What Happened to the Bruins?
What Happened to the Bruins? Less than a week ago, the Boston Bruins were dominating the Florida Panthers and thrilling Bruins fans by taking a 3-1 series lead in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs – and doing so relatively easily. After winning Game 1 by a score of 3-1, the Bruins lost Game 2 to Florida, but they surged back to win Games 3 and 4, putting Florida on the verge of elimination.
However, something significant has changed between Games 5 and 6. Florida won the fifth game of the series in overtime by a score of 4-3, and then, on Friday night in front of their home fans, they tied the series at three games apiece by scoring four goals in the third period en route to a 7-5 triumph.
Suddenly, Boston has lost two consecutive games, which is unusual; during the regular season, they had only one three-game losing sequence and two losing streaks of two games or more.
What Happened to the Bruins?
Certainly, the Panthers deserve recognition for their current standing. Not only are they capitalizing on the numerous opportunities the Bruins are providing, but they also have a veteran group that has been under immense duress for weeks, playing multiple must-win games to secure the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Florida has demonstrated remarkable resolve to force a seventh and final game on Sunday in Boston, and they will play Game 7 with relative ease. The Panthers have demonstrated that they are capable of giving the Bruins all they can manage as the spotlight has shifted to Boston’s issues.
The Bruins require improvement in virtually every area, including goaltending, where starter Linus Ullmark has been a one-man adventure story, and not in a positive manner. When he has been at his best, Boston has taken the series three times. When he has not – posting a save percentage of.840 or below in each of Florida’s three victories – the Bruins have underperformed.
Additionally, while scoring has not been an issue for Boston, five of their top nine forwards – Tyler Bertuzzi, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak are at least a minus-three. Plus/minus is a flawed statistic, but it can convey a story when used sparingly. In this instance, it indicates that Florida has tied the series by defeating Boston’s top players in three of six games.
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Would it be surprising if Boston won game seven? Of course not. There is a reason why most predicted that the Bruins would defeat the Panthers. Sunday night’s game could hinge on Boston’s extraordinary depth, as the Red Sox are stacked at all three of the most important positions. But if it doesn’t, well, let’s just say there will be some justifiedly enraged Bruins fans.
A Panthers victory in Game 7 would be one of the greatest shocks in the history of hockey. After their team’s unstoppable performance from October to April, Boston’s fans do not desire such an experience.
Due to Florida, the Bruins are presently quite vulnerable. That is a minor miracle, but an even greater one could occur one day.
The Bruins have lost two consecutive games, unusual for the regular season, and the Panthers have demonstrated remarkable resolve to force a seventh and final game. The Bruins need improvement in goaltending, scoring, and forwards, and a Panthers victory in Game 7 would be a shock to their fans.