Bruins

Bruins

BOSTON --  The Boston Bruins technically had home-ice advantage in the Stanley Cup Final, but playing at TD Garden was anything but an advantage for the Original Six club.

The Bruins lost 4-1 on home ice to the Blues in Game 7 on Wednesday night  -- a heartbreaking finale to a playoff run that should've ended with the franchise's seventh championship. The loss was Boston's third at TD Garden in the Cup Final, and the Bruins are the first team to lose three times on home ice in a Cup Final since the 2000 Dallas Stars, who fell to the New Jersey Devils in six games.

"I think you're playing in the Stanley Cup, in the playoffs, in the finals and there's always pressure," Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask said. "I don't think it matters to us that we're at home. It definitely didn't look like it. We played a good first period, but when you're down 2-0, you try, you try, you try and nothing goes through, then, it's -- what can you do? That's how it goes sometimes. I don't think it was pressure."

Pressure or not, the Bruins couldn't generate much offense against the Blues during even strength action in the four matchups at TD Garden.

They were outscored 11-6 at even strength, including a 6-1 advantage for the Blues in Game 5 and Game 7 combined. Boston's power play was red-hot at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis, where the unit scored five times on 10 scoring chances and 16 shot attempts. In Boston, the power play scored only twice despite tallying 42 shot attempts and 22 scoring chances. The Bruins did not score on any of their four power-play opportunities in Game 5 and Game 7 combined.

 

The Blues also deserve a lot of credit for their performance on the road this series. This type of success for the Blues was not exclusive to the Cup Final. St. Louis finishes the playoffs with a 10-3 road record, tying the NHL record for the most road victories in one postseason run. They also are the fifth team ever to win a Stanley Cup on the road in Game 7. 

Playing at home is supposed to be a plus. You have all the advantages of feeding off the energy from your fans, sleeping in your own bed, a familiar pre-game routine, the luxury of the last line change for matchup purposes, among other benefits.

The Bruins got a tremendous early lift from the crowd in Game 5 and Game 7 but couldn't bury any of their many first-period scoring chances. This failure allowed the Blues to weather the early storms, settle in and take control of the pace and scoreboard.

"We were pretty excited to play here," Bruins forward Charlie Coyle said. "It's Game 7, play at home. I just wish we -- I don't know. I wish it was a different result, obviously, but we can't draw it up any better than a Game 7 in this building and being the home team, getting that opportunity."

It was a glorious opportunity that the Bruins wasted, and one that's going to sting for a very long time, especially when two of the last three Stanley Cup Final games were played in a building where they dominated throughout the 2018-19 season.

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