NBC Sports analyst Pierre McGuire joined the Mut & Merloni show Thursday morning to talk about the Bruins' Game 7 loss to the Capitals.
"I was here when Boston lost to Carolina in a Game 7 [in 2009] and it was just an amazingly similar, eerie feeling last night, obviously, when Joel Ward scored on the rebound," said McGuire, a former NHL coach and executive.
Looking at reasons for the Bruins' disappointing first-round exit one year after they won the Stanley Cup, McGuire said there are a number of factors to consider.
"I'm not making excuses for the Bruins, but no Nathan Horton, no Mark Recchi, no Michael Ryder, and probably two or three guys up front that weren't 100 percent makes it a big problem to try to win," he said. "That's a suffocating style you're playing against, and when the opposition gets a lead, it's an extremely difficult style to play against. The fact that the Bruins were able to force a Game 7 after they lost Game 5 on home ice and win a Game 6 in Washington speaks to their character.
"Last night I talked to one of the players during the game during a TV timeout, he says, 'We just have no energy.' And I really believe that. I think some guys were just totally drained."
Ultimately, McGuire said, it was a combination of a solid Washington defense and a woeful Boston power play.
"First of all, Braden Holtby was phenomenal in goal," McGuire said. "He did a 1971 Ken Dryden impersonation. He really did. He was phenomenal in goal, No. 1. And his best game wasn't Game 7, by the way. The Capitals defense was really spectacular in Game 7. They clogged the lanes, Washington did. They got protection around the house. There weren't a lot of second- and third-chance opportunities. And really, there weren't a lot of opportunities to get those because Holtby's rebound control was so good.
"The biggest thing to me, if I could point at one thing offensively on the Bruins, their power play. The power play was dreadful again last night, 0-for-3, they have a chance in the last few minutes of the game to win the whole series on the power play, they only get one shot on goal, and that's from the neutral zone from Brian Rolston. So, you really think about it, just not very good on the power play. You can't be going 0-for-3, 0-for-4 on the power play virtually every game and expect to win games. You can't."
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