Missed opportunities. Not talking to that hot girl at the bar that keeps looking your way, not studying abroad in college, and going 2-for-23 on the power play in a seven game series. All missed opportunities. Wednesday night saw the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins lose Game 7 in overtime to the Washington Capitals. The reason the Bruins lost this series- you guessed it- missed opportunities.
The most noticeable missed opportunity came within the first minute of overtime. Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg took a shot that ricocheted off of Washington goaltender Braden Holtby, and bounced over to Patrice Bergeron. Bergeron, who had a wide open net, couldn’t corral the bouncing puck and his attempt to end the game and Washington’s season, went wide left. Unfortunately, for the Bruins, Bergeron had been playing with an undisclosed injury that he suffered in Game 5. Bergeron said he won’t use his injury as an excuse but a healthy Bergeron more than likely would have netted the game winner.
“It exploded,’’ Bergeron said. “It just rolled on my stick and the puck was bouncing. I just tried to go quick because there wasn’t a lot of time. The puck wouldn’t settle.’’
As was the story last year, but with better results, the Bruins could not get their power play going. They went 2-for-23 during the series and 0-3 in Game 7. Washington’s Jason Chimera gave the Bruins a chance to win the game in regulation when with 2:26 left he was whistled for a holding penalty. But the Bruins, who had gone 0 for 2 on the power play earlier in the night, only mustered one shot on Holtby, and would squander their final man advantage opportunity of the year.
The eventually game winning goal came off the stick of Capitals’ forward Joel Ward, a man who had scored only six goals during the regular season. Just 2:57 into the overtime period Ward whacked in a rebound shot past Tim Thomas to give Washington a 2-1 victory and advancing them to the second round of the playoffs.
“It’s the foot soldiers,” said Capitals coach Dale Hunter. “They’re the ones, you win the series with them.”
Before last year’s incredible Cup run, Boston fans had said it for 39 years and now they’ll utter those four little words again, “There’s always next year.”