The Bruins knew they would get a handful from the Montreal Canadiens in Game 6 at Bell Centre. The Habs gave them that and then some, as a fired-up Montreal team steamrolled the B’s 4-0 to force a winner-take-all showdown Wednesday night at TD Garden.
Whether or not the Bruins were ready to play at puck drop is debatable, but it didn’t take long for the Black and Gold to fall into a hole. One of the Bruins’ many miscues burned them just two minutes and 22 seconds into the game, when Kevan Miller couldn’t handle Torey Krug’s pass behind the Boston net, and Lars Eller took the puck and snuck a backhander by Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask. In a series where the team that has scored first has won every game, the ugly sequence of events was an inauspicious start for Boston.
From there, it was all downhill for the Bruins. There were spots where the Bruins carried the play, but their inability to finish chances once again was a huge issue. Despite the pressure Boston applied in the second, Nathan Beaulieu — making his postseason debut for Montreal — found Max Pacioretty on a stretch pass through the neutral zone. Pacioretty beat Zdeno Chara to the puck and took advantage of a breakdown in communication between Chara and Rask as he buried his first goal of the series through the goalie’s legs.
That was pretty much all she wrote.
“The second goal is the goal that probably hurt us the most,” Bruins coach Claude Julien admitted. “We were spending a lot of time in their end and we had some great chances to tie the game, but that kind of turned the tide around.”
There’s that word again: chances. The Bruins have had plenty of them in this series, but they’ve found iron 12 times after Loui Eriksson hit a crossbar Monday. That number doesn’t account for the countless missed openings, either, like when Milan Lucic misfired on an open net by about a foot in the second period. There also was the puck that rolled along the goal line in the third period and somehow stayed out of the Montreal net.
Screen shot via Twitter/@PeteBlackburn
The list of missed opportunities continues to grow, and if that list gets any longer Wednesday night, the Bruins’ season will end much sooner than they’d planned.
Here’s the thing, though. All Montreal’s Game 6 win really does is ensure there will be a Game 7. As bad as they played Monday, the Bruins still have another chance to close out the series. They earned the home-ice advantage they’ll have in the do-or-die battle to be played at TD Garden. They’ve been in this situation before, and they know what it takes to win. Now it’s just about flushing Game 6 down the proverbial toilet and coming out in Game 7 with their best effort of the series.
“We can talk about their game, our game — let’s put everything in the past and focus on Game 7,” Bruins forward David Krejci told reporters after the disappointing loss.
That’s indeed where the focus now shifts. The Bruins have one game with the season on the line, a game that will require a much better effort than they showed Monday.