With only four games left in the regular season, the Bruins have already clinched the Northeast Division. However, they do not want to stop there. Heading into tonight, they are only four points out of first place so a win would be huge. They took on the New York Rangers tonight, a team that currently holds the final playoff spot heading into this game.
The game was held on the Versus Network, which meant that Jack Edwards would not be calling the action. It is a shame because he adds another level of excitement to every game and you can not help but feel pumped. Very disappointing but life goes on. During the morning skate, Bruins forward Milan Lucic took a stick to the face resulting in a cut. He still was in the line up for the game. A sigh of relief for Bruins fans that their leading goal scorer was able to play.
The last time these two teams met, the Rangers won a very tight game in Boston by a score of 1-0. Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was outstanding as he carried New York on his back during that game. In this game, the first period went by rather quickly partly because it was one of the best played periods by the Bruins all season long. They out shot the Rangers 19-5, won two more faceoffs, and out hit them 10-7. Daniel Paille and Nathan Horton scored for Boston in a span of 1:37 and the Bruins took a 2-0 lead into the locker room after one period.
The second period turned out to be more level. Both teams had plenty of opportunities to put pucks into the net. Chris Kelly (BOS) scored his 13th goal of the season to give Boston a three goal lead. That goal was Kelly's first goal as a Bruin. The Rangers would not go away as Vaclav Prospal scored two goals to pull New York within one. Wojtek Wolski had assists on both goals. A very sloppy period defensively for the Bruins.
As great as the Bruins played in the first period, that is how bad they played in the third period. They played with no sense of urgency at all and it was clear that New York was playing for everything. Brandon Dubinsky (NYR) tied the game at three by scoring his 23rd goal of the season. Less than two minutes later, Michael Sauer (NYR) scored his third goal of the season. The Rangers went on to win the game 5-3.
Do not let the score fool you. Tim Thomas played a good game. He just had no help defensively. Three out of the five goals came as a result of defensive errors and the final goal was an empty net goal. So much for chasing the top seed in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins need to learn to close games out when the playoffs come around. Although they are used to blowing a 3-0 lead. Too soon? My apologies. But that's reality.
Gold Star: Daniel Paille (1 goal, 4 shots on goal)...he really played hard and he definitely earned his minutes. When Shawn Thornton returns, Paille proved that he should not be the odd man out.
Black Star: Adam McQuaid...when you have your entire team yelling at you about a blown coverage, you know you had a bad game. He finished with a -2 rating and had a giveaway that led to a goal.