NEW YORK -- Despite an early two-goal lead, the Boston Bruins failed to close in Game 4 and the New York Rangers rebounded for a 4-3 win in overtime, sending the series to Game 5 in Boston.
The Bruins appeared to be in cruise control when they built up a two goal lead against a lifeless Rangers team in the second period. David Krejci worked a give-and-go with Nathan Horton that resulted in Horton’s fifth goal of the playoffs during the power play. The B’s added another power play strike when Torey Krug fired a shot from the high slot through traffic that beat Henrik Lundqvist, and it appeared New York was already packing it in for the season.
But Tuukka Rask fell backwards on a Carl Hagelin rush, and a fluky shot managed to get by the flopping goaltender. That gave the Rangers renewed life and vigor, and woke up a morgue-like Madison Square Garden crowd.
It got worse for the Bruins when Derek Stepan stripped Zdeno Chara on a lazy solo breakout from behind the net, and swept a puck past a slow-recovering Rask inside the near post. The Bruins regained the lead on a pretty passing play between Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton, with Seguin proving the second effort finish after King Henrik stopped his initial shot.
But once again the Rangers tied it up on the power play for a too many men on the ice call. Brian Boyle has been a goal during the series, but served up a shot to the high glove side that beat Rask from the slot to make it a 3-3 hockey game in the third period.
Just before the halfway point of the first extra period, Chris Kreider redirected a pass from Rick Nash past Rask for the game winner.
GOLD STAR: Derick Brassard didn’t finish with any goals, but did assist on a pair of Rangers strikes, and played a ridiculous 25:29 of ice time while also winning 11-of-17 face-offs and playing an active role for the Blueshirts. Truth be told it could have been any one of a number of Rangers players that got stronger as the game went along: Chris Kreider scored the game-winner, both Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh munched up the ice time and Rick Nash set up the overtime game-winner while leading New York with five shots on net. It was a team effort for the Blueshirts, so their season didn’t go out with a whimper.
BLACK EYE: Tuukka Rask made 28 saves, with some of them coming under heavy pressure, but he also really helped open the door for the Rangers in a performance that was somewhere between lazy and off-kilter. Rask simply botched a play where he fell down in his own crease, and allowed Carl Hagelin to score when the Bruins were holding a 2-0 lead in the second period. The fluky goal gave life to a Rangers club that was flat-lining in the second period, and looked like they were about to throw in the towel. Then Rask exacerbated things by getting sloppy on a Zdeno Chara turnover in front of the net, and was late guarding the post when Derek Stepan stuffed a shot by him to tie things up at 2-2. That gave the Rangers all the momentum they would need to carry things into an overtime win to keep them alive.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins had a 3-2 lead and the momentum in the third period after Tyler Seguin’s first goal of the playoffs pushed them ahead, but it Seguin and Shawn Thornton that teamed up for a too many men on the ice penalty at a crucial time in the game. There was some confusion about the call because neither Thornton, or Seguin, touched the puck when the refs blew the whistle, but nonetheless it turned into a power play for the Rangers. Brian Boyle cashed in on a shot he roofed from the slot, and the inevitable overtime defeat became a definite possibility, and later an absolute reality for the Black and Gold.
HONORABLE MENTION: Tyler Seguin tied for the lead with six shots on net, scored the go-ahead goal in the third period that marked his first score of this season’s Stanley Cup playoffs, and shouldered the blame for the too many men on the ice penalty in the third period leading to the game-tying goal. Seguin has been showing signs of life in his game lately, and looked good on the Bruins power play possessions as well as the give-and-go with Dougie Hamilton that set up his goal. It does appear that No. 19 is finally busting out of the funk that he’s been in for the last couple of weeks.
BY THE NUMBERS: 3 – the number of goals for 22-year-old rookie Torey Krug in four playoff games for the Bruins against the Rangers, as he scored another on the power play from the high point on Thursday night.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “I love him as a player, and I love him as a person. I grew up with him. He’s a hell of a player going through a hell of a time. So you can kiss my ass, those of you who have been writing or saying anything other than that.” –Rangers coach John Tortorella on Brad Richards, who he scratched for Game 4 in a move that ended up working out for New York.