Photo courtesy Harry How/Getty Images

Photo courtesy Harry How/Getty Images

The two bombs that were cowardly set off at the Boston Marathon exploded 13 seconds apart. The two goals the Blackhawks scored in the third period of Game 6 that first tied the game and then gave them the lead were 17 seconds apart.

To say that Bostonians are too familiar with the feeling of things going from bad to worse in the blink of an eye is an understatement. And for their Bruins to end the NHL season like this? It’s almost like a punch line no one finds funny.

But the Bruins postseason woes started long before this year. This is the second devastating postseason loss on home ice for Boston in as many years since winning the Stanley Cup in 2011.

Last year it was the Game 7 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals courtesy of Joel Ward. The Bruins went from defending champions to offseason entrants in the blink of an eye.

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

A little more than a year later, it didn’t take that much longer for disaster to strike again.

You could say that first goal, the one Bryan Bickell put in the back of the net, wasn’t all that surprising given how the series had gone. We’d already had two overtime games in this series, so what was one more?

But that second (and third total) one? That might’ve been the most unbelievable thing to happen to Boston sports fans since the Buckner play.

Dave Bolland didn’t put Chicago on top with a sweet, indefensible slap shot so much as reaped the reward of just being in the right place at the right time. His little flickerĀ  amidst a volley of ricochets was little more than putting the garbage in the basket.

It wasn’t as sexy as, say, a 24-game win streak, but it was exponentially more important.

The Blackhawks went from “team to beat” to “on the verge of defeat” back up to “team to beat” and eventually “world champions” all in the same postseason.

When the Red Wings had the top-seeded Chicago Blackhawks on the ropes, that record-breaking win streak felt like it was ages ago. This team was in trouble in a best-of-seven series. How could they possibly be the same squad that racked up two dozen ‘W’s’ in a row?

Well, they were, and it’s not all that hard to explain. The road to the Stanley Cup is never pretty — nothing in hockey ever is — and the Blackhawks were certainly tested before getting to the finals.

But they were also tested IN these Stanley Cup Finals. Remember when Boston was up two games to one? That first Bruins win came in overtime in a game that could’ve just as easily gone to Chicago. Up 2-0, you have to feel like the Blackhawks would’ve cruised virtually uncontested to another world championship.

But they didn’t. They lost Game 2 and then they lost Game 3. And then they rallied to win three games in a row to raise the cup.

Momentum didn’t just swing back and forth in these playoffs, the frantic pace nearly severed the pendulum altogether.

Maybe THAT’S the best way to judge the Stanley Cup Finals: a back and forth see-saw. A two-person game of musical chairs.

It’s a compelling argument, to be sure. Almost compelling enough to convince you the Bruins didn’t suffer a major collapse in the most important minutes of the most important hockey game of their season.

The operative word? Almost.

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NOTE: This story was originally published on SportsHead. To read this article and others click here.
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