Bruins’ top two lines fail to produce in series with Canadiens
During the regular season the Boston Bruins scored 258 goals, good enough for third in the league and first in the Eastern Conference. For the most part, the Bruins had no issues putting the puck in the net during the 2013-14 regular season. Unfortunately during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when the Bruins needed them the most, the goals were nowhere to be found.
You can blame whoever you want for the Bruins’ series loss to the Canadiens, but there are a few players in particular that simply didn’t do enough to get the job done, especially in Game 6 and Game 7.
The Bruins top two lines of Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Jarome Iginla, Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith struggled to light the lamp for the Bruins. The Bruins’ top-six combined for nine goals in the series with six of those coming from Iginla (3) and Smith (3).
After a 24-goal regular season campaign, the series with the Canadiens was one Lucic will want to forget. Lucic had just one goal — an empty netter in Game 2 — in the series and had just two shots on goal in the Bruins’ final three games of the series.
“It’s frustrating. I don’t know what else to say,” said Lucic. “We lost. We let our fans down. We had a great opportunity with a team like this, and like I said it’s a tough one to swallow.”
As much of a lack of a threat Lucic was, his line mate in the middle was equally as bad, if not worse. In previous playoff runs, Krejci has elevated his game when the lights are brighter and the games more meaningful. 2014 was not one of those years, and because of it, Krejci put a lot of blame on himself.
“But like I said, as a top centerman if you don’t put the puck in the net in two rounds you don’t give the chance to the team to win the game or the series,” said Krejci who finished the playoffs with no goals and four assists. “I felt like I could have put the puck in the net a couple times, but I didn’t so I didn’t do my job in the playoffs.”
Iginla got off to a slow start in the playoffs, but the future Hall-of-Famer started to heat up as the playoffs rolled along. Iginla scored twice in the Bruins final three games and had by far his best game of the series in Game 7. Iginla has been a part of many special groups during his 17 years as a pro, but he knew this group was different and really had a chance to finally get that Stanley Cup he’s dreamed of since he was a kid.
“So we didn’t take anything for granted, and you know before you suit up for a Game 7 that it’s going to be somebody, but when you’re playing it you always believe it’s going to be them. So it’s tough to take, it’s hard,” said Iginla. “You know the year has been a lot of fun, it’s been great here being with these guys, and like I say it’s as good a chance as I’ve had with a group. And it’s very hard to take today.”
No he’s not a top line forward and no he’s not looked upon to lead the Bruins as much as Krejci is, but Marchand has to take as much of the blame as Krejci is. The fifth-year forward was held pointless in the five games against the Red Wings and then managed to follow that up with just five assists against the Habs. It’s the first time in four opportunities that Marchand was held without a playoff goal.
“It’s very tough. I think the opportunities were there. Every game I had opportunities, but sometimes they go in sometimes they didn’t,” Marchand stated. “Maybe it was a lack of focus or I didn’t bear down enough, but I didn’t come up big when the team needed me and [it’s] very frustrating.”
Bergeron wasn’t great in the series against Montreal, but he wasn’t the worst. The Selke Award finalist was excellent at the faceoff dot and did manage to score some key goals for the Bruins.
At the end of the day the Bruins know they had a golden opportunity to do something special with a special group of guys. When they sit around this summer and look back at what wrong, a lack of production from their top two lines is what they should look at first.
Hear what the Bruins had to say following their Game 7 loss to the Canadiens Wednesday night in Boston: