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Bruins DieHard: Swift Ending To Game 7 Leaves Sting

A Bruins Blog by Ric Duarte of BruinsDieHard
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BOSTON, MA - APRIL 25:  Zdeno Chara #33 of the Boston Bruins shakes hands with former teammate Dennis Wideman #6 of the Washington Capitals after Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on April 25, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Washington Capitals defeated the Boston Bruins 2-1 in overtime.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA – APRIL 25: Zdeno Chara #33 of the Boston Bruins shakes hands with former teammate Dennis Wideman #6 of the Washington Capitals after Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on April 25, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Washington Capitals defeated the Boston Bruins 2-1 in overtime. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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You just knew it was going to end like this. Another one-goal game.

Another nail-biter. Another horrible ending to a game that would end the season too soon because no one wants hockey to end after one round. Not after what we experienced last season!

But here we are, left to wonder why the Bruins could only score 15 goals in this seven-game season, why none of the big boys stepped up to the table, got their noses dirty enough to put rebounds past the young but solid goaltender for the Washington Capitals.  There were a lot of bystanders in this series, and that’s so unlike what this Bruins team has been all about. Where was that snarl?  Where was that nastiness that they needed in order to break down the defensive wall that the Capitals had put up and relentlessly did not give in?

It wasn’t about Washington’s offensive prowess because the Bruins’ defense pretty effectively shut down the likes of Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Brooks Laich and Nicklas Backstrom. It came to the likes of Milan Lucic, and Patrice Bergeron, although limited, not scoring a goal in the series. Third line center Rich Peverley had the most goals on the team with three. David Krejci was virtually missing in action, and as cliche as it may be, the Bruins’ best players were not their best players by a long shot.

The big thing for Boston was the fact that in consecutive playoff years, the power play was non-existent. They scored just two goals with the man advantage in 23 opportunities, none larger that with just over two minutes left in the third period of Game 7 on what was really a questionable holding call. This power play was abysmal for two seasons now and obviously has not been addressed. The coach spoke about the fact that they had no one like Marc Savard on it. Well, it’s been a known fact that Savard ain’t walking through that locker room door for the past two seasons, yet what we’ve seen is what we have gotten and it did not change from playoff year to playoff year.

Shot selection, too, was weak for the most part. Most of the time the Bruins settled for the point shot and more often failed to get it through to the net. Often, shots were into the netminder’s pads or glove. Note to Bruins shooters: Get good, hard, low shots above the 11 inches of padding goalies wear!

The Bruins were tired, weary, passive and injured, lacking the will and want of last year.

Whatever the reason, this was a different Boston Bruins team than its winning predecessor. Maybe we were looking through Black and Gold colored glasses thinking that everything would be all right and come together last night. Tim Thomas would again be the brick wall he was last year, Brad Marchand would be the “Little Ball of Hate”, Bergy would be Bergy, and we would all get no sleep again until mid-June.

That was not to be. Now, the speculation on changes and trades and free agents begin. Somehow, I’m just not quite ready for that. First-round eliminations are just too hard to take. It ended quick and painful and way too soon.

Ric Duarte has covered hockey and the Bruins for various media outlets since 1986. You can follow Ric at BruinsDieHard.com and at twitter @bruins_diehard.

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