Saturday, March 8, 2014
The Associated Press
(Continued from page 1)
Zdeno Chara (33) leaps into Patrice Bergeron's arms after Bergeron scored the game-winning goal in Game 7 of the first round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on Monday night for the Boston Bruins.
But there were plenty of bright spots, finally, among the Bruins forwards.
Nathan Horton cut the deficit to 4-2 at 9:18 of the third period. Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin had struggled all series, neither scoring a goal, but were instrumental in setting up Bergeron's winner.
"We didn't have the best series,' Marchand said of his line, "but it doesn't matter anymore."
Milan Lucic had a poor season but was solid in the playoffs and scored the goal that cut the deficit to 4-3 with 1:22 left in regulation. Then Bergeron tied it with 51 seconds remaining, Boston's second goal in 31 seconds with an extra skater replacing goalie Tuukka Rask.
What changed? How did the Bruins score three goals in 10 minutes after getting just three in the previous eight periods?
"There's no flipping the switch," said Chiarelli, who had seen his team play well at times during the series. "This is about focusing."
He also saw "some terrific coaching on the empty-net goals" and players creating traffic near the crease.
Bergeron tied the game with 6-foot-9 Zdeno Chara in front of Reimer. Then he won it with Seguin there.
"That's one thing you're going to remember probably for the rest of your life, because it was such a comeback," defenseman Johnny Boychuk said. "Everybody probably thought that we were done."
Down 4-1, the Bruins were desperate, but remained poised.
"If you're just running around like chickens with your head cut off, you're not going to accomplish anything," Chiarelli said. "Net-front presence is all we talked about the whole series behind closed doors. Net-front traffic. We saw that in three goals.
"Desperation, yes. But a desperate composure also, which is what you saw."
And, of course, Bergeron at his best.
He was the best faceoff man in the NHL, winning 62.1 percent of them in the regular season. On Monday night, he won 73 percent (16 of 22), led the Bruins with six shots and had four hits.
"We hadn't seen a performance like last night in a long, long time, if ever, just clutch performance what he did," Chiarelli said. "He just had that extra drive (Monday) night, and you can see it. You can see the fire in his eye. You can see him on the bench. You can see the plays that he was making. He was always in on that forecheck in the last" part of the game.
"He was special," Chiarelli said. "He just a reliable, terrific player."
One that has another round now to play in.