Merlot Line leads Bruins to 3-0 series lead
|05.21.13 at 10:11 pm ET|
NEW YORK — The Bruins’ fourth line stole the spotlight from Henrik Lundqvist Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden as the Bruins came back in the third period to beat the Rangers, 2-1, and take a commanding 3-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
With the B’s trailing by a goal entering the third period, the Merlot Line produced goals in two if its first four third-period shifts, the latter of which yielded a funky go-ahead goal from Daniel Paille off a rebound that went off Lundqvist’s mask and stayed in the air for a good amount of time before landing on the door step. Johnny Boychuk produced Boston’s first goal (his fourth of the postseason) on a shot from the point that had to make its way through some traffic that was led by Shawn Thornton.
Tyler Pyatt redirected a shot past Tuukka Rask at 3:53 of the second period to give the Rangers the lead in the second period after the teams skated to a scoreless first. The goal came on a rather uncharacteristic shift for Patrice Bergeron on which he lost the faceoff and then was unable to get a clearing attempt out of the zone.
But that was the only harm done against Rask, who turned in his latest superb performance highlighted by a pair of big saves on Rick Nash in the third period.
The Bruins will have the opportunity to finish off the Rangers Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
— What’s crazier: That so many of the Bruins’ goals have come from defensemen this postseason or that so many have come from Boychuk, who had just one goal in the regular season? The Bruins have 11 goals from defensemen in 10 games this postseason, and five of the 10 goals they have scored this series against the Rangers have come from blueliners. By comparison, the Bruins had 10 goals from their defensemen in 25 postseason games in 2011.
Boychuk now is tied with Nathan Horton for second on the Bruins in playoff goals this year. In general, he has scored far more in the postseason than in the regular season. Remember, he scored three times in the 2011 postseason after scoring three times in 69 regular-season games that year.
— While Lundqvist was much improved from his five-goal performance from Game 2, Rask once again was very stable and came through with the Rangers making a late push in the third. Rask has allowed two goals or less in seven of his first 10 games this postseason. Tim Thomas did it six times in the same span in 2011.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
— Dougie Hamilton now has been on the ice for the last three goals this series. He was partially responsible for New York’s first goal in Game 2, and he was unable to outmuscle Pyatt in front on the Rangers’ second-period goal Tuesday.
— For as good as Lundqvist was, the Bruins definitely had their chances. After Lundqvist stopped Chris Kelly on a breakaway in the first period, Rich Peverley was just inches from getting his stick on the rebound and putting it in before the puck was cleared, with Jaromir Jagr also failing to capitalize on a first-period rebound. In the second period, a rebound off a Torey Krug shot bounced over Thornton’s stick on a play that would have tied the game had Thornton gotten a handle on it.
— Game 3 was Exhibit A as to why Tyler Seguin has yet to reach his potential. Seguin intentionally lost two races to pucks in the corner in the first period to avoid having to take physical contact. Claude Julien took notice, as Seguin’s eight shifts in the first two periods were the second-fewest on the Bruins (Thornton had seven). The sooner Seguin is willing to possess the puck even though it might mean getting hit, the more Julien will trust him. It’s as simple as that.