Johnny Boychuk has suddenly found his scoring touch.
Boychuk has four goals in these Stanley Cup playoffs, including the tying goal in what turned into a 2-1 Boston Bruins victory over the New York Rangers in Game 3 of that Eastern Conference semifinal.
The Bruins are one win away from sweeping the Rangers and returning to the Eastern Conference final for the second time in the last three years.
Now the 29-year-old defenseman, who had all of one goal in 44 games during the regular season, wants to meet hockey’s greatest all-time scorer, Wayne Gretzky.
Dan Rosen, a senior writer for NHL.com, documented on Twitter an interesting post-game exchange between Boychuk and teammate Jaromir Jagr. The discussion revolved around Gretzky, The Great One, who was in attendance at Madison Square Garden.
As per a tweet from Rosen, this is what Boychuk had to say: “Jags, did you see Gretzky is here, think I can meet him, shake his hand?”
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:
Trailing the Bruins, 2-0, the New York Rangers should be the more desperate team tonight at Madison Square Garden.
Just don’t tell Brad Marchand that Boston can afford to let up a bit. Not after what happened against the Maple Leafs.
“We try to learn from every situation,” said the Bruins’ forward, per CSN New England. “Being up against Toronto, we realize that let them back into it. We didn’t have the killer instinct. Whether it’s the power play or the penalty kill, we want to kill their momentum to kill their game. We want to make sure we step up and do the job. We did that last game, and we want to make sure we bring out best. They’re going to come out hard, and if we’re not prepared they’ll roll over us.”
The Bruins had a golden opportunity to make short work of the Leafs in the first round (and get some much-needed rest), but we all know how that series went.
Boston may also have noted Pittsburgh’s failure to step on Ottawa’s throat on Sunday.
The Rangers, meanwhile, are 3-0 at home during the playoffs, plus they finished the regular season with six straight wins at MSG.
The Boston Bruins have taken a 2-0 series lead and have scored eight goals in the process. Has goaltender Henrik Lundqvist come up short or does the blame lie in those playing in front of him? On the flip side, what has been going right for the Bruins so far?
Meanwhile, San Jose is down by one game against Los Angeles, but that series has been incredibly close. Is there an underlining issue that the Kings need to address going forward?
Mike Halford and Jason Brough analyzed both series ahead of tonight’s action:
If you want more information on tonight’s contests, please click here.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Joe Thornton thinks 24-year-old forward Logan Couture has become “probably the most complete hockey player there is in the NHL today.” (ESPN.com)
An AHL playoff game between the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Providence Bruins got very heated with the teams combining for 117 penalty minutes. (AHL.com (with video) and Youtube)
Once again the New York Rangers find themselves down 2-0. Can they overcome another major deficit? (Newsday)
Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock is definitely enjoying himself. (Detroit Free Press)
Would Ales Hemsky fetch the Edmonton Oilers much on the trade market? (Edmonton Journal)
San Jose’s Brent Burns talks about the switch from defense to forward. (ESPN.com)
Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask deserves a lot of the credit for Sunday’s 5-2 victory. (Boston Herald)
Highlights from Ottawa’s double overtime win against Pittsburgh:
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