The Boston Bruins will take on the New York Rangers in the playoffs for the first time since 1973. Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Final is scheduled for Thursday night at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
Boston is coming off a hard battled series against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Everyone knows the story by now. In Game 7, Boston found themselves down three goals in the third period and seemingly lost all hope. But then the comeback commenced. The B’s scored three goals in the final twelve minutes to tie the game and Patrice Bergeron scored the game winner in overtime.
It was nice to bask in the moment of perhaps the greatest comeback in Boston sports history, but now it is time for the B’s to turn their attention to the New York Rangers.
Just like the Bruins, the Rangers also played a grueling seven game series. In Game 7 in Washington, they beat the Capitals 5-0 to advance to the second round. After being down in the series three games to two, New York won the final two games to send the Caps home.
The Bruins and Rangers faced off three times this 48-game season with the Rangers winning two of the three games. The B’s won the first game 3-1 and the Rangers won the final two games 4-3 (one in overtime and one in a shootout).
Heading into the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, Boston is banged up. On Tuesday morning, the Bruins announced they have called defenseman Torey Krug up from Providence because of the lack of d-men. As of right now, it does not look good for Andrew Ference, Wade Redden and Dennis Seidenberg (who played 0:37 in Game 7 against Toronto). Ference was seen with a boot on his left foot at the Garden on Monday night. Coach Julien did not have an update on the injuries in his press conference on Wednesday and says, “My final roster will be decided before the game.” Youngsters’ Dougie Hamilton and Matt Bartkowski stepped up big time in Game 7 and will likely play a big role again this series with all the injuries.
It will be key for Boston to put pucks on net against Rangers’ goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist is a Vezina Trophy nominee who had an outstanding season, along with a terrific series against the Capitals. For the B’s to be successful against “King Henrik”, they need to put as many shots as possible on net to create rebounds and second chance opportunities. This is what worked for Boston against the Maple Leafs and will have to do the same thing to be effective against New York.
Game 1 is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Thursday night and will be televised on the NBC Sports Network. You can find pre-game and post-game coverage on NESN throughout the series as well.