Bruins Win Game One Over Rangers In Overtime
The Boston Bruins did well to win an important game one against the New York Rangers. It goes without saying, but every win is important in the playoffs, especially against a Rangers squad that can absolutely suffocate an offense. As expected, Henrik Lundqvist had to be outstanding stopping 45 of 48 Bruins shots. Outside of King Henrik’s impressive performance, and a 16 second Rangers’ offensive outburst, this game was all Boston.
First things first, Zdeno Chara probably played his best game as a Boston Bruin tonight. I get pretty tired of people constantly talking about his lack of leadership every time the B’s lose a game. Big Z is a Stanley Cup champion who didn’t just shut down two of the best offensive players in the world, he rendered them invisible. Chara leads by example. With Dennis Seidenberg, Andrew Ference, and Wade Redden out of commission, the Bruins had to play three rookie skaters on the back-end. Chara played 38:02 minutes of ice time, an ungodly amount of minutes. That is stepping up when a team needs it the most, that is what a captain does. Z was a monster in all areas of the ice too he had a goal, an assists, a +2, 9 shots, 6 hits, and 2 blocked shots. A truly legendary performance from one of the best players in the game today.
As good Chara was last night, I don’t want to make it seem like the three rookie defensemen used weren’t up to task. I’m a huge fan of Torey Krug, and I bet his performance last night prompted a few Bruins fans to join me on the Krug bandwagon. Anyone who follows the Providence Bruins knows how good he can be. He scored a huge goal for the Bruins that tied the game 2-2. Krug may be undersized, but he does all the little things right. He had 3 shots, 3 hits, and a blocked shot in 16:41 minutes of ice time last night.
Dougie Hamilton and Matt Bartkowski also had a great rookie games. Its really easy to look at Bart’s -2 and say he didn’t play well, but it wouldn’t be factual. He was solid last night in his 26:42 minutes of ice time. He added 1 shot, 3 hits, and a blocked shot. Hamilton was pretty excellent considering the roller coaster season he has had. Everyone knows injuries create opportunities, and Dougie took hold of his chance to prove he belongs in the lineup. He registered an assist, a +2, 5 shots, 1 hit, and a blocked shot in 20:45 minutes of ice time.
Brad Marchand stepped up in a big way last night after an unusually weak showing against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He scored the big overtime winner for Boston as well as an assist on the game tying Krug goal. He also added also added 3 takeaways in the game. David Krejci continued his great playoff performance with an assists on the Chara goal. Patrice Bergeron had an assist, and won 78% of his faceoffs. Milan Lucic didn’t land on the score sheet, but he crushed the Rangers all night with 8 hits.
The Rangers got their goals from Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan. Stepan’s goal was a bit of a softies given up by Rask, but Tuukka really elevated his level of play once the game was on the line. I thought he was pretty outstanding last night as he stopped 33 of 35 shots. Rask’s numbers have gotten skewed given the poor defense played by the Bruins in the first round, but he has been an excellent for them and has kept them in every game so far in the postseason. You really can’t ask for more from your goaltender. Rask is a top 5 goaltender in the NHL, and for those who doubt him, just watch him.
Game 2 is on Sunday, and the Bruins will have to bring the same or better effort to what will be a huge game. It is not in the B’s best interest to go back to Madison Square Garden with the series tied. Henrik Lundqvist took personal responsibility for the loss in game 1, which to me is pretty ridiculous. The guy is incredible, and he took responsibility for the game after keeping his team in it. The Bruins out shot the Rangers 16-5 in the overtime period. You can also expect guys like Brad Richards and Rick Nash to get in on the scoring, they are too talented to be held scoreless.
Overall I was really impressed with the way the Bruins played in game 1, and I expect them to carry that momentum with them into game 2. It is unclear as to whether or not Dennis Seidenberg, Andrew Ference, and Wade Redden will return, but the B’s beat the Rangers with three rookie defensemen in their lineup. I believe the Bruins are coming together after an indifferent regular season and first round. We may have a team here that is starting to believe again. When the Bruins start believing, you should too, because I don’t think there is a team out there that can beat them in 7 when they do.
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