Overtime, 12:57, 4-3 Rangers: The series lives on.
Despite the Bruins dominating possession for most of the OT period, all it took was one New York breakout to win the game.
Chris Kreider went streaking down the center of the ice and simply redirected a hard pass from Rick Nash over the shoulder of Tuukka Rask. Game over.
Overtime, 16:39, 3-3: Frenzied first few minutes of OT, with Rask stopping Nash from close range, and a Chris Kelly redirect of a Krug shot trickling just wide of an open net. Johnny Boychuk also destroyed Doresett at center ice.
Overtime, 20:00, 3-3: Here we go. Overtime. Rangers’ season on the line. Bruins’ trip to the conference finals on the line.
End of regulation, 3-3: You had to know it would come to this. Overtime.
Credit to the Rangers for finally waking up and playing as if their season was on the line. And credit to the Bruins for recovering after some bad missteps allowed the Rangers to get back into the game.
Marchand scored the OT game-winner in Game 1 in Boston, Bergeron netted the game-winner to eliminate the Leafs, and Krejci scored the OT game-winner in Game 4 of that series. The Rangers don’t yet have an overtime goal this postseason.
Third period, 2:50, 3-3: Following an icing, John Tortorella uses his timeout to save his players some breath.
Lundqvist not long ago made a beauty of a glove save on a Krug blast through traffic. Bruins turning it around a bit here but the game now rests on one play either way.
Third period, 5:33, 3-3: The Bruins kill the penalty, and shortly after the power play ended, Rask made a truly incredible save on Brian Boyle. Rask might never have seen the shot, but he got his body in position just enough to make the stop with what looked to be his right biceps. After some of the goals he’s let in tonight, he needed that one.
The Rangers very clearly have the momentum right now, as the Bruins have done absolutely nothing positive since the Seguin. We’ll see if they use the TV timeout to regroup and get something going, or if the Rangers make a push to win this one in regulation.
Third period, 8:00, 3-3: That Rangers power play will get another opportunity now, after Chris Kelly goes off for tripping. The season’s on the line for the Rangers, and they finally have something to feel good about with their power play.
Third period, 10:00, 3-3: Tie game.
Brian Boyle took a feed in the slot from Derek Stepan, and from close range simply beat Tuukka Rask to the blocker side.
The Rangers’ power play finally breaks through, and what timing.
Third period, 11:05, 3-2 Bruins: Too many men on the ice for the Bruins. Hold onto your hats.
Third period, 11:53, 3-2 Bruins: Lundqvist looked like he was saving the game for the Rangers, and he was. But Seguin stuck with his rebound and fit a shot past Lundqvist for the go-ahead goal. It came just after the power play expired, but the Bruins don’t care. They are now 11:53 away from the conference finals.
Third period, 13:56, 2-2: The Bruins catch a bit of a break, as Ryan McDonagh gets too aggressive on an attempt to screen Rask and ends up jumping into the netminder. McDonagh will head to the box, and the Bruins’ power play (2-for-3 tonight) will get two minutes to try to get a lead.
Third period, 18:45, 2-2: And just like that, it’s a whole new hockey game.
Tuukka Rask played a puck behind his own net and left the puck for Zdeno Chara. Very casually, Chara looked up for his next pass, and Derek Stepan just stole it and wrapped it around the post and in.
It was another bad mistake by Boston that led to a New York goal, and the Bruins now have to work if they want to win this series tonight.
Third period, 20:00, 2-1 Bruins: Final 20 under way in New York.
Second intermission, 2-1 Bruins: With the prospect of a full week of rest, Claude Julien is laying it all out there. Zdeno Chara already has 20:16 time on ice, and don’t expect that to go down in the third, not as long as this game remains close.
The other time on ice numbers that jump out are Tyler Seguin (7:27) and Rich Peverley (5:45). Considering Shawn Thornton has 7:48 of ice time, that’s surprising to see. Then again, with the way both Seguin and Peverley have looked all postseason, it makes sense. Seguin did pick up an assist on the Krug goal, though.
End of second period, 2-1 Bruins: It’s rare that we see the Bruins playing the role of pacifists, but without any reason to give any momentum to the Rangers, they’ve played like Mother Teresa mixed with Gandhi. Derek Brassard, notably, dropped his mitts and grabbed a hold of Brad Marchand deep in the New York end, but Marchand just kept on skating. Earlier, Derek Dorsett started with Daniel Paille at the faceoff circle, but the Bruins just kept on playing.
