BOSTON - The Bruins' season came to an end Sunday afternoon in Game 6 of the team's first-round series against the Ottawa Senators. Senators forward Clarke MacArthur notched the winner, a power-play goal at 6:30 of overtime, to secure a 3-2 victory and eliminate Boston from the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"We battled hard to give ourselves a chance to be back here for Game 6, but also to get back in that game and go into overtime, so it definitely stings a lot. It's tough to be standing here right now," said Patrice Bergeron, who tied the game at 2 early in the third period, when he jammed home a rebound off a Brad Marchand rush.
GAME RECAP: Stats and highlights from Game 6.
All six games of the series were decided by one goal, including four in overtime, three of which were won by the Senators (two on power-play goals). The last series in which the Bruins played that many one-goal decisions was the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against Washington, during which all seven games were decided by one goal.
"We put ourselves in a position to be here in the first place," said Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy. "I think we played well enough to have the opportunity to advance, but they made a few more plays than us. Every game could have went either way. So, I'm proud of the players.
"If we could have made a play or two more, we'd be moving onto Ottawa or New York or whatever the place may be."
Two of Ottawa's goals in Game 6, including the winner, came on the power play (the Bruins killed the Senators other three opportunities, all of which came on delay of game penalties in the first period). David Pastrnak was called for holding against J.G. Pageau at 5:54 of the extra session and it took the Senators just 36 seconds to come up with the winner.
"Our penalty kill, which has probably been our strongest facet of the game through the whole season gets scored on twice today," said David Backes. "Our power play only gets one so we lost the special teams battle and that's how you lose games. Unfortunately, tonight, it's all over and it stings.
"I wish I had an eloquent sentence to give you all, but right now it's just that feeling where you're replaying plays…think of every little play you had and wonder if you could have done something different, something more to help your team win and that's just what's on my mind at the moment. "
Video: BOS Recap: Bergeron, Stafford score in Game 6 loss
There are plenty of "what ifs" for the Bruins, particularly when it comes to Boston having its full lineup. The Bruins battled through an unusual - and unlucky - amount of injuries during the series. Blue line stalwarts Torey Krug (lower-body) and Brandon Carlo (upper-body) were lost over the final two games of the regular season and neither was able to suit up for the series.
Adam McQuaid (upper-body) was sidelined in Game 2 and did not play again, while David Krejci (lower-body) missed three of the six games, including Sunday's Game 6. Colin Miller also missed two games because of a lower-body injury.
"We were down some men, good men, so that's unfortunate," said Cassidy. "Yes, walking away, you think we didn't have our best lineup, the what-if game. I don't know if that serves a purpose, to be honest with you.
"We had what we had and those guys came and played hard. I don't want to disparage their efforts. But, yes, we missed Krug, we missed Carlo, we missed McQuaid. No doubt, no doubt, they're good players for us."
Video: Bruins speak after being eliminated from playoffs
If one were to take a silver lining from the series - or the season as a whole - it would be the development of Boston's future. Several young players were thrust into the spotlight during the series, including David Pastrnak, Charlie McAvoy and Sean Kuraly, who had significant impacts on the series.
Overall, the Bruins had 11 players make their postseason debuts in the series, experience the organization hopes will pay off moving forward.
"I mean different guys stepped up. You have Charlie McAvoy playing in his first NHL games in the playoffs and he's playing big minutes and making big plays. There's certainly bright sides and bright spots - Sean Kuraly's game that he had in Ottawa when we were backs against the wall," said Backes.
"A lot of young guys got their feet wet here, going to come back and be impact players even more next year and I'm looking forward to that."
In the end, the Bruins were proud of their resiliency, which they felt was the team's calling card. After the team's coaching change in February, Cassidy led Boston to an 18-8-1 record and their first playoff berth in three years.
"We battled hard ever since the coaching change, we really came together as a group to make the playoffs," said Tuukka Rask. "We played a heck of a series, every game was a one-goal game. It was a hard-fought series that didn't go our way.
"Everybody here should be proud of the way we battled."
Video: Cassidy speaks after 3-2 loss in Game 6 vs. Sens