Ya! YA!! Aw. YAAA!!!! Awww. UGH!! [nail-biting] [more nail-biting] FAAAAAHHHHHHHKKKK!!!!
That was the story of Game 1 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks (from a Bruins fan’s perspective). The Bruins went up 2-0 in the second period with two goals from Milan Lucic (because I was wearing his jersey, of course). Then a bad giveaway by the rookie defenseman Torey Krug led to the Blackhawks scoring to make it 2-1. The Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron then scored with a sick shot to make it 3-1 about six minutes into the third period. Adding to the awesomeness of this goal was the fact that it was during a Bruins power play, which they’ve struggled with the past few years, but have turned around recently. But then came the “UGH!!” two minutes later when Chicago scored not by shooting a nice shot at the net, but by missing it wide and the puck deflecting off of Andrew Ference’s skate and into the net.
The game then went to overtime.. and double overtime.. and triple overtime, with both teams grinding hard. The Bruins had multiple scoring chances that were very close including a great one in the last seconds of the second overtime period when captain Zdeno Chara shot a laser of a shot that was deflected by Jaromir Jagr off the post. Then, in the third overtime period, after an insane 112 minutes of play, the game finally ended when Chicago’s Michal Rozsival took a shot from the point that deflected off of Dave Bolland, then off of Andrew Shaw and into the net.
Really? I mean REALLY??!! I just spent almost five hours watching the fifth longest Stanley Cup Finals game in history just to see us lose by a double deflection?! WTF?!?! We totally should’ve had this game, but a few defensive breakdowns caused us to blow a two goal lead twice. Further, their game-tying goal only went in because it bounced off of a skate, their game-winning goal only went in because it was deflected twice, and we had a ton of very close scoring chances. This game could’ve easily been a Bruins win.
What makes this loss even worse is that our players got very worn out with such a long game. Their guys did too, but ours are mostly older guys who will have a tougher time bouncing back. Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg led time on ice with almost 49 minutes! Zdeno Chara and Andrew Ference were close behind with 45 minutes. The absolute worst part of this game, though, was the loss of Bruins forward Nathan Horton. He made an awkward move and it looked like he popped something in his upper body. The injury is undisclosed as of now, but there’s a chance he may not return at all in this series. This is very concerning because he has been very hot in the playoffs, leading the league in +/- rating with a whopping +22. He is also second in points with 18 and his line (with David Krejci and Milan Lucic) has been the most effective for us. A nice side note is that Krejci leads the league in points with 23 and Lucic is third with 16. They are also second and third in +/- rating with +15 and +14, respectively. So as you can see, this line has arguably been the best in the whole playoffs. If Horton can’t return to play, the Bruins will have to call someone up to replace him. Oh and by the way, the Bruins also have the fourth best +/- player in Zdeno Chara and the best faceoff winner in Patrice Bergeron.
The Bruins should’ve won this game, but even with a loss, my prediction can still come true, and I believe it will. I said that we would win one of the first two games, so we’ll have to win Game 2. Then we’ll win Games 3, 4, and 6 at home to win the Stanley Cup. So we’re still in a good position. If we had won Game 1, I would say there’s a chance we could actually sweep the Blackhawks, or at least win in fewer games than expected. But no matter, we still played a great game. Our defense was mostly solid, as was our league-leading penalty kill. We were able to kill off a 5-on-3 Blackhawks power play, which is huge against a team that is so powerful offensively. Our goalie Tuukka Rask was great too. Almost all of the goals against him were out of his hands and not his fault. He stopped 59 of 63 shots, including two of two during Blackhawks power plays. Before the first goal was scored against him, he had played almost 150 minutes without letting a puck get past him. We just need to focus and reduce our turnovers. If we can do that then we can beat them. I think we will be able to do this and as I said I still think we will win it in six games. Still, no matter what happens, and as hard as it may be, remember Bruins fans, you must always..
Thanks for reading,