“They’re an incredible team that made us battle for every inch of ice,” said Blackhawks center Michal Handzus. “That’s why it was so important that we won Game 4 here.”
There were positives in this run: Rask emerged as a bona fide number one goaltender, Lucic scored a career high seven playoff goals (four of them in the Finals) and Krejci played like a real top-line center while leading the league in playoff scoring. Young defensemen like Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski played great in spurts.
In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon attack, the Bruins and their fans singing the national anthem were among the first rallying points for the city. The team honored figures from the marathon as its fan banner captains before each home playoff game in moving, inspiring moments.
“At the end of the day that’s what hurts the most,” said Julien. “In the back of our minds, we were playing for those kinds of reasons. The city of Boston, all its been through and that stuff hit close to home. The hardest part right now for the players is that we had more reasons than ourselves to get that Cup.”
After some time, the way the Bruins picked up Boston the last 10 weeks or so will be lasting image of the 2013 season. Until then, though, it will be impossible not to wonder about those last 17 seconds.
Matt Williams is the assistant sports editor of The Salem News. You can contact him at MWilliams@salemnews.com, 978-338-2669 and follow him on Twitter @MattWilliams_SN. #StrikeOutALS