NBC Sports analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday, following the Bruins’ 2-1 victory over the Rangers in Tuesday night’s Game 3.
The Bruins controlled the first couple of minutes of the game, despite the Rangers’ desperate situation, sending an early message.
“If you’re going to start a game on home ice, you’re down 2-0, you know you’re never in trouble in a playoff series until you lose on home ice, you want to set the tone early,” McGuire said. “So, you want to go after it, you start your heavy hitters, you start Brian Boyle, you start Derek Dorsett, you start Taylor Pyatt. You start your bangers, I call them the stampeding elephants, and you’re expecting them to stampede. Well, they didn’t. In fact, Boston took the game to them. That really set the whole tempo for the game, I thought.”
McGuire said the Bruins have the upper hand because they have the Rangers questioning themselves.
“There’s three things you want to accomplish in a playoff series: concern, doubt and fear, if you’re the opponent,” McGuire said. “Right now the Rangers are clearly concerned, they clearly have doubt, and I thought last night in the third period in particular after [Daniel] Paille scored the second goal, they had fear. If you can accomplish those three characteristics in a playoff series, your chances of winning are really good. I think the Bruins have put themselves in that position right now.”
“Shawn is an emotional leader and he’s not going to burn you defensively,” McGuire said. “And he’s a tough guy. When they started challenging Marchand last night with Dorsett, you saw what happened on the offside faceoff: Marchand comes off, Thornton comes on, Dorsett gets stabilized, no more issues.”
That said, McGuire insisted Dorsett’s failure to respond physically doesn’t reflect badly on the Rangers winger.
“I don’t think he backed down,” McGuire said. “I just think at that point their team’s kind of lost some momentum. Thornton’s not going to fight him, but he’s going to tell him in his ear, whisper sweet nothings: Listen, dude, do you want to mess around? We will dance, and it won’t be fun for you. That’s all Shawn had to do.”
On Tyler Seguin : “I still think, and I keep saying it during the shows, he’s about to break through. I see chances happening for him. He’s working his tail off. He’s trying to make things go. The fact that the Bruins didn’t get a power play last night, I think that’s a little bit tough. He’s going to have to be one of those guys who’s going to get his chance on the power play.”
On the Rangers’ ineffective power play: “Two power-play goals in 10 playoff games now, that’s not going to win you much. People will mock the Bruins power play from 2011, but the one thing they had, they had zone time. When you have zone time on a power play, you can still create momentum even though you don’t score. What happens with the Rangers when they get power plays now, they crush whatever potential momentum they might get. ‘¦ The Bruins deserve a lot of credit for their penalty kill, but the Rangers power play has not been good.”McGuire said he expects the Rangers to give a good effort in Game 4 Thursday night despite their difficult situation, down 0-3.
On what he expects from the Rangers in Thursday night’s Game 4: “I think they’re going to show up and play and they’re going to grind and they’re going to compete. I’m going to stress what I said, the X-factor in the series, I said it before it started, I’ll say it again: [Gregory] Campbell, Paille, [Shawn] Thornton. The Rangers have not had an answer. They haven’t had enough depth all year. They were lucky at the trade deadline that they were able to add some more depth. But that’s been the biggest issue. They just don’t have enough depth to keep running with a real good team from Boston.”