What a strange, and occasionally blood-soaked, game three of the Stanley Cup playoffs semifinals that was for the Boston Bruins. The visitors came away with the 2-1 win, getting a thoroughly bouncy game-winning goal from Daniel Paille, and now the Bruins have a 3-0 series lead.
In spite of the win, though, there were definitely some concerns tonight. Perhaps chief among them was the officiating, a crew so terrible that even Pierre McGuire called them out and we were treated to a lavish replay of the Ryan Callahan high-stick on Zdeno Chara, a violation as obvious as the nose on Brad Marchand‘s face. Yes, he got Chara, right between the eyes, making him bleed the first blood–but not the last blood–of the game. But there was no call. Actually, there was never a proper Boston power play at all, though there was an instance of matching penalties for both teams.
In fact, the New York Rangers haven’t had to kill a penalty on their home ice since their quarterfinal series. How very generous of the men in stripes to allow a team with such an awful man advantage (one that got McGuire the most heated I have ever heard him sound) to get lots and lots of chances for improvement, right?
Anyway, that’s a potential source of worry coming into game four in the same building, but let’s focus on other things for now. Put up another day on the count of “How many days has it been since Tyler Seguin and/or Jaromir Jagr scored?” That’s not for lack of trying–Jagr got robbed yet again by his former teammate on an amazing opportunity while Seguin also got some good chances, including a most frustrating breakaway–but it is getting pretty old, especially in Seguin’s case. He’s a shadow of himself these days and sometimes just doesn’t seem to have that fire. I continue to advocate for him sitting out one game, just one game, and trying to relax.
Would you believe that Johnny Boychuk is tied with Nathan Horton for second among Bruins in terms of goal-scoring? Yet there he is, a defenseman, tied with a top-line forward. He got his goal early in the third, long after the Rangers struck first, putting a dent in ‘King’ Henrik Lundqvist‘s crown. Later in the third, Patrice Bergeron was made to bleed his own blood after a collision, but he just calmly got tended to on the bench, didn’t make a fuss of it and played the rest of the game with blood stains on his white sweater.
Paille, who won the MVP jacket postgame, saw a chance and took it on a bouncing puck in front of Lundqvist late in the third, securing the win and getting helpers from his Merlot Line teammates. NBC might refer to them as a bad rash, but to the Bruins, Merlot is integral. (In fact, Paille and Shawn Thornton assisted on Boychuk’s goal.)
So now here the Bruins are, leading the series 3-0. Thursday night’s tilt, which will be shown on CNBC at 7 p.m., has suddenly taken on even more importance. It’s going to be huge, to say the very least. Clear your schedules.