Down 2-0 with a little more than 32 minutes left to play, and facing elimination, the New York Rangers playoff run was at a crossroads. They could follow the example of the Washington Capitals who folded like a cheap suit in Game 7. Or...
Down 2-0 with a little more than 32 minutes left to play, and facing elimination, the New York Rangers playoff run was at a crossroads. They could follow the example of the Washington Capitals who folded like a cheap suit in Game 7. Or, the Blueshirts could decide to fight back and play with a desperation, urgency and resiliency that has been lacking in this series. If they were to choose the latter option, they were going to need a break.
Well, one break coming up, courtesy of Tuukka Rask who certainly will not be winning Dancing With the Stars any time soon. Just 58 seconds after Rangers nemesis Torey Krug scored his third goal of the series, Carl Hagelin’s backhander trickled past the prone Bruins goaltender after Rask stumbled and fell to the ice.
“Probably the ugliest goal I have ever seen,” Henrik Lundqvist commented to Larry Brooks of the NY Post. “It turned it around for us, and that’s hockey.
‘‘We need to be more focused, I need to be more focused,’’ Rask explained to Ira Podell of the AP. ‘‘I just took a step to the side in what I think probably was a skate mark or something. I lost my balance and the rest is history.
‘‘We gave them a couple of gifts and it cost us the game.’’
The other “gift” was Derek Stepan’s goal 75 seconds into the third period to tie the game as he picked Zdeno Chara’s pocket and stuffed home the tying goal. After the game Chara said he didn’t know Stepan was near him – which is understandable given that FrankenChara (copyrighted by my wife Roe) is like eight feet tall on skates and probably thought Stepan was a gnat buzzing around his head.
“It certainly gave us life,” Stepan stated after the game. “It’s a timely goal at the right time.”
The Rangers resiliency was tested again as Boston scored two seconds after Ryan McDonagh’s borderline call for Goalie Interference expired as the Bruins scored after Henrik Lundqvist made a flurry of stops late in the Boston power play.
However, less than two minutes later a month of Sundays hit the calendar, pigs started to fly and cats and dogs were living in harmony as the Rangers power play woke up from its doldrums to tie the game midway through the third period.
Credit Brian Engblom for pointing out the two things the Rangers did right, for a change, on their power play and the big mistake the Bruins committed.
For one of the few times on a man advantage, the Blueshirts were able to gain the Bruins zone while carrying the puck. Combine that with some puck movement and player movement and you have Brian Boyle’s power play goal.
The one main point Engblom pointed out was how the Bruins got caught watching the puck and no one was looking at the weak side and that allowed Boyle to skate into position in the slot. For the rare time, it was Boston that got burned puck-watching – not the Rangers.
I hope John Tortorella puts the following quote up on the bulletin board in the TD Garden prior to Game 5 as a reminder of what the Rangers need to do on Saturday.
“When we get a power play we need to be determined enough to go out and make a difference,” Boyle said to Dan Rosen of NHL.com. “We need to do it. It has to work. The games we lost, if we get a power-play goal it’s a different game.”
The King rallied his teammates with a pre-game speech and then went out and backed it up – especially in overtime as he counted key stops on Patrice Bergeron, Jaromir Jagr and Brad Marchand among his 37 saves.
“I told the guys before the game there was no way we were losing this game,” Lundqvist said. “We want to keep playing. We owe it to ourselves, to our fans. All our focus today was just on this game. Now we move our focus to the next game and the first period of that game. We will see how far that takes us.”
All of Lundqvist’s talk and play would mean nothing without Chris Kreider’s overtime winner. Again, puck and player movement played a key following a huge faceoff win by Deric