A loss that will sting for a while
In the two days between Games 6 and 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, Brad Marchand talked at length about how much more he remembers the pain of losing the Stanley Cup in 2013 than he does the joy of winning it in 2011.
I think it’s safe to assume the pain of losing in 2019 is going to trump all of the above, especially in a series where Marchand finished with just one five-on-point and made a poorly timed line change that led to the Blues’ second goal in Game 7.
A goal that took all the life out of TD Garden and one that took a dream away from Marchand and the Bruins.
“It’s a heartbreaker. It’s tough to describe,” Marchand said. “You know, they just took our dream, our lifetime dream from us, and everything we’ve worked for our entire lives, and it’s 60 minutes away from that. You can’t describe it.”
As they did in Game 5, the Bruins lost Game 7 in the first period. Coming out of the gate flying, the Bruins couldn’t get any rubber past Blues’ goalie Jordan Binnington who was phenomenal in Game 7, especially in the first period where he stopped all 12 shots he saw.
While the Bruins could not get themselves on the board, the Blues did, scoring two goals on four first period shots.
The first a redirection from the Conn Smythe winner Ryan O’Reilly. The second on a backhander from captain Alex Pietrangelo. A save that you would like to see Rask make, but a play that began with Marchand’s miscue.
“I don’t know, they chipped it in. I thought that guy was by himself, so I went for a change, and a couple more guys jumped up on the play,” added Marchand. “I didn’t see the replay, but yeah.”
After a dominating opening period by the Bruins and a two-goal deficit to show for it, it was easy to see that Game 7 would not be the Bruins night.
That was confirmed with the Bruins looking lost and defeated in the second and third periods as the Blues completely shut them down.
“Well yeah it was tough. We created a lot of chances and shots and I barely made a save and it was 2-0,” Rask who made 16 saves on 20 shots overall said of the first period. “So, I really wanted to make one of those saves, didn’t, but we tried to battle back and they’re a tough team to beat when they have the lead.”
In the immediate aftermath of a devastating loss, it’s easy to sit here and point fingers, putting blame on Rask for not making more saves in Game 7, or the Bruins top line for being a complete no-show in the series.
That will come in the next few days, but for now, the Blues are 2019 Stanley Cup Champions because the Bruins didn’t do enough when they needed to and the Blues were simply the better team.
“Yeah, it’s tough, like I said you work so hard to get to this point. You know, we ultimately didn’t capitalize on our chances and they did,” Patrice Bergeron said. “You know, we got to give them credit. They deserved to win, but it’s not going to change the way we’ve competed and the way that we’ve battled to get to this point, but then, it doesn’t change the result whatever we say right now.”
As devastated as the Bruins were with getting so close to their ultimate goal, only to fall short, not being able to win it for each seemed to be the biggest disappointment among the group.
“One win away from the Stanley Cup, seeing the way the guys play together and interact together and love each other, you really feel that, it’s easy to just come and be apart of that,” said forward Charlie Coyle.
“It’s what it’s about, just the team aspect, it’s how we were all year. I felt very fortunate to come in and be with this group, go through a lot of ups and downs, ending on a down here but I think everyone’s proud of each other.”
The 2018-19 Bruins will come together one last time in the next few days to collect their personal belongings, clean out their lockers, conduct their exit interviews and meet with the media one last time before embarking on a short, but difficult offseason.
As the Bruins begin preparations for the 2019-20 season in a few months, Marchand knows the group he will come back to for training camp won’t be the same as the one that was one win away from a Stanley Cup.
With a group as close as this one, that’s a tough pill to swallow.
“Love these guys. We had a hell of a year, and we came very close. I love every guy on this team. I’m very proud of everyone that worked their ass off all year to get to this point, and you know, we’re a hell of a group,” Marchand said.
“We came together. We’re like a family, so it hurts, but yeah, love this group.”
Thank you Bruins fans
It’s crazy to think my first full season with Hockey Buzz has come to an end. In my nine seasons of covering this team and as disappointing as the ending was, this was by far the most fun I’ve had doing this.
But a big thank you to all of you for reading and commenting. Truly means the world to me. I don’t care what anybody else thinks—especially those Maple Leafs fans =)—but Boston fans and Bruins fans more specifically are the best in the world.
I’ll be back in the coming days to close the book on the 2018-19 season and flip the page to what will be a very important offseason for the Bruins.
Is it October yet?