B's lament missed opportunities in 1st period

B's lament missed opportunities in 1st period
June 25, 2013, 1:45 am
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BOSTON -- After 20 minutes, perhaps the Bruins let the Chicago Blackhawks hang around too long.

Boston took a 1-0 lead into the second period of Game 6 on Monday night. And it probably should have been more than that.

At the very least, the Bruins should have had a 2-0 lead after the first 20 minutes in what was a do-or-die game for them. Instead, the B's couldn't bury all of their chances, and the Blackhawks were able to hang around.

And the longer the Blackhawks hung around, the greater their chances of leaving Boston with the Stanley Cup.

"We played a really good game the first period," said Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk after their Game 6 loss. "We could have been up 3-0, but we were only up one. They tied it up and [Lucic] scores that big goal. They pulled their goalie and tie it up, and we lose."

That summed it up. The final 1:16 of Game 6 turns out to be the most frustrating aspect of the night for Boston. Mainly because the Bruins were just minutes away from forcing a Game 7 back in Chicago.

The way it ended -- two Blackhawks goals in the final 1:16 -- was heartbreaking. But the way it began could have made all the difference.

"Obviously when you look at the first period, it could have been maybe 2, 3-0," said Bruins coach Claude Julien after the loss.

In the final minute of the first period, the break that Boston needed to get, certainly didn't go its way.

Up 1-0, Brad Marchand led the rush down the left side of the ice, and as he got to the top of the left circle, he undressed Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson with a filthy toe drag and then sent a pass across the slot to David Krejci, who was skating hard to the far, right post.

Krejci had the net wide open, and the pass was nearly perfect, but he couldn't get a good piece on it, and his re-direction didn't even hit the net.

"Rolling pucks on the one where David Krejci missed the pass If that puck is flat, it's an automatic goal," said Julien. "But that's the name of the game. You make your own breaks, and sometimes they go your way, sometimes they don't."

Having outshot the Blackhawks 12-6 in the first period of Game 6, the Bruins couldn't capitalize on their opportunities to put Chicago away early.

As a result, injuries crept up on the B's in the second period.

"We lost a lot of stream in the second period," said Julien. "Jagr left the bench and we had to shorten the bench. At the pace of this game and how hot it's been and everything else, it took a toll on our players. We kind of regained a little bit in the third and especially when we scored that go-ahead goal, it seemed if we could survive that we'd give ourselves a chance here. But unfortunately, as you know, it didn't happen."

And when they look at the tape, they'll realize Game 6 -- and ultimately the Stanley Cup -- was lost on missed opportunities in the first 20 minutes on Monday night.