Boston Gypsies Pick Pocket a Point in SO Loss to Rangers
New York Rangers 4, Boston Bruins 3 (SO)
At the end of every season, every player in the NHL sits down with his coach to discuss his previous performance, basically the equivalent of an annual review for everyday people like us. At the end of the 2011-2012 season, Coach Julien and Brad Marchand sat down and discussed how even though the "Little Ball of Hate" had made a name for himself as one of the NHL's toughest agitators, he did have the ability and skill to be a big time scorer as well. Coach was right, despite missing a game due to a shoulder injury, Marshy currently leads the Bruins in goals with seven.
The New York Rangers dominated the first two and half periods with puck possession, superior performance in the neutral zone and outstanding defense from both skaters and Henrik Lundqvist. In the first period, Rick Nash took advantage of a Bruins' line change and when Tuukka Rask over committed to Nash on the puck, the former Blue Jacket executed the perfect pass to Carl Hagelin who had a virtual open net to put the Rangers on the board.
All season the Rangers have been executing a "stretch" play, basically starting in their own zone and in only a few, long passes, beating their opponent to the puck and driving to the net to score. When playing against a team like the Bruins, who have been rather weak in the neutral zone, this play was definitely effective last night in Boston.
Derek Stepan scored in the second as well as Anton Strålman, who netted his fourth goal in one hundred and sixteen NHL games. Both were soft goals that Rask allowed and anyone watching the game saw that the Finn knew that more than any of us.
Then, randomly, the Bruins showed up, down 3-0, with eleven minutes left in the game. Just as Nash was leaving the penalty box, David Krecji took advantage of a rebound to breath some life back into the Bruins. Rask was pulled in the last two minutes of the game and with the Bruins crashing the net, Lundqvist just couldn't get control over the rebound and Nathan Horton beat the Vezina winner to bring the game closer at 3-2. With less than a minute remaining in the game and Rask still pulled, a strong effort on the B's forecheck paid off. Marchand in the corner passed to Bergeron out in front, his attempt at a shot ricocheted off a Ranger's skate, Marshy took advantage and went top shelf to beat Lundqvist.
If only the entire game could have been played like the third period and overtime. The Bruins out shot the Rangers forty to twenty-nine, however the Rangers just capitalized on their opportunities and had better goaltending. New York had solid defense on all fronts and a stand up performance from Ryan McDonagh, who was constantly exactly where he needed to be and definitely a reason the Bruins were scoreless through two periods.
For the Bruins, we saw defense in unlikely places, like with Rich Peverley who dove at a flying puck in overtime to force the shootout. What is frustrating for the Bruins' fans is knowing that the players on the ice are capable of amazing hockey and just are not executing. In the Bruins' locker room there is a quote from Aristotle painted on the wall, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit". Well right now the Bruins are repeatedly getting points by the skin of their teeth. Last night everyone was saying how the Bruins stole a point...they didn't steal a point, they were gypsies who pick pocketed a point.
Nash and Ryan Callahan scored in the shootout for the Rangers. Nash's insane reach was highlight reel material as he once again forced Rask to over commit gloveside and deeked him for the goal. Marchand had the lone shootout tally for the Bruins.
The Black and Gold hit the road and head back to Buffalo Friday, then on to Manitoba Sunday to face the Jets. The Bruins do not return to the TD Garden until February 28.
Told ya it would be an exciting one point game...just wish Boston showed up in the first and walked away with two. Now I owe a certain ESPN producer a night of drinks, oh well.
Keep you heads up and your sticks down kids!