Sunday, April 1, 2012
Game Seventy Nine: B's Top Rangers, Clinch Division
The Boston Bruins and the New York Rangers are the class of the Eastern Conference. Two deep teams with two great coaches and two shutdown goaltenders. A Sunday night finale could be the only stage big enough to hold these two teams.
In what was the final regular season meeting between these teams, both squads had much to gain with a victory. The Rangers would clinch the top spot in the East whereas the B's could clinch the Northeast Division. The Bruins were 6-1-1 in their last eight games. Rangers have won four straight. Talk about combustible elements.
Tim Thomas opposed Henrik Lundqvist in this one. Everyone expected Thomas to get the start since the B's were winless against the Rangers this season and this is a team you would still like to prove something to by getting a win.
Gregory Campbell was scratched due to a foot injury and was replaced by Daniel Paille. Brian Rolston centered the fourth line with Paille and Shawn Thornton. Dennis Seidenberg returned to the lineup after missing the last two games with an infected laceration.
The first period consisted of a lot of speed through the neutral zone with very little scoring chances. The only goal of the period came when Zdeno Chara blasted a shot off of Jordan Caron, creating a loose puck. From there, Marian Gaborik chased it down and scored his 40th goal of the season. The Bruins outshot the Rangers 7-5 through the first 20 minutes.
In the second period, the physicality certainly picked up. As many B's fans know, that always seems to favor the Black and Gold. Boston recorded two goals in the period to take the lead. Seidenberg unloaded a shot from the top of the zone to beat Lundqvist and Patrice Bergergon stuck one in under his pads on the power play. Chara had an assist on Seidenberg's goal, extending his point streak to five games.
The third period was all about Thomas. Sure, he made things a little interesting with his unorthodox goaltending style by vacating the net. In the end, he made the key stops towards the end of regulation when the Rangers made their late push. The Bruins held on to win this game by a score of 2-1 and clinch the Northeast Division.
The Bruins' next game will be Tuesday night back at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Gold Star: Tim Thomas (33 saves on 34 shots, 1 goal allowed, .971 save percentage)...Ready for the postseason? Sure seems like it.
Black Star: Johnny Boychuk...He needs to keep his head up more and look for his teammates when passing the puck.