The Boston Bruins are one win away from the Eastern Conference finals after coming back in the third period to take out the New York Rangers 2-1 in Game 3 and they’ve got their fourth line to thank for it.
Daniel Paille set up Johnny Boychuk’s third period goal and scored the game-winner with just 3:31 left to play to take out a sluggish Rangers team. Tuukka Rask was again outstanding in goal for Boston stopping 23 shots in the win. Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist was his typical outstanding self in a losing effort stopping 32 shots.
Game 4 of the series is Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.
Here are your talking points:
— The Bruins’ fourth line wore out the Rangers all game long. With home ice and your pick of who to lineup against them, how is that allowed to happen from the New York perspective?
— If there’s anything Bruins fans will grump about it’ll be the distinct lack of power plays as the Rangers were not assessed a penalty in this game. It seems the Rangers are nothing but angels at home. We’re sure some of you have the tinfoil hats firmly planted on your head.
— Case in point to the previous statement: Ryan Callahan getting away with what would’ve been a double-minor for high-sticking on Zdeno Chara.
— The Rangers were able to get away with going down 0-2 to Washington in the previous round. Doing that against Boston this time around has proved to be a very bad plan. Unless their offense picks up and the defense tightens up, this series is just about over with.
— What more can you say about how bad the Rangers’ power play has been? Pierre McGuire ripped the Rangers “attack” during the second period saying it was disorganized. That’s just one word for it but a better one would be “abysmal.” They were 0-2 on the man advantage tonight.
Here are the highlights from Game 3:
When it comes to point streaks for U.S.-born NHL players, Patrick Kane now stands alone.
With a power-play goal early in Saturday’s Blackhawks – Kings game, Kane extended his streak to 19 games, breaking a tie with Phil Kessel and Eddie Olczyk (who finished with at least a point in 18 straight).
As of this writing, Kane has 11 goals and 19 assists during this 19-game streak. He also leads the NHL in scoring.
Bobby Hull’s 21-game point streak stands as the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall team record, by the way.
You know what they say: it’s easy to bash a strategy in hindsight.
Slam that NFL head coach for going for it on fourth down … or settling for the field goal. Bury that MLB manager because he kept a pitcher in too long. And so on.
“Score effects” settle in during almost any lopsided hockey game, yet the Dallas Stars present quite a conundrum: what’s the best way to put a way a team with this much firepower?
Tonight may have presented the greatest evidence that this team won’t go away easy, as it seemed like the Minnesota Wild had the best of a tired Stars team* when they built a 3-0 lead.
Instead, the Stars scored three third-period goals while Tyler Seguin capped the comeback with an overtime-winner.
It was one of those bend-and-then-break moments for Minnesota. Dallas generated a 44-26 shot advantage, including a ridiculous 35-15 edge in the final two periods.
Does that mean that Mike Yeo may have tried to play too conservatively with a healthy lead? It’s a possibility.
On the other hand, would the Wild be wiser to try to run-and-gun with one of the most dangerous offenses in the NHL?
It sure seems like a pick-your-poison situation. Which way would you lean, though?
* – To be fair to Minnesota, each team was on back-to-backs.
If nothing else, the New Jersey Devils seem like they won’t be the sort of team a contender can essentially mark off as a “W” on their calendars.
The Montreal Canadiens may not be in a position to take opponents lightly with Carey Price on the shelf, but whatever the case may be, they saw their four-game winning streak end in frustrating fashion on Saturday.
After falling behind 2-0, the Devils scrapped their way back into it, eventually riding a John Moore overtime goal to a 3-2 OT win.
If Montreal needs an obvious bright side to look on considering this hiccup, Alex Galchenyuk‘s hot weekend may be a good thing to look at.
Tonight’s loss may smart a bit anyway, however.
If you want to summarize the Capitals – Maple Leafs game in one sentence, you could do worse than:
“Washington is hot as Jonathan Bernier is cold.”
The Caps reeled off a 4-2 win against Toronto on Saturday, giving them five straight wins. They also jumped into first place in the Metropolitan Division today, as they keep climbing while the New York Rangers are experiencing some growing pains.
Again, James Reimer can’t get healthy and back in Toronto’s net too soon:
With this win, Washington is now 17-5-1, leading the Metro by one point with 35 standings points. They also hold a game in hand against the Rangers, and no other Metro team even has 30 right now.
Measuring stick stretch begins
Tonight’s game began a “prove-it” month-and-change for Washington.
This contest began a three-game road trip, and they’ll also play six of seven away from Washington.
It’s pretty rough through the start of 2016, really. The Capitals will only enjoy three home games through Jan. 9.
In other words, the Capitals seem like a convincing East contender, but look out if they remain hot through the next 5-6 weeks.