After a miracle comeback in game 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Boston Bruins look like a completely different team in their series against the New York Rangers. With the lack of consistency and almost collapse of the first round, the Bruins have dominated play for 90% of the series. They had a rough 20 seconds or so in game 1, but showed poise and came out with a overtime win, but dominated for most of the 3 periods in game 2. They should not get comfortable though, because we all know what happened in the last series, and the New York Rangers, who lost their first two games in round 1, are going to play a lot better in game 3. With 3 veteran defensemen going down with injury against Toronto, there were a lot of worries about playing 3 rookies on the blue line. After game 2 and Torey Krug becoming a cult hero, some of the veteran defensemen might have lost their job.
With a lead in the series, the Bruins need to try to win one game in New York. If they can keep up their level of play and come back to Boston in game 5 with a 3-1 lead, they are in great shape. But the Rangers are going to be tougher in the upcoming games. The fact that Boston’s shots are getting through to Henrik Lundqvist is surprising. The Rangers are notorious for blocking shots and being a tough team to score against. For some reason the Bruins have been getting shots through, and they are getting rebound chances which is rare against King Henrik. Lundqvist has not been as good as he can be in this series, but most of the blame goes on the Ranger defense. Dan Girardi, who is one of New York’s top defenseman was a -4 on the game yesterday, and Michael Del Zotto was not much better posting a -3. The Rangers need their number 2 and 3 defensemen to be a lot better if they hope to come back in this series, if they are not, it doesn’t matter how good Lundqvist is, they will not survive in this series.
The story of the Bruins so far has been the little guys. Brad Marchand is finally back to being an agitator and more importantly is showing up on the scoreboard. He has a goal and an assist in both games against the Rangers, including the overtime game winner in game 1. With Bergeron and Marchand playing well, it may be time to put Seguin back on that line to see if the success of his line mates can open up space and get Seguin going. Another small guy, who was not even supposed to be part of the NHL playoffs this year has come up big in his first two career playoff games. Torey Krug, who was undrafted and signed as a free agent out of Michigan State has taken Boston by storm. Listed at 5’9, Krug is known as a puck moving defenseman with speed but is undersized. Many people including myself worried about playing 3 young defensemen, but for the most part they have all been good and Krug has been great. Offensively he is putting on a show with 2 goal and 3 points in 2 games against the Rangers. He also is showing his confidence with puck handling and willingness to shoot and not always looking to pass. Krug made a few plays that led to scoring or great chances in game 2. This is something fans have not seen from the Bruins defense in a long time, and by the roar of the crowd, you can hear how exciting everyone is about our young defensemen. With people getting healthy, I think the Bruins need to get Dennis Seidenberg back and maybe replace Dougie Hamilton with him, but as for Krug and Bartkowski, there is no way that they should be taken out of the lineup the way they have played.
Some negatives with this team is the third line. I think Tyler Seguin has showed signs of turning it around, but the other players on his line have been terrible, and I cannot completely blame this all on Seguin. Chris Kelly has 0 points and is a -5 in the playoffs. Rich Peverley has not been much better with 1 goal and a -3 through 9 games. With this line being so terrible and the 4th line getting more minutes, you would think that there will be a change soon. With a lead in the series and the lack of production on that line, I think it is time to see what Carl Soderberg has to show. The Bruins worked so hard to get him on the roster this year, and with Kelly and Peverley playing so poorly, it looks like time for them to pencil the Swede into the lineup. Jaromir Jagr has also taken some criticism, though he is not scoring, I don’t believe he is playing that bad. He has also made the power play a lot better since joining the team. I think if the Bruins move Seguin to the Bergeron line, and put Jagr and Soderberg back together, the lines could all come together and then the Bruins will have 3 legit scoring lines and the best 4th line in hockey. That mixed with the defense that they have had and the way Tuukka Rask has played, they could make real run at the cup.
About the Author: I am a Freelance Production Assistant for Comcast Sportsnet and former New York Rangers intern. I am an enthusiast of all sports and want to share my knowledge with those who are interested in reading what I have to say. Follow me on Twitter @ shmity91
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