Bruins wake up, take out hapless Rangers 2-1

Rangers1.jpgThe Boston Bruins failed to wake up for the game against the
Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday, when everyone in the hockey world was
certain they would try and decapitate every player on the other side of
the ice. Three days later, there’s no question they wanted the win more
than the New York Rangers.

A loss today and the Bruins could have
found themselves in a dire situation in the standings, barely holding on
to a one-point lead over the Rangers and Atlanta Thrashers. Failing to
actually show a care factor would prove disastrous, especially as they
face a fanbase that is threatening to boycott a team they feel is not
putting forth a suitable effort from game to game.

It was an
overall sharp effort by the Bruins, who did what needed to be done to
win a low-scoring affair. They didn’t make many mistakes, played hard on
the forecheck and Tuukka Rask was just as good as he’s been all season

With an all-important two points, the Bruins can hold
off the questions — for now. There’s still a long way to go and winning
just one game is far from ensuring a playoff spot. Yet the Bruins find
themselves in much better position than the the New York Rangers are in,
who once again looked disinterested in even competing until about 54
minutes into the game.

The New York Rangers are done. They’ve
given up, and I’ll be incredibly surprised if they find a way into the
playoffs from here. They now sit five points back from the Bruins, with
the Atlanta Thrashers are planted between them and the 8th spot. If they
couldn’t muster a concerted effort in this game, I’m doubtful they’ll
be able to figure it out moving forward.

That isn’t to say the
Rangers were completely dominated, they were just slightly more inept
than the Boston Bruins in this game. The Bruins also showed more fight
and attitude than the Rangers — which gave New York some lengthy time
on the power play — and if not for a number of great saves by Henrik
Lundqvist then the Bruins would have easily had a 2-0 lead headed into
the first intermission.

There isn’t much else to say about this
Rangers team that I haven’t already said this weekend, other than this
is not a team that deserves a playoff berth. We can leave the debate
about the coaching for another day, but this is a team that is lacking in
talent and not even a pretty good game by captain Chris Drury could save

Sean Avery was a non-factor and Marian Gaborik — despite
four shots on goal — was a non-factor. I won’t even get into the
boneheaded play by Vinny Prospal; I’m tired of writing about illegal

No time to rest for Boston; they will take on the Atlanta
Thrashers on Tuesday in another showdown to hold on to the 8th spot in
the East.

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    Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

    Niklas Kronwall
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    When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

    (His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

    It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

    He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

    First, the Kronwalling:

    Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

    It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

    Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

    Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

    Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

    Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

    It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

    To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

    The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

    That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

    They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

    Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


    More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

    In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

    Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

    Jack Eichel
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    The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

    You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

    That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

    Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

    Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


    Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

    While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

    In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

    The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?