It was this time last week that the Bruins were flying high. They had just defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 the night before to give themselves a three-games-to-none series lead and leave themselves just one game away from the Conference Finals for the first time since 1992.
That’s when disaster struck.
They would lose the next game in OT and go on to lose the following two, leaving the series all tied up and to be decided in a Game Seven in Boston on Friday night.
How the Bruins got to this point is mind boggling.
Up until Game Four they had played with such confidence and poise that they had begun to show why they had underachieved during the regular season. They began to look like last year's team, which made its way all the way to the top of the Eastern Conference and one point away from the President's Trophy.
Times looked like they were beginning to change in Boston and folks had dreams of a possible Stanley Cup berth.
Well all those dreams have gone up in flames as the Flyers have roared back to tie the series up and force this Game Seven, which will occur tomorrow night at seven o'clock at TD Garden.
People can point to plenty of different reasons as to why this Bruins team has suddenly looked the worse for wear. They could blame it on fatigue or unpreparedness or even the coaching, but there are three key reasons why this team has fallen back down to Earth.
Injury to David Krejci
I think most people figured the Bruins would be hurt by the loss of David Krejci, they just didn't expect it to be at the magnitude that it is right now. Krejci was lost for the season after suffering a dislocated wrist after a big open-ice hit by Mike Richards in Game Three against the Flyers.
Before Krejci had been injured he had racked up four goals and another four assists in nine games. He had been one of the catalysts for the B's and his loss has hurt this team big time. His replacement, Trent Whitfield, has not been able to do the job and with Krejci gone the chances of the Bruins moving on has been dimmed considerably.
Lack of Discipline
They say teams sometimes try to send messages at the end of games when they are on the receiving end of a blowout. They want the other team to know they are not going to lie down and that next game they will be ready.
This is exactly what the Bruins didn't do in Game Five.
After getting outplayed all night and facing a 4-0 deficit in the third, the Bruins started to take uncharacteristic and stupid penalties. They hurt themselves even more and kept them from even having a chance at making a comeback. Claude Julien's teams aren't known for taking dumb penalties and for the Bruins to have any chance come Friday they have to do a better job at staying out of the box.
For most of the year the Bruins defense was the only reason that they were in games along with the goaltending. The offense struggled to score for most of the year, but the defense was always there to back them up.
Suddenly though the offense woke up in the playoffs and the D didn't have to be as strong as the regular season—although they were anyway. In the past couple of games, though, the offense has disappeared and so has the defense.
In yesterday's game the D had a chance to clear the puck out of the crease but instead whiffed on it every time, including Johnny Boychuck, who missed about five times. The Flyers came in and eventually scored on the Bruins miscue. That would end up being the difference as the Flyers scored a second while the B's were only able to muster one goal.
For the Bruins to have what it takes come Friday night they are going to need their defense to get back onto their games and do a better job of getting pucks out of the zone. If they are able to do that then maybe they will win and advance to the Conference Finals, because it has been much too long since the Bruins were that close to the Stanley Cup Finals.