Standing on the edge of a precipice staring into the playoff elimination abyss, the New York Rangers reached down and found something inside themselves, that few believed existed anymore.
The new Ranger lineup escaped the first peiord scoreless after being thoroughly outplayed by a Bruins team that, up 3-0 with four kicks at the can, played very loosely with nothing to lose. Outshot 10-0, the Rangers kept the zero on the board once again thanks to Henrik Lundqvist.
In the second, once again being outplayed by the B’s, the Rangers took a penalty and the Bruins power play gave Boston the lead. The B’s entered the Rangers zone after David Krecji made a couple of nice moves at center ice and hit Brad Marchand with a pass. The Bruins pest dropped back to Krecji, who dished the puck to Nathan Horton on the off wing. Horton sent a pass to Krecji in the slot that Michael Del Zotto knocked away, but right back to the Bruins winger. Horton fired again, and with Krecji screening Hank, beat the King through the five hole at 15:21.
At 12:19, on another Boston power play,
Bobby Orr Ray Bourque Zdeno Chara Torey Krug (that effin’ guy again) beat Hank with a one-timed laser from the point for the 2-0 lead.
On the ensuing shift, Hank made a save on Matt Bartkowski clapper from the point and Roman Hamrlik (on loan from his day job at Easter Island) chipped the puck to Derick Brassard. D-Brass sped into the zone and feathered a nifty sauce to a speeding Carl Hagelin at the Bruins line. Hagelin collected the puck with speed and sent a backhand on net that hit off Johnny Boychuk’s stick sending the puck slowly towards Tukka Rask in net. But Rask (either stunned by Hagelin’s speed or his extreme prettiness) tripped over his own skates falling on his rump as the puck skittered slowly by swinging at the puck and whiffing like those batters in the Bugs Bunny cartoon as it inched over the line. The goal at 11:21 that cut the lead in half was the type of goal that the Rangers never seem to get and though outplayed for entire first half of the match and outshot 17-7, found themselves down 2-1 with momentum and the MSG crowd on their side.
Jagr took down Derek Stepan in the neutral zone and sent the NYR to the power play, but for the second time on the night and 36th time this post-season, the Bluehsirts’ power play did absolutely nothing.
Down a goal with the end of their season just 20 minutes away, the Rangers came out and quickly tied up the game 1:15 into the period. Rick Nash sent a dump-in that Rask came out to play behind his cage. As Zedno Chara picked up the puck and nonchalantly started to skate out from behind his net, Derek Stepan swooped in and absolutely picked Chara’s pocket wrapping the puck around and into an open net as Rask lazily got pack to position to tie the game at 2-2.
With the Bruins on the power play for the third time, Hank made a tremendous save on a Tyler Seguin one-timer and then a spectacular glove save on Horton robbing him of a wide open net on Seguin’s rebound. Boston raced to the rebound and made five tape to tape passes setting up Seguin with another one-time chance that Hank stopped but kicked the rebound right back to Seguin who beat him short side for his first of the playoffs and a 3-2 Bruins lead.
It’s astonishing that the Bruins power play (2-3 on the night as Seguin scored just as the penalty ended) has been so bad in both the regular season and the playoffs. In Game 4, they looked like the Russian Red Army team.
Immediately after the Seguin goal, the Bruins took a terrible too many men on the ice penalty and
pigs flew hell froze over the Rangers actually got a power play goal. Brassard fed Stepan at the Boston blueline and as Step cut behind the net, he hit playoff-stud Brian Boyle with a pass in the slot. Boyle took the pass, pumped his leg and snapped one by Rask blocker side for the game-tying power play goal at the ten minute mark of the
The Blueshirts got another power play at 8:00 that came up empty. But hey, baby steps. They also had a couple of good chances (Boyle on a scramble and Kreider had a break in) to win it, but couldn’t bury one and the game went to overtime tied 3-3.
In the extra session, the Bruins were stymied by several outstanding Henrik Lundqvist saves and then Chris Kredier gave the Rangers life! Derick Brassard won a faceoff in the NYR end and Ryan McDonagh tipped the puck to Kreider who gave it to Rick Nash in stride. Kreider blasted by Dougie Hamilton to the net and Nash sped up the ice right at Chara. Nash feathered a gorgeous pass to a Kreider who redirected the puck over Rask’s shoulder for the game winner keeping the Rangers alive.
Readers of this site know that we are not big fans of Coach Tortorella, but tonight he grew some stones and did two things we have been calling for all season. In what must have been heart-wrenching for him, he scratched Brad Richards and gave Chris Kreider a chance. A real chance. Buried for 48 regular season and 10 playoff games by his stubborn coach, the coach loosened the reins and let Kreider gave the last year’s playoff hero his first real chance to succeed this season and the kid got the game winner.
The Rangers came back from the dead. The Blueshirts four goals tonight equaled their total for the series’ first three games. They even scored a power play goal. The Rangers need to win the next game in Boston and take it from there.
Can the impossible happen? The Bruins know it can and maybe, just maybe, that is in their heads.
Let’s go Rangers!