Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins and Rangers locked in a 1-1 tie after the first 20 minutes at Madison Square Garden.
1) Zdeno Chara is second on the Bruins with 7:39 of ice time in the first period, but he’s really struggling badly in the opening 20 minutes against the Rangers. He looks slow skating, and is making bad decisions with the puck while also scrambling madly making up for other mistakes on the ice. Not what B’s fans wanted to see coming out of the Olympic experience.
2) Bruins were outshot 20-9 in the first period and thoroughly dominated by the Rangers. Tuukka Rask, however, was outstanding and only beaten on a J.T. Miller breakaway when both Chara and Dougie Hamilton pinched in offensively at the same time. He was pretty good in Saturday’s loss to Washington despite giving up four goals, and he’s been even better holding the Bruins in the game.
3) Timely moment for the Krejci/Lucic/Iginla line to finally show up at the end of the first period after rough games against Buffalo and Washington. Lucic obliterated a pair of Rangers defenders, and Krejci got the puck before dishing it to Iginla for the easy goal.
4) The Bruins badly needed a spark from Shawn Thornton, Kevan Miller or Gregory Campbell there in the first period. They could still use it with a dropping of the gloves.
5) Young defenders still struggling. They need to start stepping it up.
Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins leading the Rangers by a 3-2 score after the first 40 minutes at Madison Square Garden.
1) Dougie Hamilton with an offensive explosion in the second period to offset the mistake he made pinching in the first 20 minutes. It was his point blast that created the Carl Soderberg goal, and his offensive instincts that allowed him to knife in and finish off a Milan Lucic play to give Boston the go-ahead goal. His three points tonight are a career-high.
2) Carl Soderberg’s goal gives the Bruins nine different players with double-digit goal totals this season, which leads the NHL along with the Winnipeg Jets and New York Rangers.
3) Rough stretch for Reilly Smith coming out of the Olympic break. It was his neutral zone turnover that led to the Brad Richards goal pulling the Rangers to within a score.
4) Jarome Iginla with a pair of points, and starting to pick up his play just as he did prior to the Olympic break. That’s an encouraging sign as one hoped he wouldn’t be too negatively affected by the 2 ½ week break.
5) Great games today between the Bruins/Rangers and Flyers/Capitals as the NHL teams are in the sprint mindset coming out of the Olympic break. Should be a fun final six weeks.