Before this series began everyone was talking about if the Bruins could pierce Henrik Lundqvist‘s armor. It’s music to this journalist’s ears that those questions have been answered.
Despite losing Game 4 and missing out on sweeping the New York Rangers, the Boston Bruins came back to TD Garden and played quite possibly the most physical game of both the 2013 season and the post-season. From the first 20 minutes the Boston Bruins looked poised to win this game and defy all odds, and those odds poured on pretty quickly. The Boston Bruins gave up a Dan Girardi powerplay goal 10:39 into the first period. The Bruins struck back to tie 3 minutes into the second period with a powerplay goal from rookie defenseman Torey Krug. Krug has certainly made a name for himself, being a slow starter and given random spots during the regular season since singing with the team in 2012, the young budding star has 5 points in 5 games, with 4 of them coming in the New York Ranger series. The Bruins would take the lead later on in the period on a rebound tap in by Gregory Campbell and the Merlot Line centreman would seal the deal with an empty net goal putting the Bruins up 3-1 and moments later 4-1 in the series to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2011.
The center stage point of this entire series was how the Bruins would deal with “King” Henrik Lundqvist. A long time thorn in the side of the Boston Bruins, Lundqvist seemed unbeatable. Game 1 saw the Rangers goalie allow only 2 goals on 48 shots in regulation before giving up a third in overtime. The Bruins have always had a difficult time putting more than 3 pucks past the Rangers netminder, but Game 2 was a big step for the Bruins. The Bruins peppered Lundqvist with 32 shots and scoring 5 goals, to the Rangers credit they did get 2 past Tuukka Rask, but the big dent put in the Rangers was certainly felt. Game 3 was back to typical Lundqvist play however, 2 goals against and a .941 SV% showed that the Rangers still had a little bit of fight in them. Game 4 saw the Bruins score 3 big goals, but the Rangers capitalized on some nasty fluke plays by the Bruins and gained the momentum to win Game 4 and avoid being swept. Despite this however the Bruins determination and will power showed through the adversity, and they beat Lundqvist and the Rangers 3-1 in Boston.
Make no mistake however, the New York Rangers are a scary good team with a scary good goalie. All respect to the phenomenal play of Henrik Lundqvist and the bite and energy of the Rangers offence. Ryan Callahan, Derek Stepan, and Brian Boyle getting the huge honorable mentions for their tremendous play in this series and hats off to the role players in Chris Kreider, Rick Nash and Derick Brassard for giving the Rangers a chance to pull an upset on the Bruins. The Rangers are a tremendous talent and have seen through some hard time this 2013 season. Narrowly missing the playoffs and with the future of their head coach hanging over their heads, it says a lot of the Rangers to be able to power through the 3rd place Washington Capitals and almost have a chance to put away the Bruins.
It’s been a tough ride, but it’s about get even tougher. A rematch 21 years in the making is coming next.