The Bruins held Chicago’s most dangerous weapons off the scoreboard. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)
The Bruins played a near perfect game against the Blackhawks.
A visibly frustrated Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews was held to zero points. Same for superstar Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, and Brent Seabrook. Artemi Panarin, held to just one shot and two attempts in 22:49 of time on ice, was practically smothered to death by the Bruins.
For 58 minutes — no, strike that, a full 60 minutes — the Bruins did everything they had to do and more to shut the Hawks’ top talents down. But sneakily buried on the Blackhawks’ third line, it was Marian Hossa that made something out of nothing with a game-winning goal scored with just 1:26 left in the third period of a 1-0 final.
“I think we competed hard but then again you’re dealing with some growing pains and we had an icing late in the game so that’s not necessary, but the winning goal that goes through three of our guys and it’s in our net with a minute-and-a-half left,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said after the loss. “We have to stand there again, take the responsibility for our own actions. It’s unfortunate because that minute-and-a-half that was left in the game kind of tarnished everything we had done for the first whatever – 58 minutes. I thought we played pretty well against a good team.
“We had contained the guys that we needed to contain.”
It just so happened that Hossa’s goal was the worst possible break for the Bruins in that it was a three-on-four effort that sees a puck goes through three Bruins players en route to the back of Tuukka Rask’s net. It’s a script so bad it could only fit this year’s Bruins team as a team that’s become the embodiment of the anything that can go wrong will go wrong philosophy.
“They were playing faster, and a play at the end ends up in the back of our net with a minute left and a disappointing finish to, you know, what we thought we played a pretty solid game all around,” Torey Krug, one of the players on the ice for the goal, said. “But time and time again — we’re not in it for moral victories. We’ve got to start plucking points if we want to stay in this thing.”
And that’s what this really comes back down to for the Bruins.
This team is beyond the point of moral victories. They exited when 2016 became 2017. This is a Bruins team that’s in a straight-up dogfight for a playoff spot, and things are not looking good, especially with losses in seven of their last 10 games.
“These are the kind of games you kind of have to learn to win,” Rask, who made 21 saves in the loss, said. “When it’s a low-scoring game in the third period, and it’s just one of those things. They made a nice play at the end and got rewarded, and we didn’t.
“But we just have to stick the course, and keep plugging away.”