The Rangers’ goal, fluky as it was, certainly woke up the crowd and reminded them that they were attending a hockey game, and giving in to any requests to fight in a tight game would only make the Bruins’ job tougher in this game.
As it stands now, all that stands between the Bruins and the Eastern Conference finals is 20 minutes of sound defensive hockey. Against a Rangers team that’s mustered just 12 shots on net through 40 minutes, it’s a task that should be accomplished.
Second period, 2:51, 2-1 Bruins: No surprise here, but the Rangers failed to score on the power play and are now 2-for-40 this postseason, a 5 percent success rate. That’s math even I can do!
Second period, 6:32, 2-1 Bruins: Jaromir Jagr will head to the box for holding, giving the Rangers’ power play another “opportunity.” It’s hard to call it a real opportunity, with the way the PP unit has struggled all series and postseason, but the Rangers nevertheless will get to skate with one more player than the Bruins for two minutes. We’ll see if this is the miraculous time where the get something going.
Second period, 11:21, 2-1 Bruins: Well, the two-goal lead was short-lived, because Tuukka Rask essentially tripped over his own two feet. Carl Hagelin sent a really weak backhand attempt on net and Johnny Boychuk got a piece of it. But with Rask on his butt, he was unable to stop the puck with his stick.
That was … not … good.
Second period, 12:19, 2-0 Bruins: The unbelievable run for Torey Krug continues, as the kid one-times a slapper from the blue line and beats Lundqvist to the glove side.
No bad bounce there. Just a great shot from a kid who’s pretty much locked up his lineup spot for a team that looks to be headed to the conference finals.
Second period, 13:56, 1-0 Bruins: After giving up a power play goal, the Rangers commit another penalty. Michael Del Zotto, two minutes for interference. Ugly stuff for New York.
Second period, 15:21, 1-0 Bruins: David Krejci weaved complete magic in the neutral zone and got a puck to Brad Marchand at the blue line. Marchand then dropped a pass for Nathan Horton, who tried to send it back in front. The puck got kicked back to Horton, who sent a bad angle shot on net. Lundqvist couldn’t adjust, and the Bruins lead 1-0.
There’s a good chance that makes this crowd even quieter, something not before thought to be possible.
Second period, 16:51, 0-0: The Bruins get another power play when Kris Newbury crashes into Rask. Brad Richards probably would not have done that.
Second period, 18:41, 0-0: The Bruins catch a break early in this one, as Ryan McDonagh rings iron just 20 seconds into the period. That might have been the ignition for this crowd, but the lucky bounce goes the Bruins way.
Second period, 20:00, 0-0: After a brief delay for Henrik Lundqvist to get a little something on his stick at the bench, the second period is under way.
End of first period, 0-0: Well, the final minutes of the period play on without any stoppages, making it feel like that was one quick period.
The Bruins killed that penalty, with the Rangers’ PP dropping to 2-for-39 for the postseason, and Boston heads to the locker room with a 12-4 shot advantage. As I mentioned earlier, the Rangers don’t look desperate, and at times they don’t even look interested. After watching the Maple Leafs refuse to quit in the first round, the Rangers’ lack of fire is apparent here.
Despite that, the Bruins haven’t been able to bury anything, so all it will take is one quick burst from New York, and the Rangers could have themselves a lead. And hey, a goal might even wake up the listless crowd that is treating Madison Square Garden like a library right now. So while it’s easy to crush the Rangers right now, the Bruins haven’t won anything yet.
On the intermission report, Jeremy Roenick said, “The fans, the players — everybody knows that this series is over. The Rangers were terrible that period. It seems to me that they’ve just thrown in the towel. I think they’ve quit. … I think this team is done tonight.”
First period, 7:18, 0-0: Rangers captain Ryan Callahan has been trying to get under the skin of the Bruins all series long, and it just worked on rookie Matt Bartkowski. The rookie D-man let his frustration boil over and slashed Callahan right in the midsection, right in front of the ref. That’ll get you two minutes every time.
Now let’s watch to see how the Rangers’ power play (2-for-38) looks tonight.
First period, 13:39, 0-0: The Rangers finally got their first shot on net, after the Bruins registered the first seven shots on goal of the night. You might think that with their backs against the wall, the Rangers might come out firing a bit stronger, but if you watched Game 3, this start doesn’t surprise you.
