Bruins have tables turned, go out in heartbreaking fashion

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com

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The Boston Bruins were a minute and a half from forcing a Game 7 back in Chicago to decide who would hoist the Stanley Cup. They had a 2-1 lead and the Blackhawks' net was empty, just 90 seconds between them and one more game.

Then something funny happened. The Bruins got a taste of their own medicine; they got Toronto'd.

OK, so it wasn't quite to the same extent, but given the circumstances, it was pretty darn close.

You remember way back in the first round when we had probably the game of the playoffs, right? The Bruins were in a Game 7 battle with the Maple Leafs, trailing 4-1 with about 10 minutes to go in the game. They scored once to make it interesting before coming down to the last 90 seconds still trailing by two. Then they scored not once but twice more to force overtime where they eventually won. One of the most amazing comebacks you could ever see saved their postseason and pushed them on their way to a run to the Stanley Cup Final.

Ironic how what got them there came back to bite them. If Bruins players (or Maple Leafs players and their fans) didn't believe in karma before, perhaps they do now.

"Yeah, we've done it to somebody else. We know how it feels to be on the other side," goaltender Tuukka Rask said. "It's shocking. Sometimes momentum builds and that's what happened."

"Probably toughest [ending he's ever experienced] for sure, when you know you're a little bit over a minute left and you feel that you've got a chance to get to a Game 7, and then those two goals go in quickly," Bruins coach Claude Julien added. "But I would probably put the Toronto comeback maybe a little crazier than that because we had to score four goals to win that game."

Not far off either way. As thrilling as that win was over Toronto, that's how crushing the Game 6 defeat was for Boston on Monday night.

To chalk it up to just karma coming back to collect its toll for the first round would be the cheap way out. Credit certainly goes to Chicago, the same way Boston deserved credit against Toronto. Chicago didn't give up when trailing and pushed all the way to the end.

But no finish like that is devoid of some letdown, of some breakdown. The first goal, the game-tying score from Bryan Bickell, was tough. The Blackhawks were very strong on the forecheck and had a very timely pinch from defenseman Duncan Keith. Again, credit to the Hawks on that one.

However the second, go-ahead goal from Dave Bolland just 17 seconds later? No way should he have been allowed to sneak behind the defense and get right next to the goal like that. It was a small but obviously key miss on the Bruins' D.

What the Bruins are really going to rue is the first period. They had their chances -- lots and lots of chances -- to take greater advantage of a completely dominant 20 minutes, but instead led just 1-0. It was so close to being 2-0 but David Krejci couldn't finish an attempt from right in the crease. You can thank the 90-degree temperature in Boston and the effect it had on the ice for that.

The Bruins have little to hang their heads over -- they were worthy champions of the Eastern Conference this season, simply dismantling the Penguins in the conference finals -- and even though they won just two games in the Stanley Cup Final, they were half of what made this series so great, one that we will remember for many years.

It was a tough but almost fitting end, though. The Bruins went down the same way they survived; in thrilling yet heartbreaking fashion.

 
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