Roller Coaster Night on Causeway
BOSTON, MA - The night didn't start off the way the Bruins wanted it to - and it didn't end the way they wanted it to, either.
It started with Chicago's shorthanded goal just 6:48 into the first period, and 10 goals later, it finished with Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook ripping a shot into the back of the net 9:51 into overtime to lift his team to a 6-5 win. The Stanley Cup Final now becomes a best-of-three, knotted at two games apiece heading back to Chicago for Game 5.
The Bruins twice overcame two-goal deficits, but it wasn't enough.
"It’s a rollercoaster a little bit, I guess," said defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, on playing through that type of game. "You want to try to stay even-keeled, but it’s tough when there’s so many ups and downs. We’re back, we’re trailing by two, we’re even, we tied it up, and then we gave one up again, so it’s a lot of mixed emotions."
"At the end of the day, you have to try to stay calm and just focus on the uplift and go from there."
"It just felt like it was a run-and-gun kind of game," said Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk, who blasted home the game-tying goal to make it 5-5 and give the B's that "uplift" in the third period, eventually forcing OT.
"We had a good chance to win in overtime, and it was just one shot [that won it]."
"It’s definitely not what we wanted," said alternate captain Patrice Bergeron, who netted two scores of his own to helps the B's overcome their second two-goal deficit of the night, and tie the game at 4-4 in the third. "We didn’t get our best start and that hurt us a lot. We found a way to get back in the game, but it wasn’t enough, because we had a poor start."
The jump wasn't there to begin, but the speed of Rich Peverley, who got on the board for the first time since Game Three in Toronto (May 6) to tie it at 1-1, and of Daniel Paille, helped the Bruins find their legs.
Still, the B's fell in a 3-1 hole in the second, when stagnant Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane potted their first goals - and points - of the series. Hawks' defenseman Michal Rozsival factored into both, utilizing the points more effectively then they have all series, with traffic provided in front.
"It was kind of going back and forth like a practice," said B's netminder Tuukka Rask, who didn't have the funnest night in goal. "When they got those two goals to make it 3-1, that was it."
Meaning, the 3-1 game broke it wide open. The Bruins had to give up some holes defensively to push the offense.
"They’re a good offensive team when you give them goals and they get the lead. Then, obviously, you have to start opening up too and creating some offense. That’s what happened."
"We had some breakdowns that shouldn’t have happened and found some ways to get back in the game, but it wasn’t enough," said Bergeron. "Some of the goals are breakdowns that can’t happen."
Odd-man rushes and net-front traffic by Chicago plagued the Bruins, and decision-making wasn't at its usual level.
"Well, I guess both teams weren’t really sharp mentally. It always comes back to that. If you’re not positioned right all over the ice breakdowns happen, odd-man rushes happen, and then that’s what happens," said Seidenberg. "At the end of the day, there’s a lot of goals being scored."
The Bruins didn't play to their strengths; but credit should be given to the Blackhawks for being able to play to theirs. Rask never got beat cleanly, except for on the final shot of the game off Seabrook's stick for the overtime-winner.
"Everything together—it was mental, it was positional," added Seidenberg, of the mistakes that led to Chicago's goals.
"We always talk about layers, right? We just didn’t have those tonight. That’s why things like that happen."
"I just think we weren't very sharp in our decision-making. Where we talked about we have layers, our D’s were pinching, our forwards were not really covering up, weren't totally committed to that
part of the game. That's when you saw two-on-ones," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien, clearly disappointed in his team's performance, but not opting to criticize any of his players with a close series now knotted at 2-2.
"There was a lot of our game tonight that was just average, and average isn't good enough at this stage of the season."
It's easy to point to the goaltender in a 6-5 loss, but the B's now rather infamous (around these parts, at least) defensive "layers" weren't there. The loose pucks and rebounds didn't find the Bruins sticks Wednesday night and the odd-man rushes were uncharacteristic of a club that's usually able to push even the highest skilled offensive players to the outside.
"I don’t think we helped Tuukka out," said Peverley. "Some breakdowns, but they made the plays and I think it’s not Tuukka’s fault."
"It’s not fun," said Rask, of the run-and-gun game. "But we battled back many times, didn’t make it easy on ourselves. At the end of the day, it’s a one-goal game. They get it. We just made it too tough on ourselves. Not our best night."
"The got a lot of shots through and a lot of second opportunities. You know, you let six goals as a goalie, you can’t be satisfied, but as a team, I thought it wasn’t our best defensive game.
"They got those rebounds, that makes the difference."
Luckily for the Bruins, there are now two days before Game Five to make adjustments and clear their heads of the breakdowns and missed opportunities.
"Well, we’ve got to cut down on mistakes, and I’m sure that the coaches will have a plan for us and hopefully like I said, tomorrow and Friday we’ll have a little bit of time to get rest and then I think the team should be pretty energetic come Saturday," said Peverley.
"You've got to give them credit. They scored a lot of goals. They scored some big goals at key times, and I think we can be better, but you got to give them some credit," he added.
Now, the Bruins will be focusing on minimizing mistakes - and having the layers to back up those mistakes when they do happen.
"It’s one of those games that was very up-and-down. We had some breakdowns that we need to adjust, but we did some good things to come back in the game also," said Bergeron.
"You've got to look at both sides, but at the end of the day we didn’t get the result and we got to make sure we’re back at it on Saturday."
Looking to Game Five
Good news? In a now best-of-three to determine the winner, we can still have a "there's always next game" mentality.
The Bruins didn't perform at their best, and they didn't come out on top. They somehow still gave themselves a chance, though, if we want to look at the positives. They are not discouraged they couldn't pull out the win - just disappointed.
We've seen them perform at their best in this series, and know that it usually results in the win.
"It was a little late, but I think we started to play a little better. It was still an up-and-down game, which, again, is not really our style, but that’s just the way it went. We tried to win it," said Seidenberg.
So, the focus for Game Five in Chicago on Saturday?
Play 'Boston Bruins' hockey.
"I think we can be a lot better. We have an opportunity to be better next game," said Julien. "Hopefully, if anything, that makes us even hungrier for the next game."
"We knew it was going to a tough series, an even series," Bergeron told reporters following the loss. "That’s what we’re having. We never said it was going to be easy."
"They’re a great team out there and so are we, so we just go to go out there - like you said, it’s a best of three now - and regroup and get ready for Game 5."