The Bruins squandered a golden opportunity to grab an early Stanley Cup Final lead in Chicago last night when they blew a 3-1 third period lead and eventually lost 4-3 in triple-overtime. Thanks to a 2G-1A–3 point effort from Milan Lucic, the road ‘dogs held a two-goal advantage with less than 14 minutes remaining.
But a combination of bad decisions and fortuitous bounces led to the Bruins and Hawks playing the fifth longest game in SCF history (the Bruins and Oilers played the longest 23 years ago) with the Bs coming out on the wrong end again. Torey Krug had an ill-advised pass picked off, leading to Dave Bolland beating Tuukka Rask and cutting his team’s deficit to one. Just over four minutes later, Johnny Oduya’s blast from the point hit Andrew Ference’s skate then the back of the net to tie the game.
The Bs went from the catbird’s seat to staring into the crystal ball of joy and horror that is Stanley Cup overtime. And thanks to a twice-deflected puck, the Bruins drew the ugly option and lost a game that they had, even if briefly, within their grasp. Blown two-goal leads practically because a Bruins trademark over the last two seasons. But down the stretch run and in the playoffs, they’ve been much better in choking the life out of opponents rather than just choking. Until last night.
The Bruins didn’t play a bad game. But they’ll need to be better in Game Two if they want a split on the road. Chicago isn’t a team that you can leave any margin for error or they’ll make you pay—most likely via one-timer. Tough loss but it’s one game. There’s nothing to be down or discouraged about. The Bs lost a game that could have easily gone either way. They’ll be better next game and they’ll still have Tuukka. Game Two is Saturday night in Chicago.
A few more buds for your bowl…
*I’ll eat my crow over being wrong about Corey Crawford. The kid was lights out in OT and made plenty of game-saving saves to beat Rask.
*Nathan Horton’s injury doesn’t look too good. As noted in this space previously, Horton was already playing with an injury that had him at about 75% (and he’s still putting up great numbers). To these eyes, it looks like the injury was further exacerbated last night which would make Horton highly questionable to return. If he is out, Tyler Seguin is gonna need to put his big boy pants on starting fucking doing something.
*Kaspars Daugavins has been a pleasant surprise since joining the line-up after Greg Campbell’s injury. He’s brought some creativity and a few chances to the erstwhile third line while also being attentive in his own zone.
*After his rousing coming out party versus the Rangers, Krug has wafted back to Earth with a couple of rough outings in his last few games. His intercepted pass across the middle was actually called out by Tuukka after the game (“terrible turnover”) and he was on the ice for the game-winner. He also had a few rough patches in Games Three and Four vs. the Pens.
*It’s too bad Phil Esposito is still so bitter and that Boston is just another city to him. He had a special career here, his number hangs from the rafters, and he is still beloved by many but when he comes to town, it may as well be Dubuque, Iowa. The proud paisan is still miffed that Harry Sinden traded him after the GM told the prolific scoring forward that he wouldn’t (per Esposito). Esposito’s most notable contribution after his playing days was helping to land Tampa an NHL franchise. Unfortunately, he also got to name the team. Inspired by a Florida thundershower over the Gulf of Mexico, Tampa Bay Lightning was born.
*I’m sure the people in Chicago just can’t stop comparing Corey Crawford to Antti Niemi the same way people in Boston have with the Bruins’ last two Cup-starting goalies. Let it go, people.