Bruins do it again in OT, take Game 1 vs. Rangers
If you were going to draw up what this series between these two old Original Six rivals was going to look like, well, it would have probably looked a lot like Game 1 did Thursday night.
For most of the night, the Boston Bruins and the New York Rangers were as close as Boston baked beans on a plate.
OK, you probably wouldn’t have drawn up Bruins forward Brad Marchand, who has been skunked in these playoffs so far, getting the overtime winner.
Especially after he left the morning skate Thursday after hurting, well, something.
Nobody would say, of course.
In the end, Marchand put home a pass on an odd-man rush from Patrice Bergeron to end it at 15:40 of overtime and give the Bruins a 3-2 win and a 1-0 lead in this best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal.
Marchand fought off a backchecking Mats Zuccarello to redirect the pass from the edge of the crease.
Just like they drew it up.
“I told him to go backdoor, so he knew,” said Bergeron. “He just had to beat his guy.”
They had burst out of the Bruins’ zone on the odd-man rush after Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara, playing the last of his 38 minutes and two seconds on the night, got his stick on a Rangers pass to change the angle across the slot just enough to trap a couple of Rangers.
Bergeron and Marchand were close together along the boards as they turned up ice and that’s when Bergeron told Marchand how it was going to go down.
“It felt great,” Marchand said.
The Bruins dominated the overtime after getting a power play, hitting a crossbar and a post. You know how games like that usually go.
“Yeah, the other team usually gets a lucky one,” said Marchand. “We hit so many posts ... they were bound to get one.”
The Bruins had numerous chances to end it during an interference penalty to Steve Eminger a minute into overtime. While they didn’t score, they created momemtum that would carry them through the rest of the extra period.
“We never regrouped,” said Rangers coach John Tortorella. “It was a surge and we couldn’t stop it.”
Marchand’s emergence was big for the Bruins on a night when they didn’t get anything on the scoresheet from their top line of David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton, the line which had carried the Bruins in the first round against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
One of the things that marked the Bruins run to the Stanley Cup in 2011 was the way it seemed like a different line stepped up in each round to carry the team.
“That’s the Brad Marchand we know,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “It was nice to see him bring his ‘A’ game tonight.”
The Bruins found themselves down 2-1 after the double whammy.
A goal by Rangers defenceman Ryan McDonagh with 1.3 seconds left in the second period tied it at 1-1 befire a goal by Derek Stepan 14 seconds into the third gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead.
But the Bruins struck back on the power play three minutes into the third period when defenceman Torey Krug, called up from the Bruins’ AHL affiliate in Providence because of injuries to defencemen Dennis Seidenberg, Andrew Ference and Wade Redden, beat Lundqvist from the left point to tie it again.
Krug played 16:41 while fellow youngsters Dougie Hamilton (20:45) and Matt Barkowski (26:42) also chipped in important minutes in the absence of the veterans on the Bruins’ blue line.
The Bruins will need a similar effort from the kids Sunday afternoon when they host Game 2.