If you were one of those – like me – who stayed home yesterday to watch the Rangers play the Bruins, you could be forgiven if you fell asleep before the excitement late in the third period of a 1-0 loss. The Bruins did their best impression of the Devils teams under Jacques Lemaire, sending barely one forward to forecheck the Rangers, focusing instead on preventing the game from becoming anything more exciting than watching a day of Mary Tyler Moore reruns.
Once the Bruins got the lead on Blake Wheeler‘s slap shot – tipped by Fredrik Sjostrom – it was almost a case of turn off the broadcast and wait for Tuesday night. While the Rangers did muster some half chances, for the most part the Bruins kept their opponents to the outside and denied any opportunity to pounce on a rebound.
The win by the Bruins clinched the #1 spot in the East. All in all it was a pretty dull game…at least until Sean Avery nonchalantly clipped Tim Thomas on the back of the head as he skated past following a whistle.
Avery’s figurative – and literal – jab at the Bruins recently re-signed netminder, set the tone for a little bit more excitement in the final minutes of the game, but in the end all he earned was outrage from all and sundry, and perhaps some added spice to a potential first round match-up…if the Rangers can hold on.
At this stage, the Rangers still have control of their own destiny, and could get some help today if the Penguins beat the Panthers. But with Montreal (Tuesday) and a home and home series with the Flyers (Thursday and Saturday), there’s no guarantee they’ll necessarily get any points the rest of the way, and they could easily lose their grip on the final playoff spot.
The news got a little worse with the departure of Nik Antropov in the second period. Antropov and Milan Lucic hit knee to knee, and there was some concern over whether there might be a serious injury. Steve Zipay reported in his blog later than Antropov did not appear to be limping much, so we can only hope for the best.
Gernander a potential coach of the year?
Former Pack defenseman Jake Taylor hasn’t had any more luck staying healthy since moving to Springfield, but while Taylor is on the sideline his former coach is starting to get some positive attention from the media.
Checkers finish the season with a 3-0 loss
The Checkers rounded out their regular season with a 3-0 loss, in what was a match that had no meaning for Charlotte. They’ll start their post-season on the road this Thursday against the South Carolina Stingrays.
Michael Del Zotto was the #1 star with a goal and two assists to help pace the Knights to a 4-3 win and a 2-0 series lead over the Spirit. Del Zotto now has 12 points in post season 6 games (2G – 10A).
Tysen Dowzak and the Kelowna Rockets have fallen two games back in their second round series with Tri-cities. The series now moves back to Kelowna, where the Rockets will be hoping they can get a couple of wins to pull even.
Tomas Kundratek was a -2 as he and the Tigers lost game 1 to Brandon in their second round matchup. The two teams play game two today.