The Rangers are in one helluva hole right now, down 3-0 to the rolling Bruins after their 2-1 loss in Game 3. The Rangers didn’t really deserve to win this game, but the way it ended was one of the oddest endings to a game I have ever seen. That said, the lucky bounce wasn’t the reason why they lost. The Bruins outplayed the Rangers in every facet of the game for the third straight game of the series. The Rangers now face an elimination game on Thursday night in Game Four. On to the goals:
Rangers 1, Bruins 0
Derek Stepan won an offensive zone face off, and Ryan McDonagh got a shot off that was blocked and sat on Patrice Bergeron’s stick for a clear. The clear was blocked and McDonagh took a soft wrister from the blue line with half a dozen guys in the shooting lane. You can see from the replay that Tuukka Rask was leaning to his glove side to see the shot, and McD’s shot went to his stick side. Somehow the shot actually got through –after a Taylor Pyatt deflection– and just beat Rask. Not much to break down, but Bergeron is a lot better than that clear. No picture on this because it didn’t come out the way I would have liked, and I didn’t think we needed a picture of Rask leaning left to see the shot.
Bruins 1, Rangers 1
The Rangers fourth line winds up out on the ice against the Bruins fourth line, which apparently is a mismatch in this series. The Rangers got caught running around in their own end, with multiple coverage fails on the puck movement by Boston. Interestingly enough, once Johnny Boychuk wound up with the puck at the point, the Rangers fell back into their low-zone collapse perfectly. Mats Zuccarello even pressured the shot a bit. But the shot beat Hank cleanly with multiple guys in front providing a screen. This goal was very similar to the goal Rask gave up. A soft shot on net through multiple guys in front.
Bruins 2, Rangers 1
I honestly have no idea how to break this down. The fourth line had the Rangers running around again, which seems to be par for the course, and Michael Del Zotto was forced to make a pair of good plays to prevent the Bruins from scoring (blocking an original shot by Danielle Paille and knocking the rebound away from Shawn Thornton). The puck wound up on Gregory Campbell’s stick, and after his shot the puck took one of the weirdest bounces I have ever seen. Paille was behind the net and batted the puck in after it back-spun out from behind Hank.
Bad bounce aside, this game was just a weird game all around. There were about 14 high sticks that went uncalled, including simultaneous high sticks on one play in which neither got called. Weirdness shouldn’t be a factor, and it wasn’t in this game. The powerplay stunk, and the Rangers were caught running round in their own zone by the Bruins too often. At one point, the Bruins set up in an umbrella powerplay formation at even strength. That had me flabbergasted. The Rangers have been outplayed for all three games this series. They need a sharp 180 or else this will end in short fashion.