The Boston Bruins served notice tonight that they will be vigorous defenders of their Stanley Cup of last year with a 2-1 victory over the Rangers. This one was played before a Garden crowd that seemed more interested in serenading Potvin than in cheering the home team on.
The Rangers outshot the Bruins 34-21, outhit them 31-22, but mistakes by the two most reliable Rangers cost them the game or at least a point which would have clinched first place in the East. The Rangers now need a point in their last three games to clinch first over the Pens, who could help with a loss. The Penguins lost to the Flyers and the two teams are in a dogfight for fourth and fifth place. The two teams will meet in the playoffs, the only question is who will get home ice, not that it matters.
The game was tied at one when the two big miscues took place. Gaborik, with his 40th, opened the scoring in the first on a breakaway off of a blocked Chara shot. Dennis Seidenburg put a booming slap shot by Lundqvist, his 5th, to tie the game. Then came the play that cost the Rangers the game. Girardi tried to make an ill advised pass off the side of the Ranger goal and the puck was deflected to Patrice Bergeron who slipped it under Lundqvist.
To me after Thomas, Bergeron was number two star. Besides the winning goal he won 17 of 19 faceoffs leading Boston to a 67%-33% advantage over the Rangers. The Rangers did make a strong flurry at game's end and even though they out shot the Bruins it was the Bruins who looked sharper and quicker.
The Rangers called a time out with less than a minute to play and there was assistant coach Mike Sullivan diagramming a play and over at the Boston bench there was coach Claude Julien setting up his defense. I guess our coach was saving himself for the press conference, with no Sam to feed him some softballs. Fortunately I missed it. Unfortunately I didn't miss the game which shows me that a revitalized Boston team is going to be a serious threat to repeat as Stanley Cup Champs.