The Bruins were faced with an interesting predicament as they began their Eastern Conference semifinal against the New York Rangers last night at the Garden. They had to somehow get past the euphoria of their amazing comeback victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7 on Monday, yet at the same time they wanted to hang on to the good vibe that victory gave them. Well, they managed to do both to keep the good times rolling. The B’s had to play a gritty, tight-checking Rangers team that just might be the polar opposite of the Leafs and they eventually seemed to wear them down. But it wasn’t easy. Brad Marchand scored his first goal of the playoffs at 15:40 of overtime, lifting the B’s to a 3-2 victory in Game 1. “I really thought our guys did a really good job turning the page on that historical moment,” said B’s coach Claude Julien. “But at the same time they wanted to take what was necessary from that game and that was momentum and good feeling from that game. And I thought right from the get-go our guys played well. I don’t like the way we gave them both those goals, but the way we played the rest of the game was extremely good.” Julien often preaches about turning defense to offense and that’s exactly how the Bruins scored the winner. After the B’s dominated the extra session — outshooting the Rangers 16-5 — it looked like the Rangers were ready to apply a dagger. They were bearing down on a 4-on-2 with some of their best players on the ice, but Zdeno Chara poke-checked a pass high in the B’s zone. Marchand pounced on it and, with defenseman Ryan McDonagh caught up ice, he dished it to Patrice Bergeron for a breakout. With Mats Zuccarello backchecking, Bergeron finally gave it back to Marchand near the top of the crease and he slipped it between Henrik Lundqvist’s pads for the winner. “That was a huge play,” said Bergeron of Chara. “It was a 4-on-2 and that poke-check right there is the only way we get that 2-on-1 and that goal. It’s those little details that go a long way in the playoffs and that’s what wins games.” The poke-check was just a small part of Chara’s contribution last night. With three rookies on defense, the captain played 38:02 and delivered the first goal of the night at 12:23 when his slap shot broke through Lundqvist and dropped on the blue paint, but the goaltender ended up knocking it home himself.
Brad Marchand goal lifts Bruins past Rangers in OT
Boston Herald | May 17