It's the best time of year!
The Boston Bruins, without Captain Zdeno Chara, surrendered two goals in the first 2:20 of the first period in a must-win game. Two-plus hours later, they were booed off their own ice in a crushing 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens. Not exactly how David Krejci envisioned Game 2 playing out when he stated on Friday that the Bruins would win, huh?
A perplexed Claude Julien looked on as his uptight Bruins fell down 0-2 in their series against hated rival Montreal… a puzzling start for a team that was picked by many to at least reach the conference finals this spring. The last time they lost Games 1 and 2 at home was in 1995 against New Jersey.
Vezina Trophy candidate Tim Thomas has been out-dueled by Carey Price through the first two games. Thomas just has not mirrored his fantastic season, while Price has been money behind a stifling the defense, which looks a lot like the group that upset Washington and Pittsburgh at this time last year.
Sure, the absence of Chara due to dehydration didn’t help their cause; but even his presence wouldn’t have been enough in this one. Montreal’s back end simply sucked all of the air out of the Bruins’ offense by forcing most of their scoring chances to the perimeter, just like they did in Thursday’s 2-0 win.
You have to wonder if Julien is now coaching for his job for the rest of this series. After losing Game 7 on home-ice in 2009 and blowing a 3-0 second round series lead last spring, one could assume that another disappointing postseason exit could put him on the chopping block.
Though Thomas hasn’t played badly, does Julien turn to Tuukka Rask for Game 3 looking for a spark? What about inserting someone into the lineup that can provide some offense, like rookie Tyler Seguin?
Moreover, Boston’s top line has been thrown off their game. Krejci, along with Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton, have been ineffective as Montreal’s P.K. Subban is busy getting under their skin. Will Julien break those three up?
At this point, I would expect Julien to make all three of these changes. If none of them work, what other options does he really have?
It appears the Canadiens are in Boston’s heads. Not only did they win four of six in the season series (including all three at home), but they also hold the historical edge in 32 playoff meetings (24-8). In 2002 and 2004, when the Bruins were heavy favorites, the Habs upset them as the 8 and 7 seeds, respectively.
As the series shifts to the raucous Bell Centre, keep in mind that the B’s have never come back from a 0-2 series deficit.
Can anyone locate the panic button for the frustrated Bruins?
Photo credit: AP
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