It was the best of periods, it was the worst of periods. For this is a tale of two Bruins teams.
While I’ll likely never win a Pulitzer it accurately represents the feel of tonight’s game against the New York Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist, a silver medalist in Sochi was a player that never gave up more than three goals to any Bruins team he has ever faced. Tuukka Rask, the bronze medalist was coming off a shaky game where the Bruins fell 4-2 to the Washington Capitals. It was likely going to be a rough nite for one of the goaltenders at Madison Square Garden, and it looked like it was going to be Rask.
The Rangers played solid hockey throughout the first period tonight. They were firing on all cylinders, and the Bruins team didn’t have much in the way of a response. The Bruins had yet to lose three games in a row this season, but it looked like it was going to happen early. A bad defensive play by David Krejci allowed TJ Miller to get great position and the angle on a breakaway that sailed past Rask to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead only 3:20 into the game. The Bruins had been outshot fourteen to one in the at one point of the game, and they were easily on the defensive. The Bruins salvaged a goal from Jarome Iginla near the end of the period, but even as they left for the first intermission, it seemed that the Bruins were hanging in there more out of luck than skill.
“Tonight we probably had one of our best first periods of the year, but unfortunately we were not able to make the other team pay for some of their mistakes,” Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault said after the game.
The second period started, and the stagnant Bruins erupted. Four minutes into the game, Dougie Hamilton got his second point of the game, by playing the puck past Lundqvist. Hamilton got his first three point game of his NHL career five minutes later when Carl Soderberg got his goal in. Overall it was a great night for the young blueliner (The fun irony of this was that the commentators of NBCSN and 98.5 were commenting on how Dougie was in no way a quality substitute for Dennis Seidenberg.), who earned second star honors of the night.
The Bruins lost some momentum when the Rangers got a goal from Brad Richards late in the second, but the Bruins hit the afterburners in the third and never looked back. In the middle of the third period, Dougie Hamilton’s clearing attempt sailed over the boards and earned Boston a unwanted delay of game penalty. The New York Rangers now had to an important power play eight minutes into the third. That’s when it all fell apart for them. Ryan Callahan‘s shot on net ringed off the post, and Boston skated the other way with Gregory Campbell finishing for a gorgeous shorthanded goal. New York had that once chance of being tied 3-3, but now the Rangers were now trailing 4-2.
(Gregory Campbell did not receive any of the three star honors tonight, and I thought he was robbed. His two goal game should have warranted some sort of nomination. No offense Iginla or Rask, but Campbell played one of the better games of his career tonight.)
Campbell scored again to make it 5-2. A Rangers power play goal just four seconds into a Kevan Miller penalty got them within two. Then Milan Lucic tipped in a shot from Matt Bartkowski in the last ninety seconds of the game to give Lundqvist one of the worst NHL games of his career.
Had you asked if we’d win tonight, I would have said yes. If you told me that the B’s would get six past Lundqvist, I wouldn’t have believed you. When Lundqvist asked his fellow Rangers for a six pack for his birthday, I doubt this is what he had in mind.
“They’re a real good team, they have a lot of skill, and work hard,” said Henrik Lundqvist of the Bruins postgame. “I think they are really good at battling in front of both nets, and that’s where a lot of games get decided.”
The Bruins cut the losing streak at two. More importantly, the Bruins came from one of their worst starts this season to put six goals on one of the best goalies in the league. Dougie had a three point game, Gregory Campbell had a two goal game, and the Bruins may have finally shaken off the last of the post-Olympic rust.