The Boston Bruins sat in their stalls at TD Garden after Game 6 still trying to figure out what had happened. Milan Lucic's goal 12:11 into the third period gave Boston a 2-1 lead and raised hopes that the Bruins would play for the Stanley Cup in a Game 7 Wednesday night. Those hopes were dashed when Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland scored 17 seconds apart late in the period to give the Chicago Blackhawks the win and their fifth Cup.
"It felt like we had it, you know?," said David Krejci. "It feels like we lost it. We had a Game 7 in front of us. It was right there. I felt we played a pretty good game, and we lost it. We just gave it to them, basically."
Said Johnny Boychuk: "It’s a bad feeling. Bad, like an awful feeling. You can’t really describe it. As a player it’s probably one of the worst feelings you can get when you are up by one goal with a minute and twenty left and somehow you lose the game. It’s just like a total shock."
Bruins head coach Claude Julien could only say so much to try and soothe the pain of the difficult loss. There were 28 other teams who would have loved to be in their position Monday night, but the agony of coming within minutes of forcing a winner-take-all Game 7 and falling short will be hard to forget.
"There's a lot of good things to look at," Julien said. "And what we've been through and what we've accomplished to me is a credit to those guys. A loss is hard to take, but you've got to look a little further than that right now."
That's going to take a while for the Bruins. It will be a shorted summer than usual before training camp kicks off the 2013-14 NHL season, but there won't be a day that passes that the players don't think about how Game 6 ended.
"Forever," said Boychuk. "[Y]ou are going to remember forever.
"You remember winning it, but I think you remember losing it a little bit more, now that we have had that happen."
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy