Thursday, May 23, 2013
Three takeaways from Game 4
By James Murphy
The Bruins blew two leads and allowed the Rangers to live another day with a 4-3 overtime loss in Game 4 on Thursday night. Here are three takeaways from what could have been a sweeping success for the Bruins had they put away the Rangers.
Bruins never make it easy -- In their past 17 chances to close out a series, the Bruins have won just six. In the opening round of the playoffs, the Bruins had a 3-1 series lead over the Maple Leafs and allowed them to not only force a Game 7 but also take a 4-1 lead in the third period of the decisive game before finally waking up and pulling off their amazing comeback, winning 5-4 in overtime. One would have thought the Bruins had learned a lesson to never underestimate their opponent or get comfortable. They didn't exactly show it in this game, again failing to put away a down-and-out opponent. The Bruins outshot the Rangers 12-4 in the first period but the game was still scoreless. They then blew a 2-0 lead and a 3-2 lead before Chris Kreider's overtime goal. Are we in for another nerve-wracking series, or will this Bruins squad wake up earlier than it did in Round 1? We'll find out Saturday.
Seguin's hard work finally pays off -- Tyler Seguin scored his first goal of the playoffs in Game 4 and added an assist. His celebration after the third-period goal was a sign of his throwing that proverbial monkey off his back and, he hopes, of things to come. Seguin entered Game 4 with just one assist in 10 playoff games. The assist came on Patrice Bergeron's overtime winner in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, and although he had not registered a point since, he had been doing everything but getting on the score sheet. He has played among the most physical hockey of his career and is doing the little things that should lead to goals. In Game 4, his hard work finally paid off, but he also should be applauded for his persistence and determination.
Power play keeps improving -- Power-play goals by Torey Krug and Nathan Horton in the second period were the latest examples of how much better the Bruins are moving the puck and creating chances on the man-advantage. That momentum has carried into 5-on-5 play as well. In Game 1, a solid performance on the man-advantage that didn't yield a goal led to better 5-on-5 play and eventually Brad Marchand's game winner. Now the improved power play not only is generating momentum, but is generating goals, which could be a huge factor going forward.