Bruins

Bruins' struggles at home proved costly in Stanley Cup Final loss to Blues

Bruins' struggles at home proved costly in Stanley Cup Final loss to Blues

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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Bruins' Jake DeBrusk 'more aware of what to expect' as RFA after watching McAvoy, Carlo

Bruins' Jake DeBrusk 'more aware of what to expect' as RFA after watching McAvoy, Carlo

BRIGHTON, Mass. — Jake DeBrusk will be one of 10 potential free agents for the Bruins when this upcoming hockey season comes to a close, and further complicating things, the 22-year-old will be a restricted free agent. DeBrusk is coming off a career-high 27 goals scored during the regular season and a fairly disappointing postseason when he managed just four goals and 11 points in 24 playoff games.

Of course, the hindsight breakdown of DeBrusk’s postseason also includes that he may have been playing through a bit of a fog after absorbing a Nazem Kadri cross-check to the face in the first round against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Still, after averaging 21 goals and 42 points in his first two NHL seasons, DeBrusk will be looking at a substantial raise next summer provided he can put together another season with those kinds of numbers. So the Bruins left winger was watching things fairly closely with Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy this summer knowing that it will be his turn a year from now when he’s a part of another talented restricted free agent class.

“Obviously that’s going to be my situation [as an RFA]. Hopefully not [as a holdout], but maybe, possibly next year just looking around the league you see different things with guys dragging it out,” said DeBrusk, who will be joined by Brett Ritchie and Matt Grzelcyk as next summer’s restricted free agents for the Bruins. “It’s one of those where you ask questions on the business side of it. Things change and different stuff happens with talks, but at the same time I mostly just try to stay out of it. I try to stay dialed in to get ready for training camp and the season. I guess when that time comes, though, I’ll be more aware of what to expect.”

Certainly guys like Carlo and McAvoy will be more than happy to pass on whatever pearls of wisdom they derived from their RFA situations with the Bruins this summer.

“I’d say just to remain calm and don’t be shocked by different things with the back and forth, and how long [the entire] process might take. For me I didn’t expect it to be that long. I was excited when the season was over to sign back real fast, but it took a little bit more time than anticipated,” said Carlo. “You just try to be as patient as you can, but it’s really hard to be patient in that scenario with your first larger deal off your entry level. [At the end of the day] you’ve done everything you can do up to that point, so just stay calm [in negotiations].”

One would expect that DeBrusk saw a couple of guys from his draft class, Brock Boeser (3 years, $17.625 million) and Travis Konecny (six years, $33 million), both top $5 million per season on second contracts they signed less than a week ago, and knows that kind of payday awaits him as well. Boeser is in a bit of a different class given his upside and production, but DeBrusk and Konecny are pretty comparable players provided DeBrusk surpasses 20 goals and 40 points this season.

B's focused on improving 5-on-5 this season>>>>>

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Highlights of the Bruins' 3-2 preseason loss to the Blackhawks

Highlights of the Bruins' 3-2 preseason loss to the Blackhawks

FINAL SCORE: Blackhawks 3, Bruins 2 (OT)

IN BRIEF: Swedish free-agent signee Par Lindholm scored his first goal with the Bruins but Patrick Kane's goal in overtime gave the Blackhawks a 3-2 preseason victory over the B's in Chicago. Ryan Fitzgerald scored the other Bruins goal. BOX SCORE 

BRUINS PRESEASON RECORD: 1-0-2

HIGHLIGHTS:

PATRICK KANE'S OT WINNER:

SWEDISH CONNECTION: OSKAR STEEN TO PAR LINDHOLM IN 3RD:

BRANDON SAAD BEATS MAXIME LEGACE FOR CHICAGO LEAD:

B'S RYAN FITZGERALD TIES IT AT 1 ON A PENALTY SHOT:

DYLAN STROME ON THE POWER PLAY GETS HAWKS ON BOARD:


UP NEXT:
Vs. Flyers, Monday, 7 p.m., NESN Plus

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