May 23, 2013

Postgame Breakdown: B's blow chance to sweep Rangers

By Jesse Connolly

Carl Hagelin's second-period goal was one of the ugliest ever allowed by a Bruins goaltender. (Getty Images)

Final: New York 4, Boston 3 (OT)

Recap: Everything started off so well for the Bruins. The Rangers, with their season on the line, were lifeless and outshot by Boston, 12-4, in the first period. 

Nathan Horton buried his own rebound from a bad angle a little more than four minutes into the middle frame to give Boston a 1-0 lead. The B's buried their second power-play goal of the period three minutes later on Torey Krug's third of the playoffs. 

But the Rangers were brought back from the dead when Tuukka Rask fell down and whiffed as a soft shot slid by him. New York would tie the game 1:15 into the third, as Derek Stepan stripped Zdeno Chara behind the net and tucked a wraparound in. 

The Bruins gained the lead back when Tyler Seguin buried his first goal of the postseason with 11:54 left in regulation. But New York responded with their first power-play goal of the series, courtesy of Brian Boyle (Hingham, Mass.). 

Boston had a few quality chances in overtime, notably from Jaromir Jagr, but Chris Kreider (Boxford, Mass.) tipped home a feed from Stepan for the game-winner 7:03 into the extra session.

Series: Boston leads 3-1

Playoff Records: Boston 7-4; New York 5-6

Key Play of the Game: The Rangers were on their way to the offseason until Rask's woeful blunder. No. 40 tripped over himself as he came out to challenge a shot, catching a divot before hitting the ice. He admittedly didn't know whether to whack at the weak shot heading through the crease or try to simply stop it in its tracks. As the puck found twine, the dynamic of the game immediately changed.

Connolly's Commendations: The goal and the assist he picked up make this easy, but Seguin had his best playoff game in a very long time. No. 19 had what would've been the game-winner midway through the third and seemed as animated and intense as ever -- including during his goal celebration.

What more can you say about Mr. Krug? The kid's been dynamite. Electric. Sensational. His unreal skating, passing and shooting abilities must make any Bruins fan wish he could be out there for every single shift. What a boost he's provided. 

Connolly's Critiques: Rask looked shaky all night, plain and simple. The first goal was a nightmare, he was slow to get back in his crease on the Stepan wraparound and he just seemed to be fighting the puck from start to finish, putting his body in unorthodox positions to make routine stops repeatedly.

Dougie Hamilton made a great pass to set up Seguin's goal, but it was a really rough night for the rookie d-man. He iced the puck and committed a turnover in his own end during Boston's first man advantage, had a bad giveaway that went to Ryan Callahan in the third and wound up not having position on Kreider on the game-winner. Methinks he'll be the odd man out when Dennis Seidenberg is ready to roll.

Notes: The Bruins outshot the Rangers 40-32 but were out-hit 40-24. Seidenberg, Wade Redden and Andy Ference were all out of the lineup again. Arron Asham and Brad Richards were replaced by Micheal Haley and Kris Newbury on New York's fourth line, while former Canadien Roman Hamrlik slotted in for the injured Anton Stralman on defense.

Final Thoughts: This was, quite simply, a blown opportunity by the Black and Gold. The Rangers were playing like a team that had accepted their fate, and Boston made a number of egregious mistakes to let them back in and eventually win it.

Next: The Bruins will host Game 5 at 5:30 PM (why?!) on Saturday night.

Twitter: @JesseNEHJ