Apr 25, 2012, 10:48 PM EDT
Three of the Boston Bruins’ four series required a Game 7 victory last year, so experience was on their side. If anyone’s shown how much experience can matter – that is to say, little sometimes – it’s playoff rookie/Washington Capitals hero Braden Holtby. He was up to the task in a razor-thin showdown that ultimately ended with a 2-1 Game 7 win in overtime, sending the Bruins to the golf course after a tight 4-3 series.
Tim Thomas wasn’t awful by any means, but it’s tough to argue that Braden Holtby didn’t at least equal his output. Even Holtby’s loudest supporters probably didn’t expect him to play as well as the reigning Vezina Trophy winner. Ultimately, Dale Hunter morphed the Capitals into a defense first second and last team and it worked well enough to beat the defending champions.
Who takes the blame?
The Bruins won the 2011 Stanley Cup with an awful power play, but they might look back at it with serious regret after this series. They only went 2-for-21 in this series and did next to nothing on a questionable man advantage late in the third period on Wednesday. Beyond the power play, the Bruins’ best line from last year didn’t do well with Nathan Horton on the sidelines full-time. Milan Lucic and David Krejci only managed three points apiece in seven games, which just wasn’t enough in a low-scoring series.
What will they do about it?
The Bruins’ core is more or less in place, but the biggest area of interesting potential change might be in net. Tuukka Rask needs a new contract while Tim Thomas will enter the final year of his deal in 2012-13. If Rask cannot fit under the cap, GM Peter Chiarelli might have a decision to make.
Either way, the Bruins will finish this season with regret, yet they probably won’t feel much pressure to make big changes.
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- Neely was ‘surprised’ that Hamilton didn’t want to sign with Bruins 6
- PHT’s 2015 free agent frenzy tracker 24
- NHL, Coyotes deny report that team is moving to Vegas 32
- Report: Richards’ border incident involved oxycodone 63
- Trade: Bieksa headed to California — but it’s Anaheim, not San Jose 25
- Trade: Jackets land Saad, Anisimov and Dano headed to Chicago 91
- Hamilton signs six-year deal with Flames 19
- Sharks get Jones from Bruins for first-round pick and unsigned prospect 42
- Hurricanes to buy out Semin 15
- Trade: Flyers send Rinaldo to Bruins for 2017 third-rounder (105)
- Trade: Jackets land Saad, Anisimov and Dano headed to Chicago (91)
- Bypassing a buyout? Kings terminate Richards’ contract for ‘material breach’ (90)
- Trade: Flames land Dougie Hamilton for package of picks (75)
- Trade: Busy Bruins send Lucic to Kings (66)