Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Bruins Can't Finish in Montreal

As if this series could be anything less than 7 games.

The Canadiens played like a team in survival mode. The Bruins did not play like a team on the verge of killing off their opponent.

I was stuck in a car all day Monday, listening to sports radio, and the midday hosts on both major stations expressed tremendous confidence that the Bruins would finish this series in Montreal on Monday night. But that prediction went against historical trends. The Bruins under Claude Julien have never clinched a series on the road in a Game 6. Furthermore, the Bruins entered this game with a 3-11 all-time record in potential series winning games played in Montreal.

The Bruins got 26 shots on goal. Can you remember more than a handful of them? How many of Carey Price's 26 saves were difficult to make? Sure Loui Eriksson hit the crossbar, and a puck almost drifted across the goal-line before David Desharnais batted it out. It was more "bad luck" for the Bruins.

I'm sick of people blaming "luck" in this series. How come when a puck glances off a Bruins skate and into the net, it's a result of good hard play, but when a Bruin shooter can't hit the target, it's bad luck?

The B's did have one extended possession in the 2nd period, keeping the puck in the Canadiens zone for a long time, preventing the Habs defenders from changing. The broadcasters called it a "dominant" possession. But it wasn't dominant. The Bruins didn't take many shots during that stretch, they just passed it around the perimeter. There was no pressure. And when Milan Lucic finally did get an opportunity and lots of net to shoot at, he hamfisted his shot and completely missed.

That extended possession was like a football team driving the ball 80 yards, achieving 5 or 6 first downs, taking 9 or 10 minutes off the clock, then failing on 3rd and goal and missing the subsequent field goal.

This game was lost at the trade deadline. The Bruins didn't get a legitimate defenseman and the Canadiens acquired Thomas Vanek. Vanek has 4 goals in this series. How many goals have been allowed while Kevan Miller has bumbled and stumbled around the crease?

Miller's unforced turnover gave Montreal their first goal, gift wrapped with a bow on it. Miller then fell down on Montreal's power play goal, allowing Vanek time and space to give the Habs a 3-0 lead. That goal was the back-breaker.

Even with the Bruins' defensive mistakes in this series, the onus of blame lies with their best players who aren't doing their best. Brad Marchand, David Krejci, Milan Lucic, where is the offense from these guys? Carl Soderberg has been the most dangerous forward.

One of these top players needs to show up for Game 7, Wednesday night in Boston.

Photo Credit:
The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson/Associated Press