Maybe the Bruins should call the schedule maker to change the venues of their April 2nd and 9th games next month. The way this season has gone, if it’s the weekend and the Bruins are at home, then chalk up another loss for our hometown team. For a team with the 90+ points – in the top ten of the overall league standings – their weekend home record is a deplorable 1-7-4. Just image where the Bruins would be if even they could change that record to .500
Six more points would have tomorrow nights Bruins vs. Flyers tilt for the Conference lead and the Montreal Canadiens would be so far in the distance they wouldn’t be a threat to the Northeast Division.
OK, no more “what ifs” or fantasy thinking. The Bruins hosted the NY Rangers this afternoon and while the Bruins didn’t stink up the joint, they certainly weren’t firing like they were on Thursday night. No one wanted to place blame on a ‘lack of emotion’ after Thursday’s 7-0 belitteling of the Canadiens. Andrew Ference bluntly stated, “Those are tight games that I think there’s not a lot of mistakes made. There’s not a lot of glorious chances on your side. It’s just a hard-fought one where they got that tip goal that’s needed. And this time of year you’re going to see a lot of those kind of games. I mean those are the goals that go in and you’re not going to have a ton of great chances. We’re going to run into good goalies the rest of the way, so get used to it I guess.”
The Rangers played a very physical game making the Bruins earn every shot they managed to put on Henrik Lundqvist. The Bruins put 26 on goal today while the Rangers BLOCKED 29. The Ranger leader in blocks was Boston area native and Boston College alum – Brian Boyle with five blocks. Ranger coach, John Tortorella, “You watch him in the third period here I have him out there every other shift with a tremendous amount of responsibility; blocking shots. He’s kicked in 20, 21 goals for us. He’s been a huge part of why we’re at where we’re at right now.”
On this three game homestand, the Bruins had won both of the games and scored eleven straight goals but today the Rangers defense was the the star of the show. After Derek Stephan deflected Michael Sauer’s point shot at the 6:39 mark of the first period, the Ranger “D” showed it’s teeth all night long. Claude Julien thought the Bruins were short changed on two calls that led to the goal. Initially the Rangers looked offside on a play that Tuukka Rask made a save on. The second was on the faceoff that led to the goal where it appeared a Ranger winger jumped early on the draw. Said the coach afterwards, “It was a missed off-sides, but they make mistakes, but then the guy jumps in and the guy who passed it to the point was obviously in and it should have been blown down. So, that one point, you know? There’s one mulligan but I didn’t feel that they needed two.”
The Rangers changed their approach in the third period and just let the Bruins attack. With this approach, the Bruins outshot New York 12-1. With the way the defense blocked shots in front of Lundqvist, the Rangers held on to the very end.
Both teams special teams were perfect. The Bruins were 4-4 on the penalty kill and New York was 1-1.
Prior to the game, the Bruins honored their legendary radio voice, Bob Wilson. He called Bruin games from 1967-1969 and then from 1971-1994. His retirement coincided with the NHL lockout of 1994/95. Prior to the game, he spoke about his feelings on the honor the Bruins organization bestowed today. “Oh, it means a great deal. I don’t know how to put it. It validates a career, if you will. I’m just honored beyond words with this move by Bruins’ management. It’s just wonderful. The Bruins have been very good to me and the variety of radio stations that I’ve been on is amazing, but it worked and I’m really happy with it.”
The Bruins left Boston early this afternoon for the brief trip to Philadelphia for tomorrow nights game.
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Written by Jim Mulligan