It’s late Friday night (or early Saturday morning) and I’m just sitting in front of a blank screen. The game ended a couple hours ago and I’m stunned. I took notes, did my usual in-game blog and I still really don’t know what to say.
Everyone who follows pucks knows the story. The Bruins have watched a 3-0 series lead evaporate to a winner take all game 7. Tonight’s game mirrored the series. With a goal by Michael Ryder and two by Milan Lucic the Bruins were cruising 15 minutes into the game. I sent a text message to my wife after the Ryder goal. She knew I was pretty happy and by the time she got back to me, realizing it was 3-0 she said “You must not know what to do with yourself you’re so happy”
The Bruins were like a machine. They hit everything in sight during those first fifteen minutes and appeared to have the confidence of a champion. Daniel Paille threw his weight around. Even Mark Recchi, the true leader that he was, had a shift in that first fifteen where he took out two different Flyer defensemen behind the net.
Then James Van Riemsdyk scored with 2:48 to go in the first and the Bruins started looking around as if to say, “Uh oh, not again.” That’s when I replied to my wife’s earlier text message and said ”It’s still early” and I also told her that if things stayed like this, the Bruins would be home on Sunday and next Wednesday just so she could plan her week.
Going into the room up 3-1 seemed to put the guys back on their heels. They stopped hitting. They stopped skating. The Flyers defense was allowed to get a comfort level back there because they felt that they weren’t going to be hit.
Scott Hartnell scored 2:49 into the second period and you could see the spark on the visitors bench. Two goals in five and a half minutes of playing time and the B’s were on the ropes and there was no more talk with my wife of when the B’s would be home next. Six minutes later, when Daniel Briere’s wrap around deflected off Matt Hunwick’s skate, the game – like the series – was tied at three. At this point in the period the Flyers had outshot the B’s 8-0 and out scored them 2-0 for the period.
The Flyers were all over the Bruins now and the B’s looked like they did in games 5 and 6. Because of the pressure, passes were in skates or to the backhand. They never got moving with any consistancy. This was typical of the season. A good period followed by laying an egg.
The third period was furious. I barely had time to take any notes. If you looked away, you missed something. There was one minute where Ryder beat Leighton only to hit the post and at the opposite end, Pronger beat Rask and rang one off the post. Both teams traded offensive chances to try to put the other away.
For the love of Don Cherry, the Bruins bench was called for a ‘too many men’ penalty. The top rated penalty killers were pressed into service one more time. Unfortunately, like 1979, the Bruin penalty killers couldn’t hold back the Flyers and Simon Gagne beat Tuukka over the stick to the far side. With possibly only 7:08 left in the season the Bruins never really threatened Leighton again.
You could see the disappointment in Mark Recchi afterwards. You could see it in all the guys but Rex was still in his full uniform thirty minutes after the game – including his skates. He didn’t hold back on his thoughts about the fateful call against the B’s, “I think that it’s a terrible call. It’s a 3-3 series, Game 7, you don’t make that call. The referee was looking at the play the whole time and he didn’t call it. The linesman called it. It was terrible judgment on his part but it is what it is now.”
I have to disagree with Rex on his assessment. Marc Savard called for a change and then decided to go after the puck carrier. Maybe whoever was coming off the bench hesitated and Savvy thought he better stay in the play. I don’t know but there was definitely six Bruins skaters out there and it had to be called.
I thought it was interesting that Recchi wasn’t undressed at all when he held his interview session. You know how you hear the older players on a team, know when it’s time to go but they just don’t want to take the uniform off for the last time. That’s what I felt was going on there.
So, the 2010 Boston Bruins join the 1942 Detroit Red Wings and the 1975 Pittsburgh Penguins as the only NHL teams to lead a series 3-0 and lose. That’s a bitter pill we Bruin fans will have all summer to try and choke down. This series was alot closer in the beginning and the Bruins were lucky to come out of the first two games up 2-0. Either one of those games, the Flyers could have won. Over the course of seven games, the Flyers were the better team.
Next up for me. A trip to LA in late June to witness the #2 overall pick the Bruins have in the draft.
It’s 2:35 AM and now I have to shave for the first time since April 11th. Check out Joshua Bartle’s happy side of the comeback.
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Written by Jim Mulligan