NEW YORK -- Who says fourth-liners are nothing but grinders?
The Bruins fourth line potted two third-period goals to beat the Rangers in Game 3, 2-1, giving Boston a commanding 3-0 series lead.
Daniel Paille banged home a rebound past Henrik Lundqvist for the game-winner with just three-and-a-half minutes remaining in the final period. A rebound bounced off of Lundqvist's mask and almost crossed the goal line, but it somehow stayed out. A moment later, Paille swooped in to knock the puck into the back of the net.
Johnny Boychuk's fourth goal of the playoffs -- assisted by Paille and Shawn Thornton -- came earlier in the period to tie things at one goal apiece.
Before that, Lundqvist seemed impenetrable. He made 32 saves and showed early on that he wasn’t going to let anything pass by him easily. He stuffed breakaway bids by Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin, and managed to also stone Jaromir Jagr on a point blank chance right in front of the net.
He still kept Boston off the board in the second period when the Bruins out-shot the Rangers by a 14-5 margin. Nathan Horton also clanged a rebound bid off a post, and Shawn Thornton couldn’t connect on the rebound of a Torey Krug shot in close to the net.
The Rangers scored their lone goal coming off the heels of a successful penalty kill for Boston’s top-ranked unit. Patrice Bergeron lost a defensive zone face-off to Derek Stepan, whiffed on a clearing attempt, and then Ryan McDonaugh hammered a shot that glanced off Taylor Pyatt in front of the net. It's not often you see Bergeron make a couple of mistakes in the D-zone, and not surprising it resulted in a goal.
That was all the Blueshirts would get offensively, however. Tuukka Rask made 23 saves and helped continue to stymie the anemic Rangers power play, which went 0-for-2 on the night and is now 0-9 in this series.
GOLD STAR: Paille only played 11:10 of ice time in Game 3, but saved his best work for last when he made the pass to Boychuk at the right point for the game-tying wrist shot. Then Paille and the rest of the B’s fourth line won one-on-one battles in the offensive zone after a won face-off, and Paille attacked the net before popping in the rebound of a Thornton shot that floated high up in the air behind Lundqvist. There are some that quibble with Julien’s system of playing the B’s fourth line a healthy amount of minutes during the regular season and playoffs, but it’s nights like tonight when everybody sees why they deserve it.
BLACK EYE: Michael Del Zotto was a team-worst minus-2 in 24:42 of ice time and continues to have a miserable playoff series against the Bruins coming off a minus-3 in Game 2 in Boston. On numerous occasions Del Zotto has played way off Bruins attackers, and let the Boston skaters enter the zone without a challenge or any kind of positional defense. While it’s always a possibility that the Rangers defenseman is playing through some kind of injury, it wouldn’t be surprising to find out that the New York blueliner is one of the players that’s checked out on head coach John Tortorella.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins out-shot the Rangers by a 14-5 margin in the second period, and had Grade-A scoring chances turned away in the first 20 minutes when Lundqvist stopped Kelly and Seguin on breakaways. Lundqvist then stoned Jagr on a chance directly in front of the net. But the Black and Gold kept on pressuring the Blueshirts even after they surrendered a goal in the third period, and that perseverance paid off with the two goals for the fourth line in the final 17 minutes of the hockey game.
HONORABLE MENTION: He did it without much fanfare and didn’t have some of the flashy glove saves that Lundqvist featured throughout the proceedings, but Rask outplayed the New York netminder when he seemed poised to stand on his head. The Bruins goaltender only made a meager 23 saves in the contest, but they were all solid while making sure that the rebounds in front didn’t cause any further trouble. All that being said about Rask, credit goes to the Bruins defense that didn’t allow anything other than perimeter shots from guys like Stepan throughout the game.
BY THE NUMBERS: 11 – That's the number of consecutive power plays that the Rangers have earned at Madison Square Garden, dating back to Game 4 against the Washington Capitals.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “It was huge for us to get a contribution from a line that is not always expected to score. It makes everybody happy. They really battled hard for us.” – Zdeno Chara, on the two goals from the fourth line in the third period to take the win in Game 3.