Bruins Beat: Bruins Must Play With Desperation!

Are Bruins fans prepared for a possible repeat of last year’s first-round playoff loss to the Florida Panthers? Or even more to the point, are B’s fans having nightmarish thoughts that like last year, when the locals lost the possible Game 5 clincher against the Florida Panthers, and they also lost that game in overtime, on home ice – just like they did this past Tuesday night versus Toronto. The overtime winning goal came at 2:26, off the stick of Toronto rookie Matthew Knies. In either case, the Bruins in Game 5 delivered a disaster of a game that if not for the stellar play of Jeremy Swayman (31 saves), would have been lost in the first period when the Leafs managed to outshoot Boston 12-2. The Bruins were unable to get much past Toronto’s goaltender Joseph Woll (27 saves), the former Boston College product, who stopped everything coming his way, with the single exception being Trent Frederic’s goalmouth scramble that tied the game 1-1 in the first. Periods two and three were a scoreless, dead heat standoff, during which the visitors still managed to dominate the game. 

In the post-game conference, coach Jim Montgomery was dead on with his summation: “We weren’t good enough, just as simple as that, and Toronto came out ready to play. They took it to us and we weren’t ready to match their desperation.” Despite the Leafs having to play without their sniper Auston Matthews, they managed to persevere by controlling much of the pace of the game. Boston continued to appear disjointed in much of their play, including their power play chances. There is an obvious need for Boston to instill the urgency of play that was so lacking in Game 5. Captain Brad Marchand didn’t mince words following the game, commenting: “We needed to be better than we were, they were prepared to play and start the game, and we weren’t. Unfortunately we never really got it together, we needed better urgency. We knew they were going to come and compete hard, it is what it is, you can’t dwell on it.”

Coach Montgomery should have to give little thought to his Game 6 starter, as Swayman is an easy choice with his steady, solid play. Swayman expressed his confidence, noting, “We saw an opportunity that we missed and we’re not going to let that happen again. So the motivation is completely internal, and it’s contagious in this locker room, and we’ll be a different team on Thursday. We all know what’s coming, and I can be more excited.” Look for the possible reshuffling of the Bruins’ lineup, with one of them maybe being the return of Kevin Shattenkirk on defense, and Johnny Beecher up front. The bottom line is a win in Thursday night’s Game 6 in Toronto tonight (Thursday 8:00pm) could end this nightmare, and punch the Bruins’ ticket to the second round, where they will have a chance to gain some revenge over the same Florida Panthers who took them to the cleaners in last season’s first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in seven games. A loss in Toronto on Thursday, and it’s back to Boston for Saturday night’s Game 7, in which anything can happen…and it’s not always good for the locals!

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