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Canadiens bounce Bruins in Game 7

05.14.14 at 9:49 pm ET
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The Presidents’ Trophy will have to do, as the Bruins were eliminated in the second round by the Canadiens Wednesday night. The Canadiens started stronger and finished better as they upset the No. 1 seeded Bruins by taking a 3-1 victory in the winner-take-all Game 7.

The Bruins had a nightmare of a first period, turning the puck over seven times and seeing Dale Weise sneak behind Matt Bartkowski and tap a pass from Daniel Briere past Tuukka Rask just 2:18 into the game. The Bruins were dominated throughout the first 20 minutes but survived — including the killing off of two penalties — having just allowed the one goal.

Brad Marchand was penalized for spraying Carey Price on the first shift of the second period, so the Bruins didn’t get a chance to push back until they killed off the minor penalty. That push came about four minutes into the period, but their best chances fell short as Price stopped Patrice Bergeron on a two-on-one and David Krejci shot the puck over the net after taking a drop pass from Jarome Iginla.

Boston’s push would prove to be for naught, as a collection of breakdowns led to David Desharnais feeding Max Pacioretty alone at the right circle and Pacioretty send the puck past a diving Rask to make it 2-0.

Though the Bruins had only one shot on a power play that they received less than two minutes later, they got another chance when Pacioretty was whistled for holding the stick at 16:05 and they capitalized when Jarome Iginla redirected a Torey Krug shot past Price to get the Bruins on the board.

The Bruins were forced to kill off a David Krejci holding the stick penalty late in the second period, which carried over into the first 1:14 of the third period. Iginla hit yet another post on a chance to tie the game about four and a half minutes into the third period. Iginla had plenty of space after getting the rebound of a Krejci shot, but his sliding bid hit the right post to contribute to Boston’s double-digit post count for the series.

The backbreaker came in the final five minutes, when Johnny Boychuk took an interference penalty in the neutral zone following a Krejci giveaway in the offensive zone. That led to a power play goal that saw a puck from Briere go off Zdeno Chara‘s skate and in to make it 3-1 with 2:53 remaining.

The Canadiens will advance to play the Rangers in the Eastern Conference finals. The Bruins will have the offseason to mull a promising season that ended short of expectations.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

— Boston’s young defensemen — particularly Bartkowski and Kevan Miller — got worse as the series went on.

Bartkowski was a disaster on the shift on which Weise scored. After Gregory Campbell won the faceoff in the neutral zone, Bartkowski tried to send the puck in deep, but Andrei Markov intercepted it and the play went the other way. With the puck deep in Boston’s zone, Bartkowski was looking in the corner rather than keeping an eye on Weise in front, allowing the Montreal fourth-liner to sneak by him and catch Briere’s pass.

Miller took himself out of position to go for a hit on the shift of the Pacioretty goal. Miller was still tangled up with his man when Desharnais got the puck all by himself, leaving Krug alone to defend Desharnais and Pacioretty. Desperate, Krug dove to try to break up the pass but was unsuccessful.

Patrice Bergeron flubs are rare on any part of the ice, and his whiff on the puck was what allowed Desharnais to create Pacioretty’s goal. Thinking the puck was going the other way, Boston’s other forwards were headed up ice, so when Bergeron missed and the puck went the other way, it was trouble.

— The Bruins knew that officiating might be an issue given that Dave Jackson (who called the penalty-filled Game 2) was working the game, and that’s what they got. Marchand was called for goaltender interference when Markov appeared to send him into the net, with other barely callable penalties (Marchand’s spray, David Krejci holding the stick of Lars Eller late in the second period) forcing the B’s to kill off penalties rather than try to even the score.

— As bad as the Bruins were in the first period, they did have some chances. Iginla and Boychuk were able to get shots off with clean looks, but Reilly Smith blew a potential opportunity by trying to pass to Bergeron (which was broken up) rather than throwing the puck on Price and getting a rebound that Bergeron may have gotten to.

The best opportunity came with less than a minute and a half left, when Brad Marchand fired the puck over the net on the doorstep.

— The Bruins never got the chance to see what they could do with Dennis Seidenberg back in the lineup. Seidenberg began taking contact Monday as the veteran defenseman moved closer and closer to a potential return. Seidenberg would have figured to be a major boost for a Cup run, but instead he will serve as perhaps the biggest “what if?” of a woefully disappointing finish.

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