Seventeen seconds will haunt the Bruins the entire offseason and perhaps beyond that. Boston had gone up 2-1 on Milan Lucic’s goal with 7:49 left in the third period of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden and looked poised to force what would likely be an unforgettable seventh game on Wednesday in Chicago. Unfortunately for Boston, the Blackhawks had other plans as Bryan Bickell tied it with 1:16 left then Dave Bolland scored the Cup-clinching goal just 17 seconds later, sliding it by Tuukka Rask (28 saves). Chicago beat Boston 3-2 to capture its fifth Cup in franchise history and second in the last four seasons.
Asked to compare this feeling to what they experienced after rallying to beat Toronto, 5-4, in overtime in Game 7 of the quarterfinals, Rask said “yeah well we’ve done it to somebody else, so we got to feel how it feels being on the other side. We made it a great run. Too bad we just couldn’t finish it off.”
The Blackhawks earned it by winning the last three games of the series after trailing 2-1 following Boston’s 2-0 shutout victory in Game 3.
“All of a sudden, you felt like so much weight was on your back,” Bruins center David Krejci said about the stunning comeback by Chicago. “I’ll be replaying the last two goals for a while, I don’t know what happened.”
Chicago forward Patrick Kane was named the Conn Smythe trophy winner (playoff MVP) after finishing with nine goals and 10 assists.
This felt like such a cruel loss for the Bruins since they scored first then broke the 1-1 deadlock late in the third period when it looked like another overtime session was on the horizon. Chris Kelly was the unlikely finisher of a beautiful tic-tac-toe passing sequence at 7:19 from Tyler Seguin and Daniel Paille. Boston will also regret all the great scoring opportunities they had in the first period that they couldn’t take advantage of. Going 0-for-4 on the power play didn’t help matters either.
In the postgame Bruins locker room, Patrice Bergeron – who played a full workload (17:45) in Game 6 – admitted that he had a separated shoulder and torn cartilage in his ribs which forced him out of Game 5. Boston head coach Claude Julien didn’t want to get into specific injuries (he hinted that captain Zdeno Chara was hurt as well) since he knew that both teams were banged up but he couldn’t hide the pride he felt for his team.
“If you looked at who we played again, they were deep and got stronger as the series went on,” Julien said. “I’m so proud of our team and how they’ve battled through a lot. This is a great group of guys, it’ll take a little while to realize our accomplishment but right now it doesn’t feel good.”
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter @RichSlate