Why the Boston Bruins should stop playing with the ‘P’ word

(Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHL)
(Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHL)

They’re the last-minute Larrys of the Stanley Cup playoffs year after year – the college kids with PhDs in procrastination yet so whip-smart that they can cram study before the final exam and pull out an ‘A.’

Problem is, though, they’re supposed to be the NHL’s professors, the grizzled veterans of the league – post-season shrewd and crunch-time wise from their vast playoff experience the past three years. In short, the Boston Bruins should know better than to play around with “procrastination.”

So it makes one wonder why they too often don’t wake up until the third period. A team that is otherwise so systematized and extraordinarily well coached, with Sparta-like self-discipline, far too frequently takes a 40-minute nap before waking up and playing Boston Bruins hockey.

After wiping out a pair of 3-1 leads for the Canadiens in the third periods of Games 1 and 2, the Bruins almost turned the trifecta again in Game 3, but ultimately fell 4-2.

(Side note: is it self-confidence or softness in the head that led Habs fans to begin singing “Oh lay-oh lay-oh-lay-oh-lay” with more than three minutes still left in the game?)

It’s a testament to just how good – check that, great – Boston is, because in no way has Montreal outplayed it overall. The Bruins have proven they can sleepwalk through two periods with the Canadiens and yet still keep the game close enough to mount a comeback. They’ve even managed to outshoot the Habs by a substantial margin: 113-87.

But here’s all you need to know about Boston’s narcolepsy: Montreal has led in the series for 106:11, Boston for just 11:39.

After winning heart-stopping Game 7s against the Canadiens and Lightning in 2011, losing one to the Capitals in 2012 and, of course, pulling off their epic comeback against the Maple Leafs last year, you’d have thought the Bruins would have learned their lesson by now.

For whatever reason, however, they haven’t. But the Bruins best recognize they’re not in college anymore or the Canadiens will put them to bed permanently.

Ronnie Shuker is an associate editor at The Hockey News and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blog. Follow him on Twitter at @THNRonnieShuker.

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