Game three is in the bag! The Merlot line steps up and delivers in this tight game.
The Rangers have struggled so far in this series. Their star center Brad Richards only played 8:10 of ice time tonight and his first (possibly only) shift during the third period was host to Johnny Boychuk’s goal. Speaking of Boychuk’s goal, it looked to me like he had help from Shawn Thornton, but as player 22 said post game, “As long as it’s in, that’s all that matters”. Our fourth line once again is proving to be an asset as they came up big, out playing the Ranger’s fourth line. Following game two, Gregory Campbell spoke of this line:
Gregory on his goal: “important to get contributions from everyone…as a fourth line, to chip in offensively is a huge bonus” ^CS
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) May 19, 2013
Three minutes into the third period of tonight’s game and Thornton and Campbell’s screening in front of Henrik Lundqvist helped the Bruins get on the scoreboard. Then with four minutes remaining in the third, the Fourth Line/Energy Line/Merlot line took the ice again to success. It wasn’t without a fight as the puck was determined to not go in the net, jumping high into the air over Lundqvist, and then hitting the backspin just right to bounce AWAY from instead of toward the goal line. Thornton thought it was in, raising his arms in victory but Daniel Paille saw the puck’s revolt. Determined, Paille swung around behind the net and whipped his stick in front to knock the stubborn puck behind the redline.
This 2-1 lead is the first time the Ranger’s have lost this season at home when leading going into the third, their record now 18-1. Lundqvist played his best game of the series tonight, shutting down breakaway chances from Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin in the first period alone. Let alone the number of really good chances the Bruins had.
A big problem in this game was with the officiating. I’m not going to spend too much time here, but there were multiple high sticks, including an especially bloody one on Zdeno Chara that went uncalled. Marchand was at the butt end of some Dorsett taunting, but 63 kept his composure, and Thornton jumped out instead to drop gloves. However Dorsett backed down, which is not uncommon when put up against Thornton.
Torey Krug was playing with confidence tonight. He led the Bruins with four shots on net going into the third. The next was Bergeron with three; then Soupy, Looch, and Segs with two. I would have loved to see him net his third goal in just as many playoff games. Guess he’ll have to start a new streak come Thursday night. Brian Boyle was going after Dougie Hamilton and Krug, trying to intimidate the young guys early, but both baby Bruins had no problem throwing their own weight around. You’re going to have to come up with something better for game four Rangers.
Speaking of game four, I wouldn’t get your brooms out just yet. The Bruins need to continue to keep the pressure on the Rangers. Johnny Boychuk spoke to the media post game and let it be known they weren’t going to take it lightly. “That fourth game is going to be the toughest one. Out of any team in the NHL, we should probably know that the best”. According to Claude Julien the atmosphere in the locker room is a lot tighter, hopefully they are in a playoff mindset, and out of their Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde phase.
I guess we’ll find out Thursday night. The Rangers are going to be fighting with a desperation to stay in this series, it is the Bruins’ job to not get cocky, to play their own game and win it.
I know I’m excited! & Not just because I graduated this weekend.