First period, 15:48, 0-0: The B’s got a couple of high-quality chances right off the bat in that power play, but Lundqvist was there to make the saves. The Rangers did a good job to kill the rest of the power play, a unit that might have been pretty rusty heading into this one.
First period, 18:17, 0-0: Here’s something that was never said in Game 3 — the Bruins have a power play.
The refs had no choice but to call this one, after Roman Hamrlik sent a puck over the glass int he D zone. Probably not what the Rangers were hoping for with Hamrlik.
First period, 20:00: The Rangers won the opening faceoff, and this one is under way.
7:02 p.m.: Without Brad Richards, Arron Asham and Anton Stralman, the Rangers will be going with Kris Newbury, Michael Haley and Roman Hamrlik.
6:31 p.m.: The Bruins take the ice for warmups without Dennis Seidenberg or Wade Redden, which means it’ll be the same lineup for Boston tonight.
It feels like Redden is ready to play and Seidenberg could maybe play if the team desperately needed him. But with the way Torey Krug, Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton have played well, the need for Seidenberg to rush it is lessened, and Claude Julien can feel good about sending the rookies out for another game, especially with the three-game cushion.
The Bruins know they won’t get past Pittsburgh without Seidenberg at full strength, and a win tonight would ensure an extra week of recovery for him.
6:28 p.m.: As we get closer for puck drop, former Bruins star Marc Savard chimes in via Twitter.
He offered his thoughts about Brad Richards being made a healthy scratch.
It’s safe to say that Savard sides with the player in this one.
6:01 p.m.: Brad Richards’ benching was the big story of the day, and that’s good news for Henrik Lundqvist. Because what the goaltender said certainly could have been blown up into a big story today.
Lundqvist said, after morning skate:
“I’ve looked at a few games and they definitely got some lucky bounces. I told you guys after the last game, I’m not gonna blame the loss on them getting lucky bounces. But they haven’t changed the way they’re playing. They shoot from the point, and they get a lot of people in front of the net. That’s what they do, and they’re good at it. You just have to play them hard and make sure we make it tough for them to get in front.
“They go hard to the net. That’s what they do, that’s how they play. They put a lot of pucks on the net and create chances and goals from rebounds and screens and deflections. There’s no surprise there.
“They’re on a roll. We’re going to have to stop them tonight.”
Lucky bounces play a factor in all sports, especially hockey, but a 3-0 series lead in which the Bruins have outscored New York 10-5 is not determined by lucky bounces. As Lundqvist said himself, the plays are by design, and it’s not “lucky” that Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell were in perfect position to screen Lundqvist on the first goal in Game 3. And on the game-winning goal, it was actually an unlucky bounce that nearly cost the Bruins a goal, but Daniel Paille’s decision to out-hustle every player in a blue sweater was what earned him and the Bruins a victory.
This is the same Lundqvist who, after allowing five goals in Game 2, said the Rangers gave away the game to Boston, so it’s not entirely surprising that he’s pointing to forces outside of the Rangers’ control. But by playing the “lucky bounces” card, Lundqvist puts even more pressure on himself tonight to back up his belief that he and the Rangers are the better team.
5 p.m.: It’s hard to believe it, but tonight, the Bruins will be playing for the sweep.
There is no way to track down every prediction for this series, but it is safe to assume that the people who called for a Boston sweep account for less than 1 percent of the prognosticators. With two teams seemingly so evenly matched, a six-game series seemed to be the shortest route possible to the conference finals.
Alas, a hard-fought overtime battle in Game 1, a blowout win in Game 2 and a gritty third-period comeback in Game 3 have the Bruins in position.
They’ve been up big before, and you know that it hasn’t always gone well. But you’d like to think that after nearly having their season come to a crashing halt against Toronto, they’re aware that they can’t take their foot off the gas pedal, look past their opponent or any other sports cliche you could drum up. They need to stick with the other set of cliches — sticking with their system, taking things one shift at a time and focusing on the little things.
On the other side, John Tortorella is shaking up his lineup by benching Brad Richards. At this point, the move could be seen for a while, as Richards has gone from getting regular playing time to moving down to the fourth line in this postseason.
The Rangers definitely didn’t bring their best effort in Game 3, and if it weren’t for Henrik Lundqvist, the Bruins might have won that game 5-1. Their effort stood in stark contrast to what the Maple Leafs did in the first round after falling down 3-1 to the Bruins, leading to a lot of questions as to whether they’ve completely given up on Tortorella and whether they even want their season to continue at this point.
Tonight, one way or the other, they’ll answer those questions.