The Boston Bruins have two days to figure out what went wrong in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks, a 4-3 triple-overtime loss on Wednesday night for the Bruins, but it shouldn't be much of a mystery.
The B's uncharacteristically blew a two-goal lead in the third period. Even worse, they missed a precious chance to steal home-ice advantage away from the 'Hawks.
Much will be made about this mini-meltdown between now and Saturday, June 15, when the puck is dropped for Game 2. Receiving the brunt of the blame will be Boston's depth players, who failed to make an impact in an especially long contest.
Andrew Shaw's winner at 12:08 of the third OT period ended the fifth-longest game in #StanleyCup Final history.— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) June 13, 2013
There's no one else to blame the loss on, really.
No one is going to point the finger at Tuukka Rask, who faced down 63 shots on goal through three overtimes. Nor is anyone going to place the blame on the broad shoulders of Milan Lucic, David Krejci or Nathan Horton.
Tuukka Rask's 59 saves was the most in a #StanleyCup Final game since Patrick Roy (COL) recorded 63 in 1996's series-clinching Game 4.— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) June 13, 2013
Lucic had a hand in all three Boston goals while Krejci and Horton were both dangerous on nearly every shift. The big names were there for the Bruins.
Boston's defense pulled its weight as well, collectively blocking 40 Chicago shots before they even got to the net.
The names you want to see show up in the box score were there—they just required a touch of support from the other nine forwards on the Boston roster.
Throughout these playoffs, the second line of the Bruins has gotten off scot-free due to the outright dominance of Krejci, Lucic and Horton. Jaromir Jagr, meanwhile, wasn't brought to Boston to post zero goals through his 16 games played.
Jags mustered just one shot on goal in Game 1 and couldn't match the likes of Chicago's Marian Hossa in terms of desire or output.
Assists are fine and dandy, but Boston needed a big-time play from someone other than the "Big Three," especially with Horton out with an apparent upper-body injury in overtime.
No one, however, answered the call or pounced on the chance to be a hero despite plenty of opportunities.
There was Tyler Seguin, who played another outstanding game while failing to find the back of the net. The kid has been snakebitten throughout the playoffs, and Game 1 would have been a spectacular moment to break through.
Yet none of his eight shots found the twine.
Daniel Paille, who received several outstanding chances via ridiculous outlet passes from Chicago's defense, couldn't find a way to beat Corey Crawford either. The way Andrew Shaw and Dave Bolland looked in Game 1, odds are they would have scored on similar chances.
All in all, that was the difference in Game 1.
While the 'Hawks received four goals from players not on their top line, Boston only had two points from players not named Krejci, Lucic or Horton.
Chicago is deep and talented, but so are the Bruins. They shouldn't have to worry about whether or not a player like Seguin or Rich Peverley can find the back of the net on nights like Game 1 in Chicago.
That makes the key to a Game 2 victory for the Bruins a simple one: Boston needs goals from sources other than its top line.
Seguin needs to score his first goal since Game 4 of Round 2 against the Rangers. Worthy of note is that before that game, No. 19 had gone 10 playoff games without a goal.
Jagr needs to score his first goal of the playoffs. Sure, he's 41 years old, but Jags has had as many solid looks as anyone on Boston's top line. The difference is that he hasn't been able to finish his outstanding chances.
If Chicago continues to receive timely goals from players like Johnny Oduya while Boston's depth guys continue their general playoff no-show, this series could be over sooner rather than later.