Once again the Boston Bruins skated out onto the ice at Madison Square Garden with one common focus that rang down the bench. They needed to win. The Bruins went into tonight forgetting about the previous three games and about the miraculous game 7 comeback they had, looking at tonight’s fresh sheet of ice as a clean slate, a fresh start. Unfortunately, the new outlook worked in favor of the Rangers as they kept themselves alive winning 4-3 in overtime.
Through the first twenty minutes both teams came out prepared to bring their best foot forward. Both brought a strong physical presence and their best defensive game yet, keeping the score deadlocked at 0 through the periods’ duration. The Bruins came out strong, disallowing the Rangers to get a shot on net until almost seven minutes into the frame, but were unable to light the lamp on any of their 12 chances.
Right off the back the Bruins found themselves on a power play as Kris Newbury went to the box for goaltender interference. With a little help from Brad Marchand and David Krejci, Nathan Horton was able to blast a wrist shot towards Henrik Lundqvist that found its’ way over the line and into the back of the net for a 1-0 Bruins lead early on in the middle frame. Just three minutes later Torey Krug blasted a one-timers from just inside the blue line that had eyes for the red light as it sailed high over the shoulder of Lundqvist for a quick 2-0 lead. To no surprise (okay a little), the Rangers didn’t back down as they netted a goal of their own just under a minute later to cut the lead to a single goal. The goal came as somewhat of a fluke as Tuukka Rask went to move from side-to-side and his skate caught a rivet in the ice, causing him to be out of position. The two teams continued to battle it out for the remainder of the period, the Bruins littering Lundqvist with shots as the buzzer sounded. Despite holding a one-goal lead the Bruins had a lot of preserving and pushing to do if they planned on being the first team to advance to the Conference Finals.
As the puck hit the ice to commence the third period, the Rangers fought back. At the 1:15 mark Derek Stepan showed up Zdeno Chara, sneaking in behind him as he tried to wrap the puck around to clear it, Stepan being able to get his stick on it and beat Rask easily to tie the game. The goal seemed to put some extra pizzazz in the fans at MSG, but gave the Bruins the extra shove they needed to kick it into high(er) gear. As Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton began to cycle the puck around in the offensive end, the momentum began to swing. Hamilton got the puck across the front of the net to Seguin where he snapped an initial shot on Henrik and then banked in his own rebound pounding his fist in glory on the glass in celebration. His goal came at the 8:06 mark and snapped a scoreless postseason drought for the young superstar. Unfortunately, the Bruins lead was short-lived once again as Brian Boyle snapped a scoreless Rangers’ power play with Tyler Seguin serving a ‘too many men’ penalty for the team. The score would remain tied at 3, forcing an additional overtime period. Tuukka Rask needed to up his game if the Bruins stood a chance at owning the game and series.
With overtime underway for the second time of the series, the Rangers came out prepared, littering Tuukka with shots from the get-go. Fortunately he was able to keep his stick and body on the puck and keep the game tied early on. As the clock winded down, the Bruins and Rangers exchanged shots, the Bruins having a nice cycling play, but Chris Kreider would be the man of the night as he raced up ice with Rick Nash and beat Rask with ease, forcing game 5 and keeping his team alive.
As the Bruins head back home to Boston, they need to regroup and refocus, treating Saturday’s game as if it were for the Stanley Cup. They need to come out strong, battle hard and leave everything they have out on the ice. Tyler Seguin made some game-changing efforts tonight, now it’s time for Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly to step up and make themselves known. With the three of them able to produce paired with Marchand finding the back of the net, Jagr being less puck possessive and the defense staying as dominant with Rask at the core, there is no reason why they shouldn’t be able to skate away with game 5 in the bag. Faceoff is at 5:30PM and will be aired on NBC Sports Network.