Yes, last night was a big let down. Buzzkill. Proverbial kick in the balls. Call it what you like, but I know I’m not alone in that I went into last night’s game 4 at Madison Square Garden fully expecting the Bruins to hammer the final nail in the coffin on an incredibly disappointing New York Ranger season.
Well things absolutely did not work out as I had hoped. The Rangers were handed momentum on a silver platter halfway through the game and they ran with it, grabbing a come-from-behind overtime win much to the delight of the home crowd, keeping their season alive for at least one more game.
In the sports hotbed that is Boston, obviously the pundits have let their reactions to last night’s debacle be heard. The word “choke” has been tossed around a lot. The Sports Hub’s Michael Felger would have you believe that we’ve all jumped in a time machine and are back in 2010 again, the Rangers playing the role of the Philadelphia Flyers. Plain and simple, people are worried. After watching the B’s nearly blow a 3-1 series lead in round one to the Maple Leafs, and given their recent history, the feelings are understandable.
Let me talk you all off the ledge here though. This is not 2010. The Rangers are not the Flyers. And this Bruins team DOES know how to win.
Last night was a really weird game. I think it’s important to point out here that the Rangers really did not play a very good game. They had 12 shots on goal through the first two periods. Up until Tuukka tripped and allowed Carl Hagelin’s trickling backhand into the net, New York looked absolutely done. Madison Square Garden was as quiet as a library. After Torey Krug blew a slap shot by Henrik Lundqvist’s glove to give Boston a 2-0 lead, the swede net minder looked like he wanted to be anywhere but in that crease. I stress again, they looked done.
The B’s, and specifically Tuukka Rask, opened the door for New York. They gave them a shock as they lay flat-lined on a stretcher.
I won’t believe that the Rangers truly earned that win. Credit them for taking advantage of gaining the momentum, sure. But the Bruins let that one slip away. They were in full control and they dropped the ball.
However, there is no reason to believe that last night is going to start an avalanche all too familiar to Bruins fans. This team has learned from their mistakes. The frustration of being down to 10-minutes left in their season before staging a miraculous comeback in game 7 against Toronto has to still be fresh. They won’t allow themselves to get into such a dire situation again. They simply can’t.
On balance, the Bruins were the better team last night for the fourth straight game. It was really a handful of bad mental errors that kept the Rangers alive. Tuukka’s stumble. Chara falling asleep behind the net. A bad too many men on the ice penalty. And a 19-year-old rookie failing to tie up the stick of a man driving towards the net.
The Rangers had no choice but to play desperate facing elimination, and it wasn’t until the Bruins created an opportunity for them that they displayed any urgency. Tomorrow night, game 5 at home in the TD Garden, it’s time for the Bruins to remind us all that this is 2013 and not 2010.
Believe in Boston.