CHICAGO - Two goals in 17 seconds.
That is a scene that the Bruins and their fans would like to forget.
By now its well known that the Bruins were nearly a minute away from forcing a Game 7 against the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final. Instead, goals from Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland - now a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs - put the Hawks ahead, and moments later celebrated their second Stanley Cup in four years on the TD Garden ice.
As a Bostonian roaming the streets of “The Windy City” many Chicagoans - fans, hostesses, waiters, waitresses, bartenders, cab drivers and everyone alike - are quick to remind Bruins fans about that moment.
“Seventeen seconds,” one customer at a local Chicago establishment said to a Bruins fan.
On Sunday afternoon, or Sunday morning central time, the Black and Gold get their first chance at erasing that memory at the United Center. But those “17 seconds” are still a painful memory for one Original Six franchise.
Don’t believe me? Just ask Milan Lucic.
“It hurts,” Lucic said at practice on Saturday at Johnny’s Ice House, about a half mile from the Blackhawks’ home arena on West Madison Street. “I’ve replayed [that game] in my mind since that moment. There’s always questions on what might have happened if it didn’t hit the post and went right on Bolland’s stick. You almost think what you could’ve done."
Think those 17 seconds are the only painful memory from that series? Think again.
In Game 1, the Bruins had a 3-1 lead over the Blackhawks at “The Madhouse on Madison” in the third period. But that was erased in the triple overtime thriller when Bolland and Johnny Oduya tied it up in the final stanza. Eventually, Andrew Shaw, who had several stitches inserted below his eye after taking a puck to the face in the first period of Game 6, scored the game-winner to end the thriller that lasted 112 minutes and 8 seconds.
“You look at Game 1, we’re up 3-1 with eight minutes left and they’re able to tie it,” Lucic said.
And then there’s Game 4. Granted, the Bruins took advantage of Corey Crawford’s glove malfunction at the TD Garden that night, but a win and a potential 3-1 series lead was there for the taking. Instead, Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook had different ideas after scoring another overtime winner and evened the series heading back to Chicago for Game 5.
“Being up 2-1 in the series and not taking care of business in Game 4 [hurt],” Lucic said. “Those were the type of things that haunt you at the summertime, and you replay it in your mind.
“It sucks thinking about it, and obviously you want to do whatever you can to move past it.”
Sunday is the first chance for the Bruins to move past that. A win would certainly help the cause as the two teams, despite the point differential in the NHL standings, are going in similar directions.
Whether it will be a topic of discussion back home in Boston remains to be seen - after all there is a certain football game in Denver that deservingly is taking the headlines all over the local and national sports media. But make no mistake, these two teams, are, once again, prime contenders to face off in the Stanley Cup Final in 2014.
"It was heartbreaking," said Patrice Bergeron, who suffered broken ribs and a collapsed lung in the last two games of the Final. "The last thing you want to do is go out there and lose when you're that close to meeting your goal for last season.
"It's the regular season, but its obvious that there's going to be some emotion there [tomorrow]."
Facebook photo gallery from Saturday's practice provided by Joe Makarski, Bruins Daily
The author is solely responsible for the content.