The Montreal Canadiens outplayed the Boston Bruins for much of their second-round playoff series. That is no secrect. Montreal will battle the New York Rangers for the right to represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup as a result.
Boston meanwhile will close up shop for the offseason while left to ponder what could have been if just a few more breaks had gone their way.
The Bruins may have been the Presidents’ Trophy winners, the favorite to win before the series began, and many people’s pick to win it all, but even the great ones need lady luck on their side to succeed when the lights are at their brightest.
With their season on the line in Game 7 Wednesday night, the Bruins fought and scrapped to the end, doing whatever they could to try and score on Carey Price. Ultimately they could not find a way.
During the course of the series, the Bruins goal scorers fell short, slow starts plagued them, and at times they appeared to be tired and beat up.
Though they did generate a slew of high-quality chances around the net. To the Bruins demise, it was Price’s best friend denying them, not he himself.
Boston rang shots off the post on 13 seperate occassions in the series. That’s downright mind boggling. Price was beaten by Bruins’ shooters regularly, only to be bailed out by the iron.
By no means is it fair to take away from Price’s spectacular play, but it’s hard not to imagine what could have been if at least a few of those pucks found their way in. Perhaps the series would have not required a seventh game.
The Bruins firing wide or high on open nets cannot be overlooked either. Ever to often Boston’s forward were gripping their sticks to tightly. It’s a game of breaks and the Bruins couldn’t by one.
Maybe the Bruins ran their luck dry last postseason after an incredible run at the Stanley Cup. Whatever the case may be, their scorers were clearly snake-bitten.
The determining factor in the series was simple. Montreal buried the biscuit when the opportunity arose. Boston on the other hand was just a hair off far to often.
At the end of the day, their are no excuses in hockey. The Bruins could have done several things much differently. Their defense was lacksadaisical at times, to many turnovers were committed, and they tried to overcomplicate things when simplification was the answer.
But the statistic indicating 13 hit posts is a glaring one that will have the Bruins scratching their heads for some time to come.