Evgeni Dadonov put home a loose puck into the back of Tuukka Rask‘s net and the Boston Bruins wound up falling to the eliminated-from-playoff-contention Florida Panthers 4-2. This loss means that the Bruins narrowly missed obtaining the one seed in the Eastern Conference and are now set to face the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
It wasn’t exactly the most inspiring performance you have seen out of this team throughout the season – not for the first two periods, anyways.
The Bruins found themselves down early as they gave up a goal on the Panthers’ first shot of the game. The Panthers never trailed at any point during the game as they essentially dominated the first two periods.
(Source: Lancaster Online)
The third period, on the other hand, was almost pure dominance from a game flow perspective as the Bruins outshot the Panthers 26-6, yet only mustered one goal and were even blanked by Robert Luongo of all people, who replaced an injured James Reimer in the period.
The crowd in the Garden was restless throughout most of the game as the Bruins had lost their last four out of four games, garnering only 4 points in the process. It’s been somewhat of a rough stretch for this team since the end of March as they have gone 5-3-2 in their last 10 games. As I write this, I realize this is not that bad of a record, but it’s just that they have looked sluggish and have been giving up a fair amount of goals over their last five games (3.4 goals against/game over that span). They have also only scored nine goals in that same span (1.8 goals/game) and only scored more than two goals once.
After watching the game last night, I don’t think any Bruins fan should be panicking about this team’s chances in the playoffs. I will say, however, that things that they did wrong at the beginning of the year and in year’s prior have somewhat resurfaced. I am not sure if this is due to the fact that they played 21 games in 39 days – which is almost one game every other night – but it could have something to do with how they have looked recently.
(Source: NBC Sports)
The Bruins head into the playoffs on a low-note, but I think Bruce Cassidy said it best and that “one game is not going to define us”. The game against the Panthers is a culmination of the Bruins’ lackluster play of the last five or so games and even though they blew a chance to be the top dog in the East, they should be good to go with three days rest before game one against the Leafs. The possibility of Rick Nash, Sean Kuraly, and Riley Nash returning to the starting lineup could give the team a huge lift as they would almost be 100% healthy.
We know that last night’s defeat leaves a sour taste in our mouths as Bruins fans, but just remember that this team has been a wagon almost all year. Obviously, the playoffs are a different breed and the Bruins are looking to escape the first round of the playoffs after their early-exit last year to the Ottawa Senators.
A more in-depth preview should be at your fingertips in the coming days, but gear up Bruins and hockey fans alike: the Stanley Cup Playoffs are here. Playoff hockey is the best postseason in all of sports and we’re in for something special again.
Feel free to tweet at me and let me know your thoughts on the Bruins in the coming weeks/months: @aaroncomak