Unfortunately, the Bruins 2019-20 season has come to an end after a Game 5 loss. Just like in the 2018 playoffs the Bruins took game one against the Lightning only to lose the next four. After finishing the regular season as the top team in the league this is not the ending we all thought was coming. To be fair not much has been what anyone expected since the season was paused back on March 12th. Now that we have had some time to come to terms with the end of the season let’s recap game five and the season that preceded it.
The game did not get off to the best start for Boston with Halak being tested early. Alex Killorn was left open after a great passing play by Tampa but Halak is able to make the save. Just a few minutes later Halak would need to make another impressive save this time on Palat. The Bruins would answer back with a chance of their own for Coyle but he would be denied by Vasilevskiy. With under nine minutes to go Coyle would get behind the defense using his speed only to be denied again by Vasilevskiy. While the Bruins outshot Tampa in the period they seemed to be playing very cautiously. They were almost afraid to make a mistake rather than playing with urgency.
Tampa would come out in the second with the momentum. Not even five minutes into the period Tampa would score the first goal of the game. A shot from the point would be tipped in front by Palat and go bar down giving Tampa the lead. Finally, the Bruins woke up and showed that missing sense of urgency. A Kucherov tripping penalty would give the Bruins an opportunity about halfway through the period. With the power-play time winding down Pasta would fire home a one-timer tying the game at one. The goal was made possible by a great slap pass from Krejci which froze Vasilevskiy who was ready for a shot. Just a few minutes later Palat would get yet another scoring opportunity but Halak was able to make a great save. The teams head to the third still tied at one.
The third period would start with the teams exchanging chances. Kuhlman would have the best one similar to a Coyle chance earlier in the first. Kuhlman got behind the defense and tried to draw Vasilevskiy out of position but couldn’t convert. A possible turning point in the game came with just under six minutes gone in the period. As McAvoy and Paquette both go for a puck in the corner Paquette runs into Charlie driving him headfirst into the boards. Not only was a penalty not called on the hit there was a lack of response from the Bruins. Maybe they expected a call to be made and didn’t want matching penalties but at that point, you stand up for your teammate. Here is a video of the hit and you be the judge if a penalty should have been called.
With just eight minutes left Tampa would take the lead again on another tip this time by Cirelli. The Bruins season is now slowly ticking away as they look to mount a final push. With two and half minutes left in the period, Chara takes a point shot that gets partially blocked. The puck finds Krejci with a wide-open net and he ties the game a two. With the scored tied at two, the teams head to overtime.
In the overtime period, the Bruins came out looking to extend the series. They dominated the puck even doubling Tampa’s shot total at one point. Not even a Krejci penalty could slow them down. Unfortunately, Vasilevskiy continued his impressive performance and was clearly Tampa’s best player making eleven saves in the period. The second overtime period couldn’t have been more different. Tampa outshot the Bruins 7-1 in the period. With just six minutes left and traffic in front Hedman fires a shot by Halak sending Tampa to the Eastern Conference Finals.
While the playoffs didn’t go the way any of us wanted the regular season was one for the ages. The Bruins dominated the Atlantic division-winning it by eight points with a 44-16-12 record. The Bruins also won the President’s Trophy with the best record league-wide as the only team to reach 100 points. Individually sever Bruins’ players had standout seasons as well. David Pastrnak became the first Bruin to win the Rocket Richard Trophy. Pasta shared the goal-scoring title with Ovechkin as both snipers scored 48 goals. Rask and Halak took home the Jennings Trophy for allowing the fewest goals against in the league.
Several Bruins were also announced as finalists for awards. If you would like to read my predictions for the 2019-20 NHL awards here is an article breaking down my picks. Coach Bruce Cassidy was named as a finalist for Jack Adams or coach of the year award. Patrice Bergeron was once again named as a finalist for the Selke Trophy his record ninth straight nomination. Finally, Tuukka Rask was named as a finalist for the Vezina Trophy. If you would like a more in-depth recap of the season here is an article covering everything from month to month records to trades.
Now that the Bruins are in the offseason it’s tough decision time. With key players like Chara, Krug, and Debrusk all in need of new contracts who will be back next season? The Bruins depth could also lose some key contributors like Nordstrom and Grzelcyk who also have expiring deals. On top of that, what does the future hold for Tuukka Rask? Will he be back? Could he be traded? Is retirement an option he’s considering with a growing family? It’s going to be a busy next few months for Bruins management and we will bring you all the news as it comes out. Until then as always stay safe out there and LET’S GO BRUINS!
Featured image courtesy of AP Photo/Michael Dwyer.