Rangers Fourth Line Revived With Whale Help

Back to the Garden for game five! Why not win it on home ice boys?

That would be nice, especially after the downfall of the Providence Bruins. They lost during game seven after being up 3-0 going into game four. The good news for the Boston Bruins is that we have the PBruins best defense, Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski.

Krug of course who managed to net a goal.

Game three was all about Merlot. They walked all over Brad Richards, and the Rangers’ fourth line showed weak attempts to fight against the likes of Paille, Campbell, and Thornton. That all changed in game four with the addition of forwards Micheal Haley, and Kris Newbury. These AHL players had something to prove, and much like the outstanding work of Krug and Bartkowski they weren’t going to let the Rangers down.

So, I suppose spending fall semester tracking the Connecticut Whale paid off. With the Rangers calling up from their farm team for game four I found myself prepared and excited to see these players getting post-season opportunities. I’m not surprised that they helped the Blueshirts on Thursday night, as the two played big roles during the Whale’s season.

Haley was perfect to pull up to the lacking fourth line. This enforcer was new to the Whale this season; his five previous seasons were spent fighting on the Islanders. Haley racked up 170 penalty minutes, ten goals, and thirteen assists in 69 games with the Whale.

Game four wasn’t his first time up with the Rangers as Haley was called up in the beginning of March where he played nine regular season games. Torts must have liked what Haley had to offer, for when the Whale missed out on a post season, Haley was quickly added to the Rangers’ roster and made the journey to Washington with the team.

Toward the end of the Whale’s season, Haley found himself on the scoring line. Paired with center Kelsey Tessier and Christian Thomas, this line was affectionately dubbed the “Smurf” line as Haley stood the tallest at 5’10. In their first weekend together the line managed five of 11 goals against the St John’s IceCaps. Haley is able to hold his own in a fight, and plays smart with the puck. Just what the Rangers needed to counter the Bruins fourth line.

“You could put me against anybody and I’m going to do the same things… I’ve got one train of thought… Hittin’ and bangin’ and skatin’ hard.” Reported Haley when questioned about facing the Washington Capitals, guess not much changed when it came to facing the Bruins.

As for the AHL vet Kris Newbury, he made an appearance in the Rangers game one against the Washington Capitals this post-season. I really mean appearance, with only five minutes of ice time. This season with the Whale, Newbury scored 20 goals, had 42 assists and 127 penalty minutes in 70 games. Newbury was second on the Whale with goals, Brandon Segal holding first. Newbury was traded to the NYR organization in 2010 and has seen a handful of regular season games with the Rangers.

They also played Roman Hamrlik in place if the injured Stralman. Hamrlik was acquired from the Washington Capitals this season, and if his name sounds familiar it is because he played in all seven games against the Bruins last year in the playoffs. This was his first game back after playing for only 4minutes back on April first, 2013. He only played sixteen games this half-season and had only an assist and eight penalty minutes.

The Rangers played their best game of the series Thursday night. The Bruins need to get refocused, and play the full 60minutes during game five. The second Rangers goal was painful to watch, with Chara lollygagging behind the net. Sure Rask could have been ready for it, but I’m finding it hard to blame Rask who put faith in his Captain to get the puck out of their zone.

Anyway I guess I really just wanted an excuse to write about Micheal Haley.

Fingers crossed for game five!

GO B’S!

-Kaylin

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Because It’s the Cup.

Boston Bruins with Stanley Cup

Boston Bruins with Stanley Cup (Photo credit: slidingsideways)

The Boston Bruins start their playoff run tomorrow night at 7:00pm against the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

The Bruins’ Playoff run ended abrubtly last season. A heartbreaking loss in OT during game seven against the Washington Capitals in the Quarterfinals demolished the chance of a repeat 2011 Cup run. 

The Leafs haven’t seen the playoffs since before the 04/05 NHL Lockout and they haven’t won a championship since 1967! The Bruins have won nine of the last ten games against Toronto, however this could still be an interesting matchup. In April this season the Bruins were 2-1-0 agaist the Leafs, one of the wins coming from a shootout. 

These Original Six teams sparked new fuel to their rivalry fire when Phil Kessel was traded to the Leafs for drafts picks, which turned into Tyler Seguin, Dougie Hamilton, and PBruin Jared Knight. “Thank You Kessel” is a common chant when the Leafs blow into the Garden, along side a “boo”ing when he touches the puck. While Kessel scores big numbers for Toronto, leading the team with goals and assists, he manages to disappear when playing his former team. 

Joe Haggerty reports that Claude wants nothing to do with gossip about Kessel. It is not surprising since the two never really got along. Claude wanted to put an end to Kessel inquires immediately, “First of all, I have no intention of talking about other players on other teams… That’s got nothing to do with me… I can tell you Zdeno Chara is one of the best shutdown D’s in the league, and that’s what we utilize him for.”

Patrice Bergeron is positive about the playoffs. Having their first multi-day break since the end of March might have helped.

My NHL bracket has the Bruins sweeping the Leafs in four. However it’s no secret how much the Bruins love their game sevens, so this could draw itself out. It all starts tomorrow!!

Go B’s!

-Kaylin