action:article | category:SPORTS16 | adString:SPORTS16 | zoneID:40

Home » Sports » Sports Columns

May 19. 2013 2:08AM

Vin Sylvia: Series key starts, ends with 'Z'


 

There are three schools of thought regarding the meaning of the Bruins' 3-2, overtime victory over the Rangers in Thursday's Game 1:

1.) It proved just how evenly matched the teams are and strengthened the notion that we're likely looking at a seven-game series of low-scoring games, most of them determined by a single goal.

2.) It showed the Bruins are clearly the superior team. Yes, the B's needed overtime to win it, but they outshot the Rangers 48-35, barely missing on several other scoring attempts - at least three shots caught a post, two others the crossbar - before Brad Marchand potted the game-winner.

3.) It means Boston has a 1-0 series advantage, and that's it. New York's Henrik Lundqvist, arguably the best goalie in the world, let in two soft goals in Game 1, both in regulation. Think that's going to happen again?

Include me in the third school. It's been a long time since we've seen the Bruins put together consecutive games in which they played well from start to finish. Did the furious first-round finish and miracle outcome of Game 7 against Toronto signal the flick of a switch that ignited a Stanley Cup run? Maybe.

A mud-slog of a first period by both teams notwithstanding, the B's were very good in Game 1 against the Rangers - great in overtime. But let's see if they can do it again Sunday afternoon in Game 2, at least, before we start thinking about whether they possibly can beat the Penguins in the conference final.

If there's one thing Game 1 did other than enable the Bruins to hold serve, it was allay fears that the B's had no chance against the Rangers with three veteran defensemen sidelined by injuries and three rookies skating in their stead.

After the way Dougie Hamilton (5 hits, 1 assist in 20 minutes 45 seconds of ice time), Torey Krug (goal, 3 hits in 16:41) and Matt Bartkowski (3 hits, 2 blocked shots in 26:42) performed Thursday night, it appears there's no need to rush back Dennis Seidenberg, Wade Redden and Andrew Ference. In fact, it's possible the rookies' fresh legs and offense-minded tendencies may have been an advantage in Game 1, particularly in light of game-tying, power-play goal Krug scored off a feed from Hamilton.

Still, I'll take Seidenberg's size, strength and experience over Krug's fresh legs and skills at the point on the power play, given that Thursday marked the latter's fourth NHL game and first in the postseason.

Either way, though, it's good to have Zdeno Chara manning the blue line, isn't it?

In an astounding 38:02 of ice time, Chara totaled a goal, an assist, six hits and two blocks Thursday night. His plus/minus was plus-2.

It was fitting that the rush up ice for the game-winning goal began with Chara poking the puck away on a Rangers odd-man rush. Marchand, capping his best game in months, scored the goal off a feed from Patrice Bergeron, but it all started with Big Z.

We may look at him as the difference at series' end, too.


Vin Sylvia is a New Hampshire Union Leader deputy managing editor. Email him at vsylvia@unionleader.com.


 NH Sports Angle Ľ more
Links to news and happenings around the world of sports with a Granite State connection, updated daily.

Itís show time in Chicago for Dartmouthís Hendricks

State sells Windham golf course site for $3.06M

Ex-minor leaguers sue MLB over low salaries

$14M to beaten Giants fan returns security focus

Matt Bonner and brother bring rock show back to Redhook

GM: Twin State Speedway progressing with revival

Foot golf arrives on Seacoast

New Hampshire's Burns gets more than he could ever ask for

Pro runner's yoga class will raise money for clean Kenyan water

Menard wrecks as New Hampshire testing concludes

Lawyers try to bar Patriots from paying Hernandez $3.2M bonus

Pease Golf Course celebrates opening of lower nine holes

NFL rule could signal end of Justin Tuck signature facemask and that's a good thing according to UNH findings

NH man almost wins first $500k winner-takes-all open basketball tournament

Blue Jays move Dalton Pompey up to New Hampshire

Field set for 110th anniversary ĎClimb to the Clouds' car race

Contractors volunteer to complete renovations for 5th Annual Jericho ATV Festival

Dartmouth dismisses menís lacrosse coach

Jay Perrin looks to take his MMA career to the next level at Combat Zone 49

Dartmouth runner poised for long-term success on pro circuit

'Great Race' makes pit stop in Rochester

CHIP KELLY

Chip Kelly: Last practice not Fred Flintstone leaving work

Traffic jams expected with 30,000 fans at Epping dragway

Calgary Stampsí St. Pierre, complete with tattoos and plenty of brawn, not your typical NH wedding planner

Laconia man wins grueling 500-mile race in 9 days

MORE

 New Hampshire Events Calendar
    

   Ľ SHARE EVENTS FOR PUBLICATION, IT'S FREE!

Upcoming Events

 New Hampshire Business Directory

  

   Ľ ADD YOUR BUSINESS TODAY!