Extra Beats: Lightning Win Game 5 3-1; End Bruins Season

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The Bruins lost 3-1 to the Lightning in Game 5 Sunday, losing their Eastern Conference semifinals series in five Games and just like that the 2017-18 Boston Bruins season is over. After a 112-point regular season and a seven-game series win over the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Bruins took Game 1 in Tampa Bay but were then simply outplayed and lost to the better team.

After one of the most boring periods of hockey in the Stanley Cup playoffs thanks to the suffocating Lightning defense, the Bruins gained a glimmer of hope that they may be able to extend the series when David Krejci buried home a power play goal at 19:12 of the opening frame to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead at the first intermission. That hope was shirt-lived though as the Bruins couldn’t generate any traffic in front of Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy (27 saves).

The Lightning capitalized on the frustrated and desperate Bruins and at 10:43 of the second period, Brayden Point tied the game after forcing B’s defenseman Kevan Miller to cough it up. JT Miller then tied the game on a power play just 3:17 later and the Lightning would not relinquish that lead again. Defenseman Anton Stralman added an empty-net goal with 1:29 left in regulation.

Tuukka Rask (19 saves) did what he could to help the Bruins prolong the series but his team just couldn’t get going in front of him.

 

1.) Stop Blaming Ref’s And Rask, Accept Tampa Bay Was Better

There is no doubt that the Lightning were beneficiaries of some questionable calls and non-calls in this series and the NHL needs to seriously review the shoddy at best refereeing that took place in the five game series. That however, did not lose the series for the Bruins; Tampa Bay won it. After the Bruins’ 6-2 win in Game 1, the Lightning took the series over with a relentless forecheck fueled by their blazing speed specifically through the neutral zone.

“They’re playing their game and we’re not playing ours,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said after a 4-1 loss in Game 3.

Well, the Bruins couldn’t play their game because the Bolts wouldn’t let them. The Bruins had no space out there and pressed plays that simply weren’t there to make. The better team won Game 5 and won the series folks. Time to accept that and stop blaming the ref’s and Rask who was by far the best Bruins player in this series.

2.) Marchand Stopped Licking. …And Playing

Did Brad Marchand not understand the message when he spoke to NHL Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell on Friday night after his team’s 4-3 overtime loss? Campbell said to stop licking players, not playing the game. After becoming a sideshow and detriment to his teamn throughout the series with the licking, whining and borderline hits and bad penalties, Marchand was a no-show in the biggest gamne of the year. The winger – who scored 34 goals in the regular season, was held pointless and without a shot in 23:46 and 25 shifts in Game 5. Marchand needs to once again ask himself if he’s going to be a leader and superstar or an afterthought of a pest. Yes he had 17 points in 12 playoff games but he wasn’t there when his team needed him most and instead seemed to be more concerned with himself.

3.) Too Little, Too Late From Krejci

The Bruins have been waiting for playoff Krejci to arrive in this postseason and in Game 5 he finally did. Krejci scored the team’s lone goal and played like the Krejci of Bruins playoff lore. Unfortunately, it was too little too late as the Bruins needed this performance for the first four games of the series too. For whatever reason, Krejci refuses to go into the corners like he used to. That was his bread and butter as he would free up the wingers in front and get the puck to them or battle himself out in front and snipe a goal. He needs to find that game again.

 

If only the Bruins had gotten more than three goals from Krejci, stats say they might still be playing.

4.) McAvoy Battles Through Rough Start

After losing his composure seven minutes into the game when he took a bad penalty out of frustration, rookie defenseman Charlie McAvoy had arguably his best game of the series. He played 26:49 and was a plus-1 with an assist on Krejci’s goal. He had three hits and was stellar on the Bruins blue line. The future is bright for this 20-year old rookie who had 32 points in his first regular season and added eight more in the playoffs.

5.) Power Play Needed To Be Better In The Clutch

Yes Krejci was able to bang home a power play goal but the Bruins needed to produce more on the man-advantage where they have been lethal in the playoffs. They ended up getting a great chance to tie the game late when Ryan McDonagh took a tripping penalty at 15:36, but the couldn’t convert and that basically sealed their fate. Boston ended up 1-for-3 on the power play in Game 5.

6.) Learning To Fly

Not much positivity in the Beats above but B’s fans should be happy that they have a team on the rise that is loaded with young talent at the NHL and amateur levels. This team is now just Learning To Fly and this season was an accomplishment nor a failure. It has been great writing these for you! See you next season!