Brad Marchand‘s power-play shot past Henrik Lundqvist in overtime both spelled the beginning of a series that could easily go seven and also perhaps a complete shift in how we look at both special teams units right now.
Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals between the No. 6 seed New York Rangers and No. 2 seed Boston Bruins saw both teams turn 180s as New York gave up two goals on the power play, including the game-winner in the 3-2 overtime loss in Boston.
Lundqvist was good overall on the night, saving 45 of 48 shots including 15 on the power play, but it was the power play that would ultimately overwhelm the Rangers in Game 1. This is quite ironic given how much New York’s special teams took it to the Washington Capitals in their first-round series. However, the Rangers netminder, who came up huge in three one-goal games in Round 1, thinks the game-winner came down to a mistake New York can usually count on him to avoid.
“I gotta see the guy in the middle,” Lundqvist said of Marchand’s goal, via NHL.com. “I was too focused on the puck and I kind of knew he was coming in the middle, but I was too locked in on the puck. That’s why I made a stretch move instead of coming with my pads together. It’s a technical thing and it happened fast, but sooner or later when you face a lot of chances like that you’re going to make a mistake.”
The irony is also rich when it comes to how poor the Bruins’ special teams had been this year. We’ll see if this was an anomaly or defining change as Game 2 begins at 3 p.m. ET Sunday in Boston.