The Boston Bruins looked like overachievers in the defining, deciding stretch of their 2013-14 regular season. As a consequence, they set themselves up to wear an underachiever label in the playoffs upon spilling a seven-game second-round series to Montreal to determine who would represent the Atlantic Division in the Eastern Conference Finals.
A 3-1 falter on home ice in Wednesday's Game 7 magnified a missed opportunity to put the Canadiens away in Game 6 two nights prior. It will also serve to neutralize some of the flavor from the Bruins' preceding achievements.
Virtually everything that precipitated the letdown is going to cost the team a few points across its report card. Just as springtime papers and tests carry more weight in high school and college courses, springtime performances tend to count a little more in the NHL. Although, that does not mean the plus points and the context of those accomplishments should be dismissed.
As 2013’s losing Stanley Cup finalist, Boston entered this season facing the automatic challenge of warding off residual wear and tear. The middle of the journey featured the test of overcoming a multitude of key injuries, particularly on defense.
The Bruins kicked ice chips over that adversity by finishing first overall in the league at 54-19-9. Their 117 total points eclipsed those of six Western Conference teams with triple-digit points. Part of that was because they went 18-4-6 against that conference.
But those ice chips melted against Montreal. In turn, this particular construct of the Boston roster will not have a chance to test itself against the best of the West next month.
With balanced priority to the buildup and breakup, here is a full evaluation of the Bruins in 2013-14.
Unless otherwise indicated, all statistics for this report were found via nhl.com