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5 Reasons: Why Bruins were eliminated

Injuries on defense, lack of production from top six forwards led to Boston losing to Senators in first round

by Matt Kalman / NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators were tied or separated by one goal for 90.9 percent of their six-game Eastern Conference First Round, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

A bounce here or there in the Bruins' favor and their first trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2014 could've lasted beyond Game 6, a 3-2 overtime loss. But Boston came up short.

Here are 5 reasons the Bruins were eliminated:

 

1. INJURIES ON DEFENSE

Already without defensemen Torey Krug (lower body) and Brandon Carlo (upper body) to start the series, the Bruins lost defensemen Colin Miller (lower body) and Adam McQuaid (upper body) to injury in Game 1 and 2, respectively. Miller didn't return until Game 4.

The Bruins' fill-ins held their own but couldn't replace the injured players.

Video: Recapping BOS-OTT Game 6 and the series

"I think our lack of having some of the players we relied on earlier in the year did catch up to us," coach Bruce Cassidy said. "I think Carlo and McQuaid are big time penalty killers for us. ... And I think that we missed Torey Krug's puck-moving ability in the games that we had trouble creating offense. So those guys we missed back there."

 

2. INABILITY TO REPLACE DAVID KREJCI

The center warmed up for Game 1 but didn't play until Game 3 because of an upper-body injury. He didn't have a point in three games and in his third game, Game 5, he was injured by a low hit from Ottawa defenseman Chris Wideman in the first period. Krejci left that game and didn't play again in the series.

The Bruins always have a tough time replacing Krejci, who had 54 points (23 goals, 31 assists) in 82 regular-season games. This time around was no different.

 

3. TOP SCORERS STALLED

After leading the Bruins with an NHL career-high 39 goals in the regular season, Brad Marchand didn't have a goal after scoring the game-winner with 2:33 remaining in the third period of Game 1. He set up each of Boston's goals in Game 6 but the Bruins could've used him to go on a hot streak the way Bobby Ryan did for the Senators with four goals in the series.

David Pastrnak scored twice but was limited to 10 shots on goal in six games. Patrice Bergeron scored two goals and David Backes scored one. Boston needed more from its top six forwards.

 

4. UNTIMELY PENALTIES

The Bruins had the best penalty kill in the NHL during the regular season (85.7 percent) but were a little off that pace in the series (18-for-23, 78.3 percent). Twice the Bruins allowed a power-play goal in overtime (Game 3 and 6) and in Game 2, Senators defenseman Dion Phaneuf scored 12 seconds after a penalty to Zdeno Chara expired.

Ottawa forward Clarke MacArthur scored the series-clinching goal 36 seconds after a Pastrnak penalty.

Video: OTT@BOS, Gm6: MacArthur scores in OT, ends series

"You know we've been, obviously, the best penalty-killing team throughout the regular season. We took a lot of pride in penalty kills, but sometimes a bounce here or there, it's going to end up in your net and that's kind of what happened," Chara said.

 

5. INEXPERIENCE

Eleven Bruins players made their Stanley Cup Playoff debut. Most handled themselves well, but there were mistakes that cost the Bruins. Riley Nash took a retaliation penalty in overtime that led to Ryan's goal in Game 3. Pastrnak's penalty cost the Bruins in Game 6. The Bruins had some rocky periods, including a shotless second period in Game 1 and that could've been because their playoff novices were still learning what it takes to win in the postseason.

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