rubber into the back of the net. In typical Boston Bruins’ practice, clearing all loose pucks near Rask is a must and holds such a narrow time frame to be effective. Unfortunately, that principle wasn’t followed here. The Bruins’ forwards and D-men let this the puck hang and skid around the crease for awhile, so the former Buffalo Sabre could locate it easily for the basic score.

An uninspired effort on most fronts marked this competition. The Boston Bruins’ players themselves and fans of the NHL juggernauts know that they can definitely play a lot better. The Bruins are not a bad team. Game 6 was just a rough patch, and an expectation to get back on track should be present for a vital Game 7. I don’t think the betting odds said that the Bruins would go home early, and it’s a near certainty that they won’t die away without a fight.