NEW YORK CITY Here are five thoughts after the third period with the Bruins and Rangers headed to overtime at a 3-3 score after the first 60 minutes of action at Madison Square Garden in a Wednesday Night Rivalry game on NBC Sports Network.
FIRST PERIOD1) How about that Marian GaborikRick NashBrad Richards line that John Tortorella has put together after struggling out of the gate? Gaborik finished with both goals in the first period after a slow start to his season, but it was a team effort getting both those scores. The second goal actually came after Tortorella double-shifted the trio to get them on the ice without Zdeno Chara defending, and that allowed Gaborik to walk in close to the net with Dougie Hamilton far out of position and way away from the net. The first goal was just a nice play set up by a redirected Richards pass in the neutral zone that turned into a NashGaborik 2-on-1 odd man rush. Eight shots on net in the first period for that trio.2) Dougie Hamilton is learning quickly tonight that players like Nash and Gaborik are a lot better than top players on Winnipeg like Blake Wheeler and Olli Jokinen. Hamilton is being paired with Andrew Ference tonight to perhaps keep him away from those dangerous Rangers forwards as you could see the damage they could do when Hamilton was out of position and wandering far away from the net prior to New Yorks second goal. Those are the biggest areas of weakness for the 19-year-old in his rookie season.3) Good job by Adam McQuaid standing up for himself and trying to stir up the emotional pot a little bit when Brian Boyle fired a puck at his leg after the whistle had blown the play off-sides. McQuaid immediately went after Boyle and landed a few heavy rights on the 6-foot-7 Hingham native, and was slapped with a two-minute penalty for instigating the fight. Pretty ridiculous given Boyles antics, but the Bruins will gladly accept that for a player sticking up for himself.4) The Bruins are 0-for-2 on the power play tonight and 0-for-11 on the season, and there is nobody really asserting themselves on that unit. Tyler Seguin was named the quarterback of the power play during camp and has the ability to do damage from the half-wall, but hes playing way too passively right now and it shows. Too many shots passed up on the PP in the first 20 minutes tonight.5) Funny how the Rangers look like the Bruins did on Saturday night, and the Bruins look like the Rangers did in the home opener at the Garden, isnt it?
1) Bruins fight back in the second period with energy and determination they didnt seem to have in the first period. They outshot the Rangers by a 12-7 margin and finally broke through for a pair of goals to get back in the game. Of course the Rangers scored 46 seconds later for the go-ahead goal, but the Bruins got off the mat in the second period to make it a hockey game.2) The Bs comeback started with the second power play unit finally breaking through after 11 fruitless tries. It was Dougie Hamilton that helped create the scoring play by firing a puck from the high point that Brad Marchand redirected into the open net for Bostons first goal. Watching Hamilton make plays while working the blueline like a tightrope artist on the PP gives you an idea of just good hes going to be for a long, long time. The assist was Hamiltons first NHL point and it was an important.3) Milan Lucic now has two goals in three games, and battled for a couple of rebounds in front before finally backhanding a shot through Henrik Lundqvist. No hits tonight for Lucic, but hes been active offensively with three shots on net.4) The Bruins have gone to a five-man defensemen rotation since Aaron Johnson was on ice for Taylor Pyatts go-ahead goal. Seems like he might not be in the Claude Julien circle of trust at this point.5) The Bs fourth line also couldnt get the puck out of the zone when Shawn Thornton had a chance to clear it right before the goal. Those are the kinds of plays that the fourth line needs to make if theyre going to be used in those situations.
1) Four hits for Adam McQuaid, who continues to lay the lumber physically. Though he did get called for a boarding in the third period when a Rangers skater took a flying leap into the boards.2) The LucicHortonKrejci line deserved more offensive results after the way they played, and both Horton and Lucic get goals tonight. The Horton one was a big game-tying strike nearly a year to the day after he suffered a concussion that knocked him out for the season.3) Dougie Hamilton has more skill than any defenseman the Bruins have had on their time in a long, long time. He made one play where he corralled a bouncing puck at the blue line and dangled through traffic before firing from the high slot. You never see a D-man do that for the Bruins in this day and age.4) Havent seen much offensive impact from Chris Bourque through the first three games. He needs to find a way to get into the mix offensively and be the guy that he was for the P-Bruins.5) Tuukka Rask made a pair of game-saving stops in the final minute of the third period when he stopped a Rick Nash full blast wrister through traffic and then recovered enough to jump on a Marian Gaborik follow attempt. Those were No. 1 franchise goaltender kind of stops. Big time. Twenty eight saves for Rask in this one. Hes been good again tonight.