During the 2010s, the Boston Bruins reached the postseason in eight of 10 seasons. They went on to win a Stanley Cup and appear in two others. It was one of the most eventful and historic decades in franchise history but also was filled with some heartbreaking moments and questionable personnel decisions. These are the Boston Bruins decade”what ifs” moments.
Boston Bruins Decade What Ifs
The Boston Bruins decade was filled with franchise lows and highs in the first two seasons. As the years progressed and the team changed, much of their success stayed the same.
In the 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Bruins took on the Philadelphia Flyers in a battle between two rivals. The Bruins dominated the first three games taking a 3-0 series lead before losing the following three to tie the series.
During game seven in Boston, the Bruins raced out to a 3-0 lead in the game. The Bruins surrendered four unanswered goals and lose both a 3-0 lead in game seven and a 3-0 series lead. The Flyers went on to reach the Stanley Cup Finals before losing to the Chicago Blackhawks.
If the Bruins took care of the Flyers they would’ve faced their long time rival, Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Flyers easily took care of the Canadiens with a 4-1 series victory, likely the same result had it been Boston in the series instead of Philadelphia. The Bruins would’ve gone on to face the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final where anything could happen.
Boston squandered a great chance at the Stanley Cup in 2010. The seas parted after Boston defeated the three seed, Buffalo Sabres in the first round. As the six seed, Boston would have to beat the seven and eight seeds in the east to reach the Stanley Cup. Instead, they let the opportunity slip through their fingers.
The history of the Bruins and Blackhawks franchises changed drastically in just 17 seconds. Trailing the series 3-2, the Bruins were just over a minute away from forcing a game seven in the Stanley Cup Final. Up 2-1 in the game, Blackhawks forward, Bryan Bickell, tied the game at two with 1:16 remaining in the third period.
Just 17 seconds later, all of Boston’s hearts were ripped out when Dave Bolland scored the cup-winning goal. Instead of forcing a game seven back in Chicago, Boston watched the Blackhawks raise the Stanley Cup on their ice.
If the Bruins win that game, two things could happen. They either win game seven and win the Stanley Cup, or the likely outcome, they lose game seven and lose the Stanley Cup.
Winning games six and seven for Boston would’ve been historical. The Bruins would’ve overcome a 3-2 series deficit in two Stanley Cups in three years. They would’ve become the beginnings of an early dynasty, instead of handing that title to Chicago. The Bruins may not end up trading prolific scorer, Tyler Seguin the following offseason and all is well in Boston.
The more likely outcome, however, is Boston loses game seven in Chicago. The 2013 Blackhawks team was one of the best teams of the decade. Taking them on in their building would have a near-impossible task for the Bruins. Especially since Boston had only dominated one game in the series to that point.
Nonetheless, if the Bruins don’t surrender two goals in 17 seconds then history could be drastically different. The Bruins could’ve won two titles in three years, goaltender Tuukka Rask likely doesn’t develop a harsh reputation among many in Boston and the early stages of a dynasty were born.
After the Bruins lost the 2013 Stanley Cup to Chicago, they traded Seguin to the Dallas Stars. On the ice, Seguin had begun to show his talents. It was obvious he could score and had large potential. His consistency and off-the-ice behaviour raised questions, but the potential was there.
Despite that, Boston shipped Seguin (and others) to Dallas for Loui Eriksson, Joseph Morrow, Reilly Smith, and Matt Fraser. In three seasons with Boston, Seguin had 56 goals and 65 assists for 121 points in 203 games. He was selected to the 2012 NHL All-Star game.
Since the trade, Seguin has 223 goals and 291 assists for 514 points in 538 games with Dallas. He has been selected to the All-Star game five times. The Bruins likely gave up on Seguin too early, a sentiment that he shares.
If the Bruins hang on to Seguin, they have one of the best collections of centres in the league between Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Seguin. The Bruins had been searching for a consistent scoring threat for the better part of the decade before David Pastrnak emerged. Seguin would’ve filled that role.
By keeping Seguin, the Bruins likely would’ve had to part ways with some of their more established players to stay under the salary cap. While it’s no guarantee that Seguin blossoms in Boston, the idea of trading a perennial all-star for a group of guys that didn’t pan out doesn’t sit well. Eriksson, Smith, Morrow and Fraser combined to play in 490 games totalling 252 points with the Bruins while Seguin has 514 points (and counting) in 538 games with Dallas.
2019 Stanley Cup
Another heartbreaker for Boston. Much like 2010, the seas parted for the Bruins. With the top-seeded Tampa Bay Lightning and defending champion Washington Capitals losing in the first round, the path to the cup was cleared.
The Bruins cruised through the Eastern Conference and faced the St. Louis Blues in the Stanley Cup Final. In a hard-fought series, it came down to a game seven on home ice for the Bruins. A chance to right the wrongs of the Chicago series in 2013 was on the table.
The Bruins came out and laid an egg in game seven losing 4-1. The only positive for the Bruins by losing is that put them in a position to draft John Beecher, who the Bruins hope can become a key contributor in the future.
Aside from that, this was one of the most painful losses in franchise history. The Bruins blew a chance to win the Stanley Cup on home ice for the first time in 49 years. It would’ve been the second Stanley Cup in a decade for the Bruins and would’ve made them 2-1 in the cup final during the 2010s.
It also would’ve been one of many career-defining moments for captain Zdeno Chara who broke his jaw in game five. Playing games six and seven with a broken jaw and being the first one to lift the Stanley Cup would’ve been an iconic moment in hockey history.
Instead, the Bruins squandered another chance at the Stanley Cup and the 2010s will now be remembered as much for their failures as it will be for their 2011 championship.
In the End
As the Bruins head into a new decade, they hope to right the wrongs of the previous one. Two Stanley Cup losses in heartbreaking fashion, trading a top-tier player and blowing a 3 game series lead to a rival.
It’s fun to play the “what if” game for any team, but the Boston Bruins decade “what ifs” fly close to the sun. In just two games and 17 seconds, the Bruins could’ve won two more championships in the decade. Add to that a clear path for another Stanley Cup appearance and an ugly trade by the franchise, the Bruins were just inches away from immortality in the 2010s.
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