Former Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau has had his share of playoff disappointments over the years and as coach of the Anaheim Ducks he experienced another on Saturday night when the Chicago Blackhawks built a four-goal lead before finishing off the Ducks 5-3 in Game 7 in Anaheim.
The Ducks owned a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference Finals, but lost Games 6 and 7 by a combined score of 10-5.
In his NHL coaching career Boudreau is now 1-6 in Game 7s – 1-3 with the Capitals and 0-3 with the Ducks. His last Game 7 victory came as coach of the Caps when Washington beat the New York Rangers on home ice in the first round of the 2009 playoffs.
Here is a transcript of Boudreau’s post-game news conference following Saturday night’s loss:
Bruce, did the Blackhawks progressively get better towards the end of this series? Did your team maybe go in the other direction?
Well, I don't know if we went in the other direction. But I do believe that the Blackhawks got better. They came out and got two goals in the first how many minutes. They're a tough team to catch up from.
Bruce, I don't know if you can articulate the disappointment. You can't seem to get over the hump. Tonight you were one game from the Stanley Cup Final. How do you recover from this? How does this team move on?
Well, we got four months. I'm sure they'll move on. I'm not going to lie, it's going to hurt for a while. We truly believe that we're a different team and we had a really good chance of winning five more games. Didn’t get done. You know, I mean, we'll have to live with that for the summer. But the same reason that these guys are great guys that came to play each and every night will be the same reason that they bounce back.
Bruce, the [Marian] Hossa goal [to make it 4-0], if they disallow that... Is everybody on the same page with that kicking motion thing? It seems to be it gets called differently over time.
You know what, yeah. But they played better than us in Game 7. I mean, would that have made a difference? It might have. I don't know. We might not have been in position to score if they don't score. But as far as the rule goes, I mean, I'm sure if they called it no goal on the ice, they wouldn't have overturned that either. So it's a tough call.
Bruce, from Day One you've said that you wanted your players to be able to play with everybody no matter how you mixed the lines up. How satisfied are you with how your players competed with each other tonight? How they played with each other?
Yes. You tried a few combinations. When things aren't working, you're down 3-0, 4-0, something's not working. You have to scramble it up and hope you can find lightning in a bottle.
That's what we've done all year, seemed to have a lot of success with it. Obviously it didn't work. I thought a couple adjustments made the different lines go better, but it wasn't enough.
It looked like the guys were having some tough times putting passes together early. Do you feel like you played with the kind of poise that you thought for a game of this magnitude?
They had so many odd-man rushes. We were trying to tell them to stay the course. We knew we needed goals. At the same time you can't just have five guys in front of the net and let them have breakaway after breakaway after breakaway. It's going to cost you in the end. I thought we lost our composure a little bit there. I thought we gained it back in the third period after we had to kill the five-on-three. Then when they scored the goal, it was just like, Hey, listen, if we don't throw everything at them, we're not going to have success.
This club has had a handful of Game 7 defeats in recent years. Does it leave you with a better appreciation of how difficult it is to get to the Cup and let alone win it?
I think I gained an appreciation this year for that, making it to where we did, on how tough every series is. You hear about it on TV. But until you really see how many hurdles you have to go through, it's really difficult. I thought we had a good chance to get to the dance, but obviously we didn't make it.
Bruce, it seems like [Ryan] Getzlaf struggled a little bit the last couple games against [Jonathan] Toews. What was it about that matchup that didn't play in his favor?
You know what, it's a hard question to answer. You're looking for me to say one guy is better than another guy. That's not the case. All I know is Ryan Getzlaf played for us very hard, and he is a great captain. He's the first one that's going to be wishing that things had turned out a little bit different 'cause he was ready to play, and he played his ass off or his heart out, whatever you want to call it. It didn't work in his favor today.
Bruce, how would you evaluate Freddie [Andersen’s] play throughout the playoffs as a whole and then in the recent games where he struggled a little bit more?
Throughout the playoffs, he was outstanding. I mean, it will be a question that I'll ask myself. Did he get tired? Did Chicago get much better? Were they getting better looks and chances to score on him? That, I don't know. I mean, I know we gave up 18 goals in the last four games, and we didn't give up 18 goals in the whole series, in the previous series. But, you know, I'm not laying any blame on Freddie. He kept us in so many games this year, it was ridiculous. He played his heart out, too. Sometimes things just don't work out. Not one of these guys said, Hey, I don't feel like playing in the next series. It's going to be June. They're going to feel it for a long time. They care so much. Sometimes you're playing against a good team, and they don't let you do the things you want to do.
Coach, back to Getzlaf. Was that something that Ryan and Corey [Perry] wanted? They wanted to match up lines?
No. Look, you have to win faceoffs to get your matchup. If you noticed in the first period and a half, they won all the faceoffs. Every time they won, they changed. The only option you have is to keep them on the bench. You're not going to keep Perry and Getzlaf on the bench when you need goals.
You've been in this situation before, losing Game 7 at home. Is there something tougher to swallow about this one than past experience?
It was closer to winning the Cup, so of course.