Prior to the Stanley Cup Final, Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand told the media that he remembers the sting of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final – which the Bruins lost to the Blackhawks in six games – more than he remembers hoisting the Cup in 2011, when the Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks in seven games. Well, after losing to the St. Louis Blues 4-1 in Game 7 Wednesday and having to watch another visiting team celebrate on TD Garden ice, 2019 has likely surpassed 2013 for Marchand who was in tears as he addressed the media late Wednesday night.
“I’ll never get over this. I’m not over ’13 yet. This hurts more than that. It’s not something you ever forget,” Marchand said in a sullen, quiet voice. “It’s a heartbreaker. It’s tough to describe. You know, they just took our dream, our lifetime dream from us, and everything we’ve worked for our entire lives, and it’s 60 minutes away from that. You can’t describe it.”
Despite having two goals and two assists in the series, Marchand was not a factor against the Blues like he was all season long when he hit the 100-point plateau, and for most of the playoffs. He made a back-breaking blunder that led to the Blues’ second goal in the final seconds of the first period and he and the Bruins never seemed to recover. With Jaden Schwartz entering the Bruins’ zone, Marchand thought it was a 1-on-2 and didn’t see the trailing Alex Pietrangelo, who took a feed from Schwartz and then skated across the middle and beat Tuukka Rask with a back-hander with 7.3 seconds left in the opening frame.
“I thought that guy was by himself, obviously he wasn’t.”
The Bruins, despite out-shooting the Blues 12-4 in the period, headed to the first intermission down by two goals and despite being one of the better comeback teams in the NHL this season, they came back in the second period gassed and were never able to muster up that energy they had in the opening frame.
“Yeah, we thought we were going to do it, We had that belief we have all year, we’ve done it plenty of times. You know, it takes one goal to get going and swing that momentum, and we just didn’t get that one early enough, so yeah, we thought that we’d be able to come back, but obviously, we didn’t.”
Marchand wasn’t the only one to struggle on the Bruins top line of him, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak as the Blues did a textbook job of shutting them down.
“I mean, that’s playoff hockey,” the dejected Bruins winger said. “You’re not going to dominate every game, you’re not going to score every goal. It is what it is. Obviously, we hold ourselves to a high standard, and we would’ve liked to be better. That’s hockey.”
For Marchand, despite having already gone to two Cup Finals since entering the league in the 2009-10 season, this 2018-19 Bruins team became the tightest group he’s ever played with and seeing them fail to capitalize on for what some of the players could be their only chance to win the Cup, was simply a tough pill to swallow.
“Love these guys. We had a hell of a year, and we came very close,” he said. “I love every guy on this team. I’m very proud of everyone that worked their ass off all year to get to this point, and you know, we’re a hell of a group. We came together. We’re like a family, so it hurts, but yeah, love this group.”