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Pierre McGuire on M&M: Game 1 changed after Johnny Boychuk was injured on hit from behind

05.17.13 at 11:35 am ET

NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire made an appearance on the Mut & Merloni show Friday morning to dissect the Bruins’ Game 1 win over the Rangers.

After an uneventful first period, the teams traded goals in the second and third periods before Brad Marchand scored the game-winner when he tipped in a pass from Patrice Bergeron 15:40 into overtime. McGuire said the intensity level starting picking up after a play early in the second period.

“I really felt the whole game and the intensity of the game changed after the [Taylor] Pyatt hit on Johnny Boychuk,” McGuire said. “That amped up the entire energy in the building and amped up the entire energy between the two teams. And it created some good opportunities for some phenomenal athleticism from both teams. ‘€¦ In overtime it was clearly the Bruins’ overtime and they dominated it. Obviously, they had the power-play opportunity, they felt comfortable. That’s one of the reasons why home ice matters, because you have such a raucous crowd there. And I think the crowd really helped energize the Boston Bruins, especially during that power-play sequence.”

Added McGuire: “I’m not surprised they had a bit of a slow start. But I really, again, I can’t stress this enough: I thought the whole game and the whole energy of the game changed after Taylor Pyatt hit Johnny Boychuk from behind. That really changed the entire chemistry of the game. That’s good for the series going forward.

“I asked Brad Marchand last night on my interview after the game what kind of series he was expecting. He says, ‘Nasty, physical, mean.’ I would agree.”

Jaromir Jagr didn’t register a point Thursday, but McGuire said he believes his presence will be felt eventually.

“I think he can help the power play. That’s where I think he’s going to be a huge benefit for the Bruins, because of his ability to dominate the puck and make good decisions with it,” McGuire said. “Fatigue was a very real issue for Jaromir last night. That’s why I made the comment that I made [about Jagr needing short shifts].

“I was part of the management team that drafted him, I coached him, I skated with him a ton earlier in his career. I know the body of work that he’s presented, and I know when he’s tired and when he’s not. And you could just see he was breaking down last night after about 25-30 seconds. That’s normal; he’s 40 years old. But I expect that he’s going to help their power play. And I think at some point they’re going to have to look to put Tyler Seguin back on that line in five-on-five situations, especially in the second and third period.”

Seguin, who has just one point in the postseason, continued to struggle offensively Thursday, but McGuire said he saw plenty of positive signs.

“I also saw a player that wanted the puck, he wanted to make a difference,” McGuire said. “His speed could have been a factor in the game, didn’t have a lot of puck luck last night. He could have ended the game last night in regulation if it’s not for [Dan] Girardi just fearlessly throwing his body in front of a Seguin shot, that puck’s in the net. ‘€¦ I do think Seguin’s going to snap out of it. He’s close to breaking through. I can just see it.”

McGuire was complimentary about the play of Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, and he said criticism of Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist is overblown.

“I’m going to defend [Lundqvist] a little bit here,” McGuire said. “On the [Zdeno] Chara goal — and I talked about it during the broadcast — that was a knuckleball, that was a floating puck. That’s a really tough save for a goalie. In a perfect world does he have it? Yeah. But that’s not a routine save. That’s a really tough shot coming off the stick of Zdeno Chara.

“And then on the [Torey] Krug shot, if you watch the replay again, you’ll see, yeah, he’s square to the shooter, he’s square to Krug, but it touches Derek Stepan‘s stick so it starts to flutter again. So, he had a little bit of bad luck. Is that the best game I’ve seen Henrik Lundqvist play? Absolutely not. But I also think you’ve got to be fair to the guy. A rolling puck on one shot and a knuckleball off a deflection on the other one.

“And the other thing you need to know is Hank’s played so much. I’m not in the Henrik Lundqvist defense league, but I’m just telling you the facts. He’s played so much, I think there’s got to be a little physical and mental fatigue involved for him as well.”

To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Bruins news, visit the team page at

Read More: Brad Marchand, Henrik Lundqvist, Jaromir Jagr, Johnny Boychuk
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