May 21, 2013

Postgame Breakdown: Bruins put Rangers on brink

By Jesse Connolly

Dan Paille (left) scored in the closing minutes of Game 3, giving the Bruins a 2-1 victory and a commanding 3-0 series lead over the Rangers. (Getty Images)

Final: Boston 2, New York 1

Recap: The Bruins dominated in the scoring-chances department in the first period, controlling play from a territorial standpoint. Unfortunately, Henrik Lundqvist was up to the task and made a number of big stops, including on breakaways by Tyler Seguin and Chris Kelly.

In the second, New York grabbed the momentum and the lead when a shot from the point by Ryan McDonagh found its way through traffic and past Tuukka Rask. But from there on out, the game was essentially all Boston. 

The B's broke through 3:10 into the third when Johnny Boychuk capitalized on a number of screens in front of Lundqvist and beat the New York netminder up high on a shot from the point. Dan Paille gave the Black and Gold their first lead of the game with under four minutes to go. The Rangers managed just eight shots in the final frame, and Rask stopped every one of them.

Series: Boston leads 3-0

Playoff Records: Boston 7-3; New York 4-6

Key Play of the Game: The game-winning goal sure was a wacky one. A shot ricocheted off of, then up and over, Lundqvist, and seemed to bounce off a magnetic field near the goal line and out of the crease. Paille swooped around the back of the net, gave the puck a good whack and put it past the Rangers' netminder.

Connolly's Commendations: You just can't say enough about the "fourth" line's performance tonight. The trio of Paille, Shawn Thornton and Greg Campbell (who had a goal in Game 2) factored into both of Boston's goals on the night, wreaked havoc on the forecheck and handedly outplayed their New York counterparts -- a group that features Brad Richard, Arron Asham and Chris Kreider.

We'll do the gentlemanly thing and give Lundqvist the golf clap he deserves. The slick Swede brought his 'A' game tonight after giving up eight goals in two games at TD Garden. Had he even brought his 'A-minus' game, New York would've been blown out of the water.

Boston's blueliners continued to be huge contributors offensively. Boychuk now leads all NHL d-men with four goals in the playoffs. Torey Krug didn't score for the third straight game, but boy was he a force to be reckoned with, putting countless pucks on net and making something happen just about every trip down to Lundqvist's end of the rink.

Connolly's Critiques: The Rangers did a good job of keeping the David Krejci line quiet. The least impactful member was Nathan Horton, who had zero shots and dished out just one hit.

You hate to keep beating a dead horse, but it was more frustrating to see Seguin make a weak play avoid contact when going into the corner early in the contest -- an instance in which he had a step on the Rangers d-man and should've got to the puck first -- than it was to see him squander that breakaway in the first period.

Notes: The Bruins are 17-1 when holding a 3-0 series lead. Thornton had two assists, giving him his first multipoint playoff game in 77 career postseason contests. The Bruins had zero power plays on a night in which the officiating was downright putrid.

Final Thoughts: Deciding who to predict as the winner in this series -- and no, we don't have that answer yet -- was a tall task. What seemed like a sure thing was that it'd take at least six games to determine said victor. It's hard to believe that not only are the Bruins a win away from sweeping New York, but that the Rangers have been so thoroughly outplayed for majority of the first three games.

Next: The Blueshirts will look to stave off elimination when they host the Bruins for Game 4 at MSG on Thursday night at 7 o'clock.

Twitter: @JesseNEHJ