The Bruins took a baby step forward this season, making the playoffs for the first time in three years. But some harsh reality hit them in the face Sunday at TD Garden.
The B’s are still far from a legit Cup contender, and that was made clear in Ottawa’s 4-2 first round series win. Ottawa advances to face the New York Rangers in the second round as it dumped the Bruins in overtime of Game 6, 3-2.
David Patrnak was called for a holding penalty just five minutes and 54 seconds into OT, and 36 seconds later Ottawa’s Clarke MacArthur ended the Bruins’ season on a play set up by Derick Brassard.
The Bruins led early in Game 6, but a pair of second period goals by the Senators changed the entire complexion of the contest.
On a power play, Bobby Ryan took advantage when Zdeno Chara inadvertently screened Tuukka Rask. Ryan, who was all over the ice for the Sens in the series, popped one past Rask and five minutes later Kyle Turris also beat the B’s netminder. Drew Stafford could not clear the puck on the play, and Turris ended up with a wide open look.
The B’s did show fight throughout the series and in Sunday afternoon’s abrupt season finale. Boston killed off three straight penalties before a first period goal by Stafford, in which he and Charlie McAvoy showed great patience with the puck.
The B’s scored their second goal of the game in the third period by taking advantage of a lazy change by Ottawa. Patrice Bergeron was right in front of Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson to clean up a Brad Marchand shot.
Anderson made 28 saves in Game 6 while Rask made 26.
The Bruins played Game 6 without center David Krejci, who was hit on the knee on a leg check by Ottawa defenseman Chris Wideman in Game 5 on Friday night.
The Bruins were clearly irked by Wideman’s hit, which was not penalized.
“Right after [the hit], Wideman chirped him right away,” Brad Marchand told WEEI.com. “It’s just pretty classless to do something like that when you know you hurt a guy on the ice. Krejci is a pretty tough player, he can play through just about anything. But I guess that’s part of the game. It happens a lot out there.”
The Bruins missed Krejci, who scored 23 goals and had 31 assists during the regular season.
The Bruins caught plenty of flak for firing Claude Julien during the Patriots' Super Bowl parade, but most B's fans would agree it was ultimately the right decision. The Bruins went 18-8 down the stretch of the regular season under interim head coach Bruce Cassidy and were very competitive during the Ottawa series (four of the six games went to overtime).
Bruins management must now decide whether or not to remove Cassidy's interim tag.