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Collapse at MSG

April 5, 2011

Holding down the fort.

Perhaps “collapse” is too strong a word. It is too strong, actually. If the Bruins bowed out of the first round of the playoffs in an unseemly sort of way, then “collapse” might be fitting. The true tale of last night’s 5-3 loss to the Rangers lies with the fact the Rangers simply out-willed and out-hustled the Bruins in the final minutes. What appeared a sure win faded quickly, as the hungry eighth-seeded Rangers fought for every puck and every chance at a shot on net. And, they won.

The Bruins played with intensity and speed during the first two periods. There were holes in their play, to be sure. A few unnecessary penalties too. But they managed to handle the onslaught of their opponents well, scoring the first two goals just seconds after solid chances by the Bruins. That sort of rapid turnaround game is a promising sign from the Bruins. Indeed, the Bruins perhaps shouldn’t be held too accountable for the loss, as much as the Rangers should be credited for the win. If that makes sense.

Just three games remain. The Islanders tomorrow, the Senators Saturday and the Devils Sunday. After witnessing the relative interchangeability of players these last few games, what with Thornton, Seguin, McQuaid, Kampfer, Hnidy and Ryder in and out of the line-up for injury or as the healthy scratch, it seems as if it’s not going to be a major issue in the playoffs. Carrying extra players is only a bonus, as injuries are bound to happen. Nobody knows now who it will be, but a downed forward or defensemen seems almost inevitable in the first two rounds. A scary thought indeed. Nevertheless, perhaps with the exception of Kampfer, all these players are serviceable and playoff-ready. Paille and Ryder have regained their scoring touch in the opportunities they’ve been presented during the last few weeks and there is little question that Paille’s strong defensive play is an asset in the playoffs. Ryder receives, at times, undue blame among Boston fans. He’s a pure goal scorer, and in the absence of achieving such goals, he’s a convenient scape-goat. But, the Newfoundland-native scored a number of timely goals last year during the playoffs, and he seems capable of doing just that again if he finds his streak. It’s clear Seguin has lost some of the aggression he was playing with a few weeks ago, but perhaps that will resurfaces as the playoffs loom and the stakes rise.

But for now, a respite.


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