The Bruins took command of the Eastern Conference semifinals with a 5-2 win over the Rangers Sunday at TD Garden, putting them up 2-0 heading to New York.
The Bruins took a 3-2 lead into the third period and cruised past the Rangers in the third when Brad Marchand scored 26 seconds into the period, and Milan Lucic put the game away.
Tuukka Rask was solid in goal, especially in the second period when he made a string of saves to keep the Bruins in the game.
“Yeah, that’s what you have to do sometimes,” Rask said. “We were not at our best in the second period. We gave up a lot of odd man opportunities and a lot of turnovers and stuff, but they only got one goal so something positive came out of that period…
“There was plenty of two-on-ones, three-on-twos, and then a couple of turnovers from our D [defensemen]. Then they made some plays from behind the net. I was just in front of the puck, it wasn’t textbook all the time. But despite that goal from [Rick] Nash, I was just jumping.”
Rask spoke about his confidence growing as his team goes deeper in the playoffs.
“My confidence is always high,” Rask said. “That’s just how I try to be. No matter what happens, I try to stay calm and even keeled. Confidence can’t go any lower or higher, I think.”
The play of the Bruins young defenseman continued to impress Rask.
“Yeah, they just keep playing their game, that’s all that we can ask from them,” Rask said. “But we just have to make sure that they don’t get too high. It’s still playoff hockey, you don’t want to get too carried away out there. But they’re playing great.”
Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk scored what turned out to be the winning goal in the second period when he fired one past Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
“It was definitely a screen,” Boychuk said about his goal. “Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] did a good job getting to the front, and their D-man was their as well, but it was four on four. Marchy [Brad Marchand] did a good job by getting in the zone, turned up and found me coming in, and all I had to do was hit the net because there was a couple of guys in front of him.”
Boychuk talked about being able to bounce back from the hit he took in the first game.
“It’s playoffs,” Boychuk said. “You’ve got to keep going, and you can’t be worried about it, and you just do whatever you can for the team.
Boychuk already has three goals in the playoffs.
“You know, just hitting the net I guess, and sometimes it’s luck,” he said. “Just getting shots on net and hitting the net. Better chance to score when you hit the net.”
Boychuck spoke about the young defensemen playing well in this series.
“I think skating with the puck [is key],” Boychuk said. “They’ve been doing a good job skating and taking their ice when they get the chance and eliminating the turnovers again is a key and they’re just playing smart… They’ve been amazing. They’re making a case for themselves to stay in the lineup and that’s what you need. You want to stay in the lineup and the way that they’re playing, they’ve been playing very, very good and responsible, and even in the D-zone I’ve been watching they’ve been battling hard and doing the right things and that’s what you need.
Bruins coach Claude Julien was also impressed by the play of his young defense.
“At the stage we’re in right now in the season, we’re talking about the playoffs, the one thing you don’t want to do is make a young defensemen come in and be afraid to play,” Julien said. “You’ve got to be willing to live with the consequences. The good part about that it I know they’ve got some good upside to them. [Matt] Bartkowski was sent down at the end of the regular season, so he could continue to play because we really liked his game. [Torey] Krug’s been a good player for Providence all year, we liked what we saw in him last year and when he was called up. It was just a matter of bringing those guys in, saying, ‘Continue to do the things that you do well, because that will also give you success at this level.’ It’s about giving them the confidence to do that. We have to trust that they are good enough in those areas that they’re going to help us out. So far, they’ve proven us right.”
Bruins forward Brad Marchand scored for the second game in a row, this time 26 seconds into the third period.
“It’s always good to get a couple-goal lead early in the third there,” Marchand said. “Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] made a great play. I think we played pretty well after that to limit their opportunities and played a strong game.”
Marchand spoke about curbing his turnovers as the game progressed.
“Yeah, I think I was definitely a little more aware of it,” he said. “I think I was maybe a little overconfident. I thought I was controlling the puck pretty good last game, and it didn’t seem to be going the same way. After that I tried to keep it a little more simple and make sure pucks were in deep.”
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara was also pleased with what he saw from his team in Game 2.
“I thought we had everybody going, and we played on our toes,” he said. “It’s nice to get some contribution from the back end. You need that in the playoffs.”