bruins blog

Bruins Sloppy Defense Allows Canadiens to Force Game 7

GIF: Kevan Miller's giveaway leads to the Habs' fir... on Twitpic

The silver lining for the Bruins on Monday? At least they werenít the team down 3-2 in the series, and still have one more chance to knock off the Canadiens.

Montreal dominated the Bruins in every sense of the word in Game 6, as the Canadiens cruised to a 4-0 win to force a winner-take-all Game 7 Wednesday in Boston.

The Bruins defense had their worst game in recent memory, with sloppy play all around leading to three of the Canadiens four scores on the night.

Continue Reading Below

It was a bad omen for the Bruins defense when, just over two minutes into the game, Torey Krug had a bad pass go off of Kevan Miller behind Bruins net and the puck squirted out front.

Trying to redeem his mistake, Miller ended up making it worse, as he inadvertently tripped up Tuukka Rask, leaving the net wide open for Lars Eller to easily backhand the puck in and give Montreal the early lead.

After the Bruins gained some momentum in the second period, it all went south with under five minutes to play, when the Bruins were attacking in the Montreal zone and Nathan Beaulieu flipped the puck out to center ice to slow the game down.

Dougie Hamilton was expecting to corral the puck in his body, but Loui Eriksson tried to glove the puck down and it skipped forward to Max Pacioretty, who blew through Zdeno Chara and into the Bruins zone.

Looking at the replay, it appeared that Chara and Rask had a moment where Rask expected Chara to chase Pacioretty down, while Chara thought Rask would come out and play the puck before Pacioretty controlled the bounce.

Neither happened for the Bruins, and the Montreal forward skated in and easily beat the unprepared Rask five-hole to double the Canadiensí lead.

Fast forward to the third period, when a last-ditch chance to get back in the game went horribly wrong for the Bruins, as Rask skated for the bench to get the extra attacker on with four minutes to play in the third period.

Before he reached the door, Matt Bartkowski coughed up the puck at the red line, and no sooner could Rask turn around to try and get back than Thomas Vanek had shot the puck into the vacated net to clinch the game and guarantee a Game 7.

Meanwhile, the Canadiens really stepped up their defense in the contest, as they were attacking the Bruins every chance the Bís got in the Montreal zone.

The Canadiens gave the Bruins offense fits all night by limiting their chances and getting in their passing and shooting lanes. The Bruins had 46 shot attempts in Game 6, and nearly half of them were blocked by Montreal. Mike Weaver recorded five of the Canadiensí blocked shots, while Josh Gorges was right behind him with four.

The strong Montreal defense wasnít limited to 5-on-5 play, as the Bruins had 4:26 of time on the power play and totaled just two shots on goal, a disappointing performance from a Bruins power play unit that produced two scores in four chances in Game 5.

All season, the Bruins defense has been one of the strongest in the NHL, finishing the regular season allowing 2.08 goals per game, second fewest in the league to only the Los Angeles Kings.

After Mondayís loss, they still lead the playoffs in goal against average at 2.09, .14 above the second place New York Rangers. The Bruins will have to lock down their blue line play and not make the same mistakes they made in Game 6 if they want any hope of taking down the Canadiens and advancing to the Eastern Conference Final.

Credit to @PeteBlackburn for the GIF.