BOSTON, MA -- I was talking to a friend the other day and we were talking about the B's first round series with the Caps when he said, "You know what's gonna happen, the series is going to go seven games and the B's are going to take it."
Up until the last second, just before Washington's Joel Ward found a way to poke a puck past Tim Thomas at 2:57 of overtime, all of New England believed that the B's incredible run would continue with a fourth-straight Game 7 victory - and so, from the sound of it, did the Boston Bruins.
"I mean it’s such a weird feeling," said defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. "I mean you play hard, it’s a tight game and suddenly a bounce goes against you and suddenly the season’s over.
"For the first few minutes, and even right now, you’re wondering what time practice is tomorrow, but there is no practice. I mean it’s going to be a long summer."
Milan Lucic simply said he was shocked.
"Especially standing here after a first round loss – it’s been almost five years since we lost in the first round," said the left wing. "We fought hard; we tried to do whatever we can to give ourselves a chance to win.
"I mean, you look at last year’s team – we got bounces, everyone was able to stay healthy and this year, unfortunately we were missing some guys that played big parts in us moving forward in what we accomplished last year.
"So, not much else to say – just got to think about it and try to let it go and get ready for next year, I guess," he said.
"I’d have to say I’m probably in shock," said the goaltender. "I really believed that we were going to win tonight.
"I thought that, I really had a deep feeling that this wasn’t the end of the road for us tonight, that this wasn’t going to be the last game of the season. And so that’s my first reaction."
I asked Zdeno Chara if it were hard for him to put the loss in perspective.
"Yeah it is," said the Bruins captain. "Obviously, I thought we had some chances at the end too, I think just kind of maybe a little bit better bounce for us and it could’ve been our game.
"But for sure, I’d like to be at least on the other side [of the bounce] but that’s sports. It’s always a disappointment, but I think this team overcame a lot of different obstacles this season and we should keep our heads high and we also could be proud of a lot of things we did.
"Again, it’s sports; for sure it’s a tough one, but that’s the way it is."
Head Coach Claude Julien was asked what had been said in the locker room, postgame.
"I don’t think that’s for me to start talking about," said Julien. "Everybody’s upset. They’re always quiet.
"I think it’s just a normal situation that every team goes through when you lose. I think there’s a lot of emotions that go through players’ heads, and throughout this whole series, and it’s an abrupt way to end it.
"There’s not much to be said from their side and from our side as well."
But Julien did talk about the season and the difficulties the B's encountered along the way.
"Right now we’re not going to stand here and nitpick at our team," said Julien. "When I look at this hockey club, what it went through last year, and you look at teams that have been through that situation and how they’ve struggled throughout the year, we still finished at the top of our division, we still finished second in the conference, and we had to really grind it out.
"It was a challenging year for our guys, and it was a challenging series as well. They made it tough on us, and they deserve a lot of credit for the way they played, and the number of shots they blocked, and how they helped their goaltender through.
"And at the end of the day, when you look at your team, the team wasn’t playing its best hockey in the series, and, you know, before this day started, you just hope that you can get through this Game 7 and hope to pick some momentum up as you move forward in the playoffs, but you had to get through this game, and we weren’t able to."