There were concerns about the Bruins going into tonight’s game. Would the momentum from that incredible game seven win translate over into the second series of the Stanley Cup Playoffs? With three veteran defensemen down, could the new blood with a whole five games experience between them be able to handle such a hard hitting team like the Rangers? Would Brad Marchand shake off the zero goals in the Toronto series and make good for Boston? The answers we found out were yes, yes, and darn skippy yes.
The Bruins seem to like their dramatic flourishes to their games these days. Zdeno Chara was on the ice for 38:02 tonight. He scored the opening goal for Boston 12:23 into the second, getting assists from David Krejci and Nathan Horton. Big Z was everywhere we needed him to be, and made very few mistakes on the ice.
The Rangers weren’t going to be counted out though. A literal last second score by Ryan McDonaugh tied it up at the end of the second. Fourteen seconds into the third Derek Stepan gave the Rangers the first lead of the night at 2-1.
That’s where our rookie defenseman rose to the challenge and came back swinging. Being on the power play for a Steve Eminger holding call, the Bruins surged up the ice. Brad Marchand approached down the right side. He couldn’t get a clean shot in, so he sent the puck back to the center of the offensive zone to Dougie Hamilton. Hamilton, being in the same boat as Marchand sent the puck up to Torey Krug. Krug stabilized the puck, and sent it in to traffic. The screen was effective enough to blind Henrik Lundqvist and it went through the crease to tie things up at two all. Great shot Torey, and congratulations on your first NHL goal.
The game remained a goalie duel as Tuukka Rask and Henrik Lundqvist did all they could in the last minutes of the third period to stave off a regulation loss. The game almost went Boston’s way as Johnny Boychuk who had gotten drilled into the boards early in the game by Taylor Pyatt, fired a monster shot that just dinged off the post with one second left in regulation. After a very tough sixty minutes, this game headed into overtime.
Overtime was all Boston. In the words of Rangers head coach John Tortorella: “I thought it was pretty even going into the overtime, but we got spanked going into overtime.” The Bruins were firing on all cylinders, and firing with all available sticks. The Bruins maintained constant pressure on the Rangers with very few defensive breakdowns or poor turnovers. The end came three quarters through overtime when Patrice Bergeron (at this point we have to assume any awesome play will have him in it.) sailed down the right side towards the net with the puck. Brad Marchand began a short pass in front of net mimicking Bergy’s maneuver. Bergeron sent the pass to Marchand, and JACKPOT!
(As a fan who got to watch a majority of their games, my co-workers and friends got subjected to an odd high-pitch voice I make when the Bergeron line plays.. It usually comes down to squeaks of ‘Marchy’ ‘Bergy’ ‘Segy’ and an odd roar when they score. It annoys the ones I love, but it felt great to squeak out the winning call again.)
The Bruins lead the series 1-0, and play again on Sunday at 3pm. It will be airing on the NBC networks. (Seriously, how many of you would rather hear Jack Edwards comment on the game than Pierre McGuire though? Had he said ‘Todd March-and’ one more time I would have gone to Boston to throttle him.)