Bruins

Brad Marchand on Game 7 loss to Blues: 'They just took our dream from us'

Brad Marchand on Game 7 loss to Blues: 'They just took our dream from us'

BOSTON – Charlie McAvoy had one word to describe the emotion that he was going through after the Bruins' season had officially ended with a 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.

“Devastating,” said McAvoy, without even a hint of an elaboration.

It was a tough scene in the TD Garden home dressing room on Wednesday night after the Bruins played a dud of a Game 7 in which they were outplayed during 5-on-5 play by a strong, determined St. Louis bunch and watched rookie upstart Jordan Binnington outplay goalie Tuukka Rask between the pipes.

Grizzled veterans like Zdeno Chara and Brad Marchand were even on the verge of tears while discussing the final defeat, and Marchand admitted the Game 7 loss was the worst setback of his brilliant Bruins career. Second-year winger Jake DeBrusk sat dejected in the home dressing room with a towel on the back of his head and didn’t say word to anybody while the media was conducting interviews.

“It’s tough to describe that heartbreak, but you know, we worked hard. It just didn’t go our way,” said Marchand, who didn’t factor offensively and had a key mistake for the B’s when he left the ice for a line change just ahead of the Blues' second goal of the first period. “You never know when you’ll get that chance again. It could be the last one for all of us, but yeah, you know, when you’re that close and it doesn’t happen, it hurts.

“[There’s] disbelief that it didn't come together. That’s not how you plan it out. It’s heartbreak. It’s tough to describe. You know, they just took our dream, our lifetime dream from us, and everything we’ve worked for our entire lives. It was 60 minutes away from that. You can’t describe it.”

It was the lowest the Bruins' dressing room has been morale-wise since they lost four straight games in the second round of the 2010 playoffs to blow a 3-0 series lead against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Bruins were disappointed they lost the Stanley Cup Final in 2013 to the Chicago Blackhawks, to be sure, but it wasn’t the kind of shell-shocked, stunned and raw emotion that was on display after Wednesday night’s game.

The Bruins thought they were going to ultimately prevail against the Blues over the last few weeks, but instead they fell short in a Game 7 that several of the B’s termed the worst loss of their long, accomplished careers.

“We haven’t been in the Final in a long time. Felt like it was there for us. I believed in this group every single game,” said David Krejci. “I had a good feeling. Even after the first period I felt a comeback. So, yeah, that’s a really tough one. [It is] definitely the hardest loss in my career, for sure.”

Most of the Bruins admitted they were never going to get over the bitter taste of a Game 7 loss in the Stanley Cup Final on home ice, and that’s understandable given where players like Patrice Bergeron, Marchand, Krejci and Chara are at this point in their career. The bright side is that the Bruins took a huge step forward following that 2010 series loss in the second round to the Flyers, and it played a major role in the Black and Gold winning the Cup in 2011.

Perhaps history can repeat itself as the Bruins look to parlay disappointment into success for the regular season next year, and use the loser’s motivation to take them higher and deeper into the postseason standings next season.

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Karson Kuhlman questionable for Leafs game after missing Bruins practice

Karson Kuhlman questionable for Leafs game after missing Bruins practice

BRIGHTON – The Bruins are getting a little banged up as they now get a little deeper into the regular season.

Bruins right winger Karson Kuhlman was missing from Monday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena after getting hit in the leg with a Jake DeBrusk shot during Saturday night’s overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Kuhlman was limited to 9:19 of ice time in the overtime game and has gone scoreless in the first nine games of the season while playing mostly a top-6 role for the Black and Gold.

Likewise, David Krejci was missing from Monday’s practice and will again be out Tuesday night against the Maple Leafs that will make his third consecutive game missed since suffering an upper-body injury in last week’s win over Anaheim.

Both Joakim Nordstrom and Par Lindholm were wearing no-contact jerseys in Monday’s practice as well, and the Bruins had the bare minimum 12 forwards to practice with after a day off the ice completely on Sunday.

“Kuhlman is day-to-day and we’ll see how he responds [on Tuesday]. So that we’ll determine in the morning,” said Bruce Cassidy. “Lindholm looks good to go. Nordstrom probably not as far along as [Lindholm] as far as being good to go, but that’s a decision we’ll make tomorrow. Krejci won’t play [on Tuesday] and we’ll see how it works out for later in the week.”

Both Krejci and Nordstrom are out for the Leafs game and it looks like Lindholm is going to be able to play, so the health of Kuhlman is the one unknown headed into the B’s next game.

The good news for the Bruins is that they continue to stay healthy on the back end, and perhaps the injuries upfront will force the B’s to finally call up Anders Bjork from Providence as a reinforcement after a hot start for the P-Bruins. Here are the line combos and D-pairings from Monday’s practice ahead of the Tuesday night rematch between the Bruins and Leafs this time at TD Garden:

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Coyle-Ritchie

Heinen-Lindholm-Backes

Nordstrom-Kuraly-Wagner

 

Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

Grzelcyk-Clifton

 

Rask

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Brad Marchand puts opponent in headlock, opponent calls it 'a great play'

Brad Marchand puts opponent in headlock, opponent calls it 'a great play'

Lost in the big divisional games over the last few days for the Bruins against the Lightning and Maple Leafs was a small moment toward the end of Thursday’s shootout loss to the Bolts that could have meant an extra point for the B’s.

During the closing seconds of overtime, the Lightning had the Bruins scrambling in their own end and Brayden Point collected the puck along the sideboards after already putting up a couple of points in the game. Brad Marchand then opted to put Point in a headlock and lock down any chances of the Lightning ending the game ahead of the shootout with only a couple of seconds remaining in OT.

There was no penalty, and even if there had been there was really no downside to doing it since Marchand would have been free and clear to take part in the shootout, as he did, even if a minor penalty had been called on him. It was a smart hockey play from a smart hockey player that’s always looking for an edge and doesn’t mind going the outside-the-box route that includes throwing a headlock on the occasional opponent.

Obviously it didn’t work out as the Bruins ended up losing 4-3 to the Bolts in the shootout, but interestingly enough even Point was giving the habitually line-stepping Marchand credit for “a great play” after it was all over.

“I’m going for the puck, really it’s a great play,” said Point of Marchand, who has four goals and 12 points in eight games this season to go along with the one headlock. “There’s not much time, he breaks up a potential chance for us and he still gets to shoot in the shootout. There’s no real consequence for that, so really it’s a good play.”

With a pair of points earned in the last couple of games, the Bruins have a few more big games this week against the Maple Leafs and St. Louis Blues. It remains to be seen if No. 63 has any more “really good plays” in his bag of tricks after the savvy, on-brand headlock from Marchand during last week’s tangle with Tampa.

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