Today the Boston Bruins host a matinee game against the New York Rangers for the second game of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. Currently the Bruins hold a 1-0 series advantage after going into overtime for game 1. Despite making 45 saves in net, Henrik Lundqvist gave up the one shot that mattered the most, allowing Boston to skate away with a 3-2 victory.
Today the Bruins are embarking on victory number two, only this time, they want to do so in regulation. In order to do so, they’re going to have to come out of the locker rooms ready to ‘bear down’ (<see what I did there) and skate hard. While it is no question both teams play strong defensively and physically, they need to bring a hard forecheck and get the offensive plays generating from the get-go.
We can expect to see former Ranger Wade Redden back in the line up today, likely meaning rookie d-man Dougie Hamilton will reinsert himself into the stands with the likes of his injured mates Denis Seidenberg and Andrew Ference who remain injured. With Redden potentially back in, the Bruins gain veteran presence and a liable shot producer. Redden’s presence on the special teams unit have been one of the deciding factors of the Bruins advancing and should help against a struggling New York power play, or as the opposition calls it, power kill. Dennis Seidenberg is recovering, skating prior to the team practice Saturday morning. According to Claude Julien:
“With [Dennis] Seidenberg, obviously doing better. I don’t anticipate him being ready for tomorrow, but with the injury he’s got, you never know. (via Bruins Official Website)
In the event of playoff hockey, a lot of players play through their injuries and focus more about rehabilitation and recovery during the postseason.
“Everybody wants to be out there, but it’s got to be the right way…If you go out there and you’re not able to do what you need to do you’re only hurting the team.”-Wade Redden on being a game-time decision.
The trio of rookies along with the likes of Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk stepping up has seemingly helped the Bruins squad and should they still be in tact for today’s game, will likely continue to do so. However, the possibility of all three veterans still sitting out is borderline likely at this point.
Offensive lines looked the same as Jaromir Jagr was paired alongside Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, with Seguin taking strides with Kelly and Peverley. Both forwards have struggled to find their niche in the postseason, registering no more than assists. Each man in his own has made improvements, but still tackles the obstacle of finding the back of the net.
“For me personally, it’s not the first time it’s happened to me, so you have to work hard,” said Jagr. “Most of the time, it’s about confidence, too. It doesn’t really matter how many goals you score, the confidence comes with any play. Any good play can give you the confidence, any good pass to score a goal can turn things around. You just have to work hard and go through it; I’m not going to give up. Of course I would like to help this team more than I do right now, but there’s nothing I can do about that – just work hard.” (via Bruins Official Site)
Tuukka Rask is earning his contract extension through the postseason, and has rightfully done so through the first 8 games. He has managed to stop 249 shots out of the 269 he has faced, earning him a .926 save percentage and 2.36 goals against average. Meanwhile, at the opposing end of the rink, Henrik Lundqvist has made 259 saves out of 274 for a .945 save percentage and 1.76 goals against average.
The puck drops at 3PM, be sure to tune in to see who takes the cake for game 2. For the opponent’s side of things you can check out Black and Blueshirts, feel free to give us each a follow on Twitter too! (@ACupABruin and @BlknBlueshirts)