Quick thoughts on the Bruins’ Game 3 victory, fueled by Merlot.
- Solid effort While the final score was just 2-1, and the Bruins trailed for the majority of the game, it never felt like they were in trouble. In fact, the Bruins dominated large swaths of this game, particularly the second and third periods. The Rangers came out with some energy at home, throwing eleven shots on goal in the first period, and then they just kind of…went away. Yes, they scored towards the beginning of the second, but they only had five shots in the middle frame and eight in the third period. So much for using a goal as momentum. The Bruins, on the other hand, were humming for much of the evening: quick breakouts, hard forechecking, responsible defense…it was a clinic at times. The Rangers’ only saving grace was the Swede between the pipes, as Henrik Lundqvist did all that he could to steal a win for his team. If the Bruins keep playing like they did last night, look out.
- Merlot! It does get a bit old, but it still bears repeating: the Bruins’ fourth line is the best in the NHL, and the work the trio does frequently gets overshadowed by the big names higher up on the scoresheet. Last night showed that, in the words of Pierre McGuire, the Rangers have no answer for the Bruins’ fourth line. As Pierre said, the Bruins’ fourth line is a like a rash that just won’t leave you alone, won’t go away. Gross, sure, but accurate.
- War of attrition Last night’s game got ugly in the injury deparment: Zdeno Chara was bloodied by a high stick, Tyler Seguin and Derek Stepan were hit by simultaneous high sticks, Anton Stralman got thumped by Milan Lucic on the forecheck, Carl Hagelin took a puck to the mouth, Ryan McDonagh tweaked something, and Patrice Bergeron was bloodied by a high hit. Playoff hockey? Playoff hockey.
- The $12 million benchwarmer I don’t follow the Rangers terribly closely so I have no idea if there’s a back story or not, but Brad Richards’ playing time last night confused me. Richards skated just ten shifts for a total of 8:10 TOI. For a guy that’s getting paid $12 million this season, that’s a curious decision. Richards skated just two shifts in the third period, on one of which the Bruins scored (Boychuk’s goal). Apparently he’s had a pretty bad season, and there’s talk that he may be bought out over the summer. I’ve known Richards as a talented scorer, but was unaware he’d been relegated to the Rangers’ fourth line. Weird situation, but he’s an expensive body to have on the bench.