MONTREAL -- Boston Bruins center David Krejci and left wing Milan Lucic have converted on dozens of odd-man rushes over the past four seasons.
One minute into Game 6 of their Eastern Conference Second Round against the Montreal Canadiens, those two forwards had a chance to put the home team back on their heels at Bell Centre on Monday night.
Krejci, the Bruins' leading scorer in the regular season with 69 points, led a 2-on-1 into the Montreal zone and slid the puck over to Lucic, a 24-goal scorer this season, with Canadiens goaltender Carey Price a little slow tracking the pass. Of course, it didn't matter where Price was because Lucic fanned on the shot.
From there, the Bruins' evening went downhill en route to a 4-0 loss that forced a Game 7 back in Boston on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS). There was plenty of scoring chances and 26 shots on goal for the Bruins, compared to 28 shots for Montreal. Boston had 63 shot attempts to Montreal's 58.
After the defeat, the Bruins were already trying to forget the what-ifs and focus on the biggest game of their season.
"Well, we obviously bear down on our chances and put it in the back of the net," Lucic said when asked what needs to be different in the do-or-die series finale. "So you can't dwell on anything going into a Game 7. This is for guys that have been around here a couple years; it's the ninth one since 2008. So it's all we're looking forward to right now. We're putting everything else behind us and we know [it's] one game, winner moves on."
When a team plays poorly and gets shut out, it can take solace in knowing that there's room for improvement. The Bruins played about as well as they could except for their inability to put the puck past Price.
If the Lucic miss one minute into the game foreshadowed the type of night it was going to be, a five-minute stretch of the second period epitomized the Bruins' frustrations. For the majority of that stretch, there weren't any stoppages and the Bruins were on the attack practically the entire time. Montreal defensemen Josh Gorges and Mike Weaver were measured as on the ice for nearly three minutes, with the Bruins buzzing and Montreal unable to complete a line change. Price flashed his stick to stop one Lucic shot that could've evened the score 1-1.
"Bouncing puck, overshoot it, just one of those plays that you get nine out of 10 times, and today was the one that you didn't get," Lucic said. "And [if] you get the same opportunity next game, you've got to bury it."
Krejci, who's still looking for his first goal of the Stanley Cup Playoffs through 11 games, spoke after the morning skate about owing his teammates a goal. He had four shot attempts (three on net) to show for it; Lucic finished with seven shots attempts (two on net). Right wing Jarome Iginla was the man with the most tired arms when the final horn sounded; he landed six shots on net in 10 attempts.
Of course, the only column on the stats sheet that mattered had goose eggs for all three members of the Bruins' top line.
"They played a good game. But at the same time, we had really good chances that on another night in this series, they would go in," Iginla said. "So our focus now is to get ready, reload and work to get those same chances, and we believe that we'll put them in again."
All the Bruins' top players shunned the idea that any frustration set in by the end of Game 6. But they sure had a funny way of showing they were calm. With 24 seconds remaining, defenseman Zdeno Chara got in a post-whistle altercation with Andrei Markov and Weaver. As the officials were calming the situation, Iginla and Lucic skated to their captain's defense.
Iginla hit the showers early and was hit with a 10-minute misconduct and a two-minute roughing minor. Lucic wasn't called for a penalty, but also made an early exit to the dressing room.
"Ah, you know, I didn't think it was that big a deal," Iginla said. "But I turned around, I didn't see what was going on between Weaver and Z. But we don't want Z in there and we just saw the slashing of the stick and those are how the melees start and stuff. But after that, I didn't think it was too big a deal."
Added Lucic: "It wasn't frustration or anything like that. Just a scuffle and nothing more than that."
If the Bruins really believe what they're saying, maybe they can turn the positives of Game 6 into enough goals to prevail in Game 7.
"Yeah, we had some good looks out there," Krejci said. "They didn't go in for us, but we're going to stay positive in here. We're going to believe in ourselves and we've got a job to do in two days and we're going to have to win."