CHICAGO (AP) — A dozen slices of wheat bread and two plates of quartered oranges sat untouched on a table in the middle of the Boston locker room, fortifications for an overtime period that never came.
In one corner of the room, attendants piled sticks into equipment bags as fast as they could. In the other, Bruins defensemen Zdeno Chara impatiently kept climbing off a table before the trainer massaging his sore right thigh was done. The team bus was already idling in a loading dock nearby.
After a decisive 3-1 win by the Blackhawks on Saturday night in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Bruins apparently couldn’t get out of town fast enough. Whether they’ll make it back to Chicago for Game 7 rests on the slim hope that they’ll be able to generate more offense than they managed in the third period, or the rest of the series for that matter.
“We had some momentum there,” Boston goaltender Tukka Rask said afterward. “We just ran out of time.”
More troubling, though, the Bruins are down 3-2 and fast running out of options.
Coach Claude Julien’s plans to slow the high-flying Blackhawks and win another slugfest, the way the Bruins hemmed in and outhit the similarly offensive-minded Penguins, is in need of serious adjustment. It has been since the Blackhawks rolled out to a 3-1 lead in Game 4 three nights ago, forcing the Bruins to chase the game and leave more and more space open behind them to the opportunistic Chicago attackers.
“That’s not our game,” Rask said. “We don’t want to take too many chances. We got desperate out there.”
The Blackhawks’ last goal in this one was an empty-netter with 14 seconds left. They began that final period ahead 2-0, and didn’t look flustered, relying on persistent forechecking and packing in the defense, even after Chara closed the gap with a short slap shot from the left face-off circle nearly four minutes in that beat goalie Corey Crawford — where else? — up on the glove side.