(Long Island, N.Y.) Heading into their second round series against the Boston Bruins, the Rangers knew that they were at least even regarding the amount of games it took for both teams to arrive there. Their respective first round opponents took them to the limit and both opening round series went the full seven games. But after dropping the first two games in Boston, the Rangers appear to be the fatigued team.
Game 1 could have gone differently, of course, considering that it wasn’t decided until overtime. But Sunday’s contest was a one-goal game until the third period, when Boston blew it wide open for the 5-2 victory.
Ranger’s goaltender Henrik Lundqvist looked like a brick wall in the two consecutive shutouts against Washington to oust the Caps, but has not been nearly as sharp since. But John Tortorella didn’t lay the blame on him whatsoever after the loss.
“The third and fourth goals are defendable,” the Rangers head coach said. “We made coverage mistakes. We felt really good going into the third (period) and to have that type of goal go in, on a two-on-two, it hurt you.”
Tortorella was referring to the Brad Marchand tally a mere 26 seconds into the final stanza, which was eerily reminiscent of the overtime winner two days prior. So the Blueshirts find themselves in the same 2-0 hole that they were in against Washington. “There will be no give in this team,” continued Tortorella. “We need to go win a game. Not look anywhere else but win our first home game this series.”
If they are to do that, then they will need more production out of Rick Nash, who finally was able to score with a second period goal to tie the game at two apiece. He had an overall good game and was involved in a number of other scoring opportunities either as the shooter or setting up one of his teammates, but Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask was solid between the pipes, stopping 35 shots.
Another important factor for Boston was the play of their young defensemen for the second straight game in the absence of veterans Wade Redden, Andrew Ference and Dennis Seidenberg. Rookies Torey Krug, Dougie Hamilton and Matt Bartkowski all played extremely well and the blue line depth will improve with the expected return of at least one or two of the injured players for Game 3.
Madison Square Garden will be loud on Tuesday and Thursday nights, but the fans can quickly turn on their team if the Rangers come out flat in either game. But the pressure will surely be on Lundqvist to have a bounce back contest, which will not be a surprise to Tortorella.
“I don’t need to evaluate Henrik,” he said in response to a question about the effectiveness of his Vezina Trophy-winning goalie. “We all know what Henrik is.”
With the Rangers having trouble putting a lot of points on the board, they will need King Henrik to be at his best. They don’t need to look very far back for that, fortunately, as Torts implied.