BOSTON - It's been a couple days since the Boston Bruins fell to the St. Louis Blues by a score of 4-1 in Game 7, which has given everyone time to process the loss. The Bruins won it all back in 2011, but they lost in the final in 2013, and now again in 2019. We're no strangers to losing here in Boston, but we're also accustomed to winning. And as cool as it would have been to have a third duck boat parade in the city this year for another championship, congratulations are definitely in order for the city of St. Louis, who has never experienced a Blues championship. But now the parade buses are parked, the Stanley Cup is off for its summer of adventures, and it's time to look back at the season that was.
Infamously, the Bruins began the season with a 7-0 loss to the Washington Capitals, but they quickly righted the ship with four consecutive wins. The start of the season was like three steps forward and four steps back for a while, as the team was constantly depleted from injuries. Eventually, when Boston got back to full strength, they went on a nineteen game streak without a regulation loss during the early months of 2019. The Bruins finished the regular season with 49-24-9 record for 107 points and second place in the Atlantic Division.
Earning a matchup with the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round of the playoffs, the Bruins came back to defeat them in seven and it seemed like they were primed to face one of the best regular season teams ever in the second round: the Tampa Bay Lightning. But the Lightning were swept and the Bruins instead handled the Columbus Blue Jackets in six games. Boston then swept the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Finals before eventually succumbing to St. Louis in seven games. It was a heartbreak ending to a fairy tale season that proved the Bruins had officially completed their rebuild and were once again a team to be reckoned with.
As for their players, Brad Marchand led the way with one hundred points on the season, thanks to thirty-six goals and sixty-four assists. David Pastrnak led the team in goals with thirty-eight and Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci also recorded over seventy points on the season.
The Bruins' roster was defined by its depth during the year, with defensemen like Charlie McAvoy and Torey Krug were able to add to the offence, while others like Joakim Nordstrom and Noel Acciari proved to be as much of difference makers as captain Zdeno Chara is. Of course, Boston's trade for Charlie Coyle ended up being a big move for the post-season, as he recorded 9 goals. It was also during the post-season when Boston fully embraced Tuukka Rask.
Rask had a bit of difficulty early in the season and it seemed like Jaroslav Halak was being groomed to replace him as the team's goalie. Ultimately, though, Rask regained his form and finished the season with a 27-13-5 record and a .912 save percentage and Halak finished at 22-11-4 and .922. In the post-season Rask's save percentage rose to .934.
While none of this proved to be enough for the ultimate prize, Bruins fans could come away with the consolation that their team was both deep and immensely talented. And while they're a bit banged up at the moment, there's no reason they can't make another run for the Cup - maybe this time successful - in the 2019-20 season. We'll definitely miss watching them play, though!
Image via Wikimedia / Lisa Gansky