Here we are once again. The New York Rangers were unable to get the job done once again, and dropped Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals by a score of 5-2. Despite the Bruins putting up five goals on the Rangers, the score didn't necessarily dictate how the Rangers played. They actually played really well, generated a bunch of scoring chances, but just weren't able the goal to push them over the edge.
The Achilles' heel for the Rangers this afternoon were several defensive breakdowns in front of Henrik Lundqvist, which more or less, left him out to dry. Dan Girardi was on the ice for all five Bruins goals today, including one where he completely missed Brad Marchand cutting to the net and tapped the puck under Lundqvist. On the other end of the ice however, the Rangers had a handful of chances and looked pretty well. Tuuka Rask bailed out the Bruins a few times as he stood on his heads when he needed to, which kept the Rangers off the scoreboard for the most part.
This game started off pretty bad for the Rangers once again, as Tory Krug was able to put the Bruins up 1-0 just five minutes into the game. One of the biggest issues the Rangers had today in the defensive end was picking up the player trailing the play, and coming in late. That's exactly how this goal happened as Nathan Horton tossed a cross ice feed over to Krug cutting in, and he had a wide open lane to the net.
But throughout this game, the Rangers were able to erase two leads by the Bruins which lessened the blow a little bit. Ryan Callahan was able to tie this game up just three minutes after the first goal, as he out-hustled Dougie Hamilton, and faked Tuuka Rask out of his shorts on the move. It was just a huge goal from the Captain, and it's the type of effort you expect out of him. After finishing out the period tied, the Rangers fell back once again at the beginning of the second period.
Gregory Campbell converted just two minutes into the second period, as he cleaned up the garbage off of a blocked shot, and chipped it over Henrik Lundqvist. But, just like last time, the Rangers found a way to answer right away following the goal. Rick Nash sniped home his first playoff goal since 2009 at the 3:20 mark of the second period, and tied this game up once again. Yet another big goal to answer, and hopefully that's the one that awakens the beast. If Rick Nash gets going, it can only be beneficial for the Rangers.
Later on in the period, both Arron Asham and Shawn Thornton got tangled up in front of Tuuka Rask, and exchanged some shoves. Both were eventually escorted to the box, which set up some 4-on-4 hockey for the next two minutes. The Bruins were able to convert with the extra space as Johnny Boychuk sent a laser of a wrist shot past Henrik Lundqvist to give the Bruins their third lead of the afternoon. To Lundqvist's aid though, Dan Girardi provided the extra screen along with Brad Marchand, and Lundqvist never caught a glimpse of the puck as it came in on him.
While the Rangers weren't play terrible throughout two periods, they completely collapsed in the third period. The Bruins were able to catch the Rangers flatfooted just 26 seconds into the third period as Brad Marchand scored his second goal of the playoffs on a beautiful feed from Patrice Bergeron. It was a eerily similar goal to the one that ended Game 1 in overtime as Marchand slipped behind Dan Girardi undetected, and tapped home the pass. The Rangers continued to push throughout the third period, but the Bruins were able to shut them down for the most part.
With just under eight minutes remaining in regulation time, Milan Lucic put the nail in the coffin as he tapped home yet another lose puck at the side of the net. Dan Girardi was on the ice yet again, as he dove in a last ditch effort to prevent Lucic from walking in. It was a really poor outing from Dan Girardi tonight, but I'd expect him to come back two thousand times better in Game 3.
I said it during the last series against the Washington Capitals, and I'll say it again. While these first two losses were really frustrating, this series is only just getting started. The Rangers have won all their playoff games thus far at Madison Square Garden, and there's no reason that should change now. Two more wins and we completely forget about these first two games.