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Capitals deal final blow to defending Cup champion Bruins

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BOSTON | It’s Wednesday morning and the Boston Bruins woke up for the first time since last June with no possibility of winning the Stanley Cup again. Another year without a repeat, and something they had to come to grips with after Wednesday night’s 2-1 overtime Game 7 loss to the Washington Capitals.

“The whole year has been a mental challenge for our guys,” coach Claude Julien said. “The summer was short, guys came back, and now you’re asking them to re-focus for a whole season, and that’s not an easy task to do.”

It might be even harder to take losing. As ex-NHL defenseman and TSN analyst Aaron Ward told the Toronto Star: “It’s one of the biggest lows. It’s out of your control. It’s like you’ve been dumped by your girlfriend. She’s moving on and she’s going to pick someone new.”

Someone new could be the Caps, or any of the other seven teams still playing in the conference quarterfinal round. But delivering the knockout blow to the reigning champs wasn’t an easy task.

“I think if you expect to defeat these guys, it’s going to be hard,” defenseman Karl Alzner said. “It’s definitely not going to be easy. Probably didn’t expect every single game to be a one-goal game, but we knew it wasn’t going to be easy.”

Every game was decided by one goal, the first seven-game series in NHL history with that distinction. Every game could have essentially gone the other way on a coin flip. But that’s what it took to move on.

“It’s our dream to play in the Stanley Cup playoffs and play for the Cup,” forward Brooks Laich said. “There’s been some frustration here in the past. To move on, to beat a good team and to move on, we’re very excited.”

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