Heading into tonight’s Game 3 matchup in Round 2 of the NHL Playoffs, the New York Rangers find themselves with the tough task of trying to bounce back from a 2-0 deficit against the chippy Boston Bruins. After finding themselves thoroughly outplayed in Game 2, with reigning Vezina champion Henrik Lundqvist surrendering 5 goals, the series shifts to home ice for the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
FIRST PERIOD RECAP
In the first period, the Bruins came out with the upper hand, controlling the tempo and play for most of the period. Despite the advantage of 2 power play opportunities, both were squandered by the Rangers. Boston continually and consistently won the battles along the boards, and was able to move the puck up the middle of the ice swiftly. Lundqvist made 9 saves, including a pair of clean breakaway chances by the Bruins. Aside from that, the Rangers generated little in the way of scoring chances for themselves, making it an easy period for Tuukka Rask.
Rochester native Ryan Callahan enjoyed a hard-working period, which included a nice hit on Zdeno Chara, who got punked out and needed Adam McQuaid to stick up for him. Chara was shown bleeding from cuts following the hit. Earlier in the series, NBC announced proclaimed that “no one wants to fight Chara,” which does not appear to be the case. Callahan also blocked a hard Bruins slap shot from the point.
For the Rangers to have a chance at winning this game, and climbing back into the series, it will be critical for them to grab the first goal of this game.
SECOND PERIOD RECAP
As the second period got underway, the Rangers were granted the gift of their 3rd power-play of the game. Unfortunately, their power play stayed putrid, as it has been in both Rounds 1 and 2, and they could not capitalize. Yet, 4 minutes in, former Buffalo Sabre Taylor Pyatt was able to get the Rangers the first goal that they badly needed, tipping in a shot from Ryan McDonagh.
After enjoying a few minutes of momentum, the Bruins transitioned right back to their control of the play. Lundqvist continued his stellar play, enjoying chants of “Henrik! Henrik!” by the home crowd following another solid save with 9 minutes remaining. The Bruins continued their control up until the close of the period, with no goals to show for their efforts.
Throughout the period, the NBC broadcast crew continued their clear favoritism of the Bruins and their players, with Pierre McGuire in particular having his man-crush on Bruins rookie defensemen Torey Krug in full display multiple times. Yes, Krug has played well since joining the NHL, but not on the level that McGuire would have you think. Zdeno Chara, to his credit, has kept Rick Nash of the Rangers in check.
Play of the period? Brad Marchand, he who spelled “Champions” wrong in a tattoo, caught on camera purposely trying to kick a puck into the net, and missing.
To this point, Lundqvist has been the story and star of the game.
THIRD PERIOD RECAP
As the third period got underway, it was clear that both teams realized the stakes. A Rangers win, and New York is back in the series. A Bruins win, and Boston has the series all but wrapped up.
3 minutes into the period, Johnny Boychuk kissed a gift-horse, as he notched the game-tying goal, sending a snap-shot through a swarm of bodies. After that, the pace continued to pick up, as it became a smash-mouth game and war of attrition. Marchand clearly did not want part of it, as his cheap antics led to Scott Thornton having to try and stand up for him against Derek Dorsett. “No one wants number 22,” exclaimed McGuire.
Later, Tyler Seguin’s stick connected with Chris Kreider’s face, with no penalty. The NBC crew and McGuire loved every minute of it, continuing their love of the Bruins, even though the Rangers landed a nice, clean hit on Patrice Bergeron, leaving him bloody.
The tenacity of the Bruins was rewarded with 3 1/2 minutes left in the game, as former Sabre Daniel Paille found a loose puck laying near Henrik Lundqvist, and poked it home for a 2-1 lead in the game. The puck took a wildly odd bounce into the air above Lundqvist, landed in the crease area, and Paille was able to find it prior to anyone else.
With 1:30 remaining, Rick Nash had a clear chance in the slot, but fired the puck directly into the armit of Rask. From there, the game was over, as the Bruins took the win, and a commanding 3-o lead in the series. Lundqvist was the best player on the ice, and finished with 32 saves.
Quote of the game: “He’s lucky it was only a stick and not his head removed from his body.” – McGuire, following a play against Rick Nash
Game 4 will be on Thursday in New York, with the Bruins gaining a chance to sweep the Rangers.