Bruins unable to capitalize on man advantage

Whenever the Boston Bruins are penalized for too many men on the ice, it sends shivers down the spines of their most diehard fans.

That’s caused by the Bruins, on two separate occasions, being whistled for the infraction in Game 7’s, leading to two of the toughest playoff losses in franchise history.

Instance one – The Bruins faced-off with the Montreal Canadiens in the 1979 Eastern Conference Semifinals. Clinging to a 4-3 with less than three minutes to play in Game 7, Boston was caught with too many men on the ice. Montreal took advantage of the mistake, tying the game with 74 seconds remaining. The Canadiens went on to win the game, and the series, in overtime on their way to a fourth consecutive Stanley Cup Championship.

Instance two – The 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals featured the Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers. Boston had already lost a 3-0 lead both in the series and in Game 7. With the teams tied midway through the third, the refs penalized the Bruins for having an extra man out. Simon Gagne, whose return to the lineup in Game 4 changed the fate of the series, was able to bury a power-play goal, as the Bruins became only the third team in NHL history to lose a series after leading three games to none. The Flyers eventually lost in six games in the Stanley Cup Final to the Chicago Blackhawks.

During the Game 1 triple-overtime marathon of their Stanley Cup Final with Chicago on Wednesday night, the Bruins had two chances to exorcise some of the demons of too many men calls past.

At 12:08 of the first overtime period, the Blackhawks were called for having six skaters on the ice. Boston couldn’t finish.

Again, at 19:07 of the second overtime, Chicago was caught, sending the Bruins to the power-play again. A Zdeno Chara slap shot hit the post, but that was their best chance, failing to net a game-winner.

The Blackhawks Andrew Shaw eventually scored 12:08 into the third overtime, ending the fifth-longest Stanley Cup Final game.

If Boston is unable to comeback in the series, they’ll look back at two missed opportunities as a main turning point in the series.

And it will give Bruins fans another reason to dread the call, “Too many men on the ice.”

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Categories: Hockey,Opinion