Monday, March 5, 2012

42-15-7: Bumping Uglies

Sunday's tilt between the Bruins and the Rangers, the two top teams in the Eastern Conference was not an attractive display. It was not an exhibition of grace and skill. It was raw, gritty, grinding hockey. And in the end the Blueshirts emerged victorious 4-3.

It was yet more proof that the Rangers can contend with the beasts of the lEast. Whether they can hang with them (or the Pens) in a seven game series is still questionable but they can certainly give them a run for their money.

Late Hits:

*Rangers dumped and chased, Bruins dumped and chased. Really brutal stuff for long stretches. Given that there were skill players out there, it is astounding how this one went to the team that outhustled the other.

*Speaking of such, bork bork bork!

*Staal has had several moments over the last three games that were glimpses of the guy who was one of the NHL's top blueliners and this may have been his best all-around performance. With Sauer out long term, Staal's continued improvement is key to the team's future success.

*Nice tip by Ruslan Fedotenko to re-direct Anton Stralman's shot past Timmy Thomas. Stralman gets credit for just throwing the puck into traffic but he wasted that credit just minutes later with a bone-headed turnover. Passing the puck through your own slot is one of the no-nos they teach you in Defense 101.

*Feds also sliced to the net on the Stepan goal, crossing into Thomas' line of vision as Step took his shot. That's what you need to do in today's NHL to score, especially against the elite goaltenders.

*Mike Rupp decided to show up and do something for once, but it wasn't to do anything necessary to the game. Rupp justified his paycheque and the role of the one-dimensional goon by entertaining a minor league nobody in exactly the kind of meaningless bout that the pacifists are using as evidence the sport doesn't need fighting. Bickel's bout with Campbell at least came in the flow of play, Rupp's neanderthal dance was senseless.

*While on the subject of fighting, what was Prust thinking? The Bruins had just gotten back into the game, scoring to cut their deficit to one and he added more fuel to the fire by taking on the bigger, stronger Milan Lucic. Haveta love Prust's willingness to fight out of his weight class but answering the bell for this one was not the brightest move he's made. At least it took Lucic off the ice for five minutes and luckily Prust survived to show his other skills with stellar penalty killing the rest of the afternoon.

*It has been clear that the power play has had many problems but for Torts to think that John Mitchell is the solution ... I mean, seriously? Having John Scott plant his enormous body in front would make more sense than putting Mitchell out there.

*Scott jousting with Chara got me all excited. Would have loved to see the two titans square off, too bad Chara realized that was a trade off that Boston couldn't afford.

*Big game by Boyle, but I still wish he wasn't so soft.

*Tyler Seguin is scary good. And just 20 years old. Stupid Maple Leafs.

*Nice of the scorekeeper to give Del Zaster that assist on the Gaborik goal. He broke his stick and skated to the bench while Richard$ put the puck on net. That shot was stopped and Richard$ got the rebound over to Gabby for the goal, and yet DZ still got a helper. No slamming DZ's drop pass to Step though, that was a good play. Hilarious watching the kid literally stumbling around the Ranger end at one point.

*Dubi had no shots on goal but he played the same high level of motivated, physical hockey that we saw against Tampa. Let's hope this fire remains lit.

*PHW Three Stars
3-David Krejci - one goal.
2-Marian Gaborik - one goal.
1-Derek Stepan - one goal.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Feds - The Ukrainian is lunchpail guy. While he has large stretches of invisible play, games like this one show how he can be big in the playoffs.
2-Lucic - The Big Bad Bruin was a force to be feared all game. He beat up Prust, he set up Krejci and he sent a message at the final buzzer. Old Time Hockey!
1-Hank - While he wasn't as huge as he was in the 1-0 game in Boston, the King still made 30 saves, six of them shorthanded.

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