There’s no denying that the Boston Bruins lacked a killer instinct in Game 5.
With a chance to close out the series against the Toronto Maple Leafs – and gain a few extra days of rest – the Black and Gold came out flat and played uninspired hockey for a majority of the 60 minutes. Zdeno Chara made things interesting with his first of the playoffs late in the third period, but the could not solve James Reimer (43 saves) and were unable to close out the series with the 2-1 loss Friday night at the TD Garden.
That’s a perfect reason for concern with Bruins fans after Friday’s showing. With the loss, the Bruins dropped to 3-7 in closing situations during a non-Game 7 under sixth-year coach Claude Julien.
But perhaps there’s a silver lining to all of this. Outside of the Flyers collapse in 2010, the B’s have done quite well bouncing back in the next game.
During the 2011 Stanley Cup run, they had a chance to finish off the Canadiens and Lightning in six games, but couldn’t finish the job. However, they were able to finish off those respective series thanks to Nathan Horton’s game-winner en route to the Stanley Cup Finals.
The same thing happened in 2010 in the pre-Philly meltdown. With a chance to upset the arch-rival Buffalo Sabres, the Bruins fell in Game 5 and had to wait until Game 6 to pull off the first round upset.
With a veteran locker room behind him, Julien is pretty confident in his team’s ability to face resiliency and bounce back. And he thinks his team is capable of doing that again when they face the Leafs Sunday night.
While some of the pieces from the 2011 team are no longer with the squad, there’s a good reason to rally behind this veteran laden squad.
The snowball effect from 2010 is long behind them and has been for quite some time. But that doesn’t mean they continue to learn from that failure, even two years removed from their sixth Stanley Cup.
“It’s ok to talk about it. We won the year after, so it’s ok,” said forward Milan Lucic with a chukle.
“That year in 2010 was almost a snowball effect. The won in overtime and then they came here and won 4-0. It just got bigger and bigger and we couldn’t stop it.”
After a solid third period, the Bruins hope to carry that over into Game 6 inside a raucous Air Canada Centre.
With their season on the line, the Leafs will come out with desperation, much like they did in Game 5. But with a second chance to close out the series, the Bruins should still feel confident heading in to their Mother’s Day tilt.
“I haven’t heard any doubt here. I think we’re a pretty confident group in here. We should be, because we’re up 3-2,” enforcer Shawn Thornton said to ESPN Boston’s James Murphy. “We’re a good team, and we just have to figure out a way to win one more game.”