NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 01: Chris Kelly #23 of the Boston Bruins shoots against Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers and Ryan Callahan #24 of the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on April 1, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Clinching the number one spot in the Eastern Conference will be on hold for yet another day as the New York Rangers dropped 2-1, to the Boston Bruins. While the loss itself was very frustrating, it's nothing to get worked up about.
The New York Rangers came out flying in the first period, and completely shut down the Bruins in both ends. Just four minutes in, Marian Gaborik broke in on a semi-breakaway, and beat Tim Thomas through the five hole. Zdeno Chara's slap shot was blocked by Jordan Caron, which sent the puck sailing to wide open ice, where Gaborik picked it up. For the rest of the period, the Rangers were able to lock it down defensively, and come away with the early 1-0 lead.
Exactly four minutes into the second period, the Bruins began to amp up the pressure in the Rangers end. It would eventually end with Dennis Seidenberg blasting home a one-timed slap shot from the point. There was no way Henrik Lundqvist could see that puck through the three or so bodies in front of him.
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About 10 minutes later, Michael Del Zotto was whistled down for a very weak interference penalty, in my honest opinion. Especially when Brad Marchand practically sat on Carl Hagelin and mugged him for a good while, no less then 20 seconds prior to the Del Zotto penalty.
The Bruins would eventually capitalize on their power play opportunity on a terrible turnover behind the net. Dan Girardi had a good 5-10 seconds to clear this puck, but instead elected to hold onto the puck. Patrice Bergeron was able to pick his pocket, and find a way to jam it short side on Henrik Lundqvist. It was just a lazy play on defense, and Lundqvist had a hard time recovering.
After dominating nearly the entire first period, the Rangers found themselves being dominated all throughout the second period, and trailing by a score of 2-1. The Rangers were able to get a 5-on-3 advantage early on in the third period. However, the power play was brutal all night, and couldn't even gain the zone half of the time. The Bruins were able to kill it off, and continue to maintain their 2-1 lead.
The Rangers had a ton of pressure in the final seven minutes of play, but Tim Thomas was up to every single task. Artem Anisimov had a golden opportunity to tie the game, and Thomas somehow got a pad on the puck after it navigated it's way through the traffic in front. The Bruins were able to clear the zone in the final ten seconds to secure the 2-1 victory.
Although the Rangers dropped one, that Ranger fans all over would have loved for them to win, it's really not a big deal. At the end of the day, the Rangers still hold first place, still control their own destiny, and have clinched a playoff spot, AND home ice advantage.
The Rangers will be in Philadelphia on Tuesday to try once again to clinch the first spot in the Eastern Conference.