Some quick notes on last night’s OTL:
- Rask gets tested Tuukka Rask didn’t have a ton of work in the first two games, but he earned his money last night. He made a number of top-notch save, especially his snow angel late in the third that (at that point) preserved the tie. Hell, he made the initial save on Marian Gaborik’s game-winner, and only gave up the goal after Gaborik’s terrific hand/eye coordination allowed him the knock it out of the air. Rask has done little to cause concern so far this season, and that’s a great sign.
- Huge special teams And not just the penalty kill this time. The B’s power play finally woke up, scoring a huge goal just over a minute into the second to tilt the momentum in their favor after what had been a pretty bad first half of the first period. While scoring goals is huge, the B’s PK was even bigger. Down by a goal and faced with an extended 5-on-3 power play, the B’s penalty killers came up huge, slamming the door on the Rangers and even getting a chance or two of their own. As it has been in recent years, the B’s PK is proving to be a huge asset.
- DOUGIE! First career point, first game in the Big Apple, and some very high praise from his coach after the game. All in a night’s work for Dougie Hamilton, who continues to look more and more comfortable on the NHL blue line. What’s even better is that he didn’t get rattled after a tough start, including allowing Gaborik’s second goal on one of his first few shifts. The kid should keep improving, and it’s going to be a blast to watch.
- Unacceptable mistakes A lot of people were thrilled that the B’s got a point after being down 2-0 at the end of the first. While it’s true that they battled hard to earn that one point, they probably should’ve gotten two. They controlled the game for, say, 45 of the 61 minutes, and only lost because of stupid mistakes: a weird pinch by Zdeno Chara led to the first goal, a failure to clear the zone by Shawn Thornton led to the momentum-killing third goal, and Andrew Ference’s failure to control a pass led to Gaborik’s winner. Ference’s stands out as the most egregious, but Thornton’s was the most surprising. While not flashy, Thornton is usually one the B’s most dependable wingers. He had time and space to make a clear, but instead ended up turning it over. Taylor Pyatt scored seconds later, and Thornton didn’t see much of the ice after that.
B’s are back in action tomorrow night at home vs. the New York Islanders.