But even as the defending Stanley Cup champions tried to take stock of how their season ended in the opening round of the playoffs for the first time since 2008, the strong play of one Bruin could not be overlooked even in defeat.
Dennis Seidenberg capped a superb series with another strong effort on Wednesday. The veteran defenseman continued his series-long shutdown of Washington star Alex Ovechkin, finishing the night with three shots, three hits and five blocked shots in 25:20 of ice time.
One of those blocked shots was particularly memorable, as he preserved a 1-1 tie when after losing his stick in front he went down to rob Ovechkin with a kick save on a blast from the left slot.
"Well I had no stick, I mean I saw their D winding up for a shot and most of the time they are looking for the winger, I think it was Ovechkin on the seam pass," Seidenberg said. "We've been watching a lot of video and we know their tendencies, and all you do is try to keep yourself in the shooting lane and try to block that shot. And that's what happened, I got lucky."
There was more than luck involved, as Seidenberg was a shot-blocking machine all series long. He actually contributed on both ends of the ice, finishing with a goal and two assists to go along with a plus-1 rating, 17 shots, 16 blocked shots and 29 hits in the seven games.
"Dennis has been good for us in all the playoff series from the past, and, again in this one here," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "As I said, he's such a well-tuned athlete and in great shape, and you can't tire him out. He plays big, he plays strong, and he loves those kinds of challenges. So, you know, it's unfortunate, we probably needed more players like him."
The Bruins gave an honest effort in a series tighter than any in history. It was the first time that all seven games of a single series were decided by a single goal, with four of them going to overtime. Coming so close to advancing doesn't make accepting the end of their season any easier, but Seidenberg and the Bruins can take some solace in the challenges they overcame throughout a season with a target planted firmly on their backs as defending Cup champions.
"You always keep rolling with the team when you go through adversity," Seidenberg said. "This year like Zee [Zdeno Chara] said we had tough times and we battled through them. The only thing you can take out of it is that you gain experience and hope to do better the next time it comes around. That's about it."
That's it for the Bruins season this year, but there is reason for optimism for future campaigns with players like Seidenberg returning next year hungrier than ever for another shot at the Cup.