The Bruins had a golden opportunity in front of them on Wednesday night: the chance to win a Stanley Cup at home in a Game 7. Nothing would be more epic.
Instead, the Bruins blew their chance. They were forced to watch an away team celebrate a Stanley Cup win on their ice for the second time this decade.
Even more disappointing: for the second straight Stanley Cup Final appearance, they wasted a Conn Smythe-worthy performance from Tuukka Rask.
"He was our MVP for sure," said David Krejci after the devastating 4-1 Game 7 loss. "There's nothing I can say. He was the MVP, he was the best player, he kept us in the game so many times."
Rask kept the Bruins in games throughout the entirety of the postseason. Among goalies with at least 10 games played, Rask ranked first in the playoffs in save percentage at .934. He also ranked first in goals-against average at 2.02.
It just felt like Rask's year to finally lift the Cup as the Bruins' heroic netminder.
Despite losing 4-1, Bruce Cassidy was adamant after Game 7 that the dull performance had nothing to do with Rask.
"He was excellent, he was our best player," said Cassidy. "I don't think anybody is leaving the building tonight unfortunately in our locker room saying they put their best foot forward."
The main point is the team around Rask didn't perform up to expectations in Game 7.
On the first Blues goal, Ryan O'Reilly's line pinned Sean Kuraly's line along with Brandon Carlo and Torey Krug in their own zone for an extended amount of time. That ended in Jay Bouwmeester's shot being tipped by O'Reilly and past Rask.
Not Rask's fault. Not Rask's fault. Not Rask's fault.
"For him to be as good as he was, that's the reason we're here," said Marchand of Rask. "He was incredible every night, gave us every opportunity to win. He's the best goalie in the league. He showed that in the playoffs and he did a hell of a job, and he did his part."
Had Rask not had the rough stat line of 16 saves on 20 shots in Game 7, there's a chance that he could've been the Conn Smythe winner even with a close loss.
Krejci summed it up best.
"He deserved it," said Krejci of Rask. "We all did. Just today, it wasn't our night. Too bad it was the most important day of our lives, and we're going to remember this one."
The Bruins were supposed to win this Cup, Rask was supposed to be the Conn Smythe winner and finally be the starter of a team that won it all.
Except it just didn't happen.
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