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Boston Bruins Slipping When It Counts

By Joe Drake

Throw it back a month or so and we were marveling at how well Boston was playing under the tutelage of new head coach Bruce Cassidy. We had gone beyond the typical 1 or 2 week boost a team might get from a change at the top and it was really starting to look like the Bruins were a changed team -- and changed for the better. We began to speculate that this Boston team wouldn’t collapse down the stretch or fall apart in the playoffs. After all, they were playing a new style of inspired hockey. Then, as quickly as the magic swept across the ice in Beantown, it slowly dissipated, game by game and suddenly, we were left with the same old Bruins we’d grown accustomed to the last few years. The very same Bruins that got the best coach in franchise history, Claude Julien, fired.

When the Bruins began to fade down the stretch, it was understandable, however, their lackluster playoff effort is not. After jumping out to a 1-0 series lead over the Ottawa Senators, the Bruins have quickly fallen behind in the series after a pair of weak performances. Monday night’s game is the perfect example. Boston was sluggish and lethargic at the drop of the puck, and the Senators, understanding that the playoffs had indeed begun, were more than happy to jump out to an early lead. Then, they added to it -- twice. It wasn’t long before the Bruins found themselves down 3-0 in Game 3 of a series tied a 1 game apiece. You don’t have to be Barry Melrose to understand that that’s not where you want to be. Then, something amazing happened, and the Bruins began playing hockey again.

Falling behind 3-0 in Game 3 sparked some life into Boston and they began to make a comeback. In fact, the Bruins matched all three of Ottawa’s goals and battled all the way back to tie the game. They continued the furious attack throughout the 3rd period before regulation ended with the game still knotted at 3. At that point, Boston’s momentum had begun to fade and nothing but a sense of dread accompanied the Bruins into the extra period.

Sure enough, the Senators notched another game-winning overtime goal without wasting much time. Boston dug themselves a huge hole, scratched and clawed their way all the way back to even, only to lose promptly in overtime. Sadly, this seems to be par for the course in Boston these days.

Over the past few years, Boston has been competitive, but hasn’t been able to get the job done and we’re seeing more of that in 2017. Despite cutting ties with former head coach Claude Julien, Boston’s problems with inconsistency have continued and always seem to rear their ugly head at the worst possible times -- like in the playoffs. Coming off a pair of OT losses, it seems like Boston’s Stanley Cup dreams are all but over this season as Ottawa has seized the momentum in this series with both hands.

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If that’s true and the Bruins are knocked out in the first round, it would behoove them to blow up the roster in the offseason and start anew. They’ve struggled through the inconsistency long enough and it’s gotten them nowhere but no man’s land -- not good, not bad, not really anything. That’s not going to win you a Stanley Cup.

With a new coach at the helm, it’s the perfect time to start the youth movement and rebuild the roster to win in the future. Mediocrity simply won’t cut it in Boston any longer.

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