The Boston Bruins took control of their series against the New York Rangers, while the Ottawa Senators' unlikely rally led to a double overtime win. Scott Cullen has stats and notes from Sunday's NHL action.
The Boston Bruins pulled away from the New York Rangers, winning 5-2, Sunday to take a two games to none series lead.
A remarkable story for the Bruins, D Torey Krug scored a goal and an assist Sunday and had the best possession numbers for the Bruins, and did so while playing only 12:56. Krug has two goals in two games since being inserted into the lineup due to injuries on the Boston blueline.
G Henrik Lundqvist surrendered five goals on 32 shots for the Rangers. It was the first time since March 9, 2011 that he had allowed five goals in a game and only once this season did he have a single-game save percentage lower than Sunday's .844 SV%.
Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci each had two assists for the Bruins. This is worth noting because the Rangers split up their defence pairing of Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh for this series, at least in part because the Bruins had two lines, anchored by Bergeron and Krejci, capable of cotnributing offensively.
As a result, in Game Two, Girardi took a minus-4. It was the first time since March 26, 2009 that Girardi was minus-4 in a game.
Rangers captain Ryan Callahan had a game-high eight hits (note: recorded in the visiting rink) and scored the Blueshirts' first goal.
It's not a great surprise that the Bruins held serve in their two home games, but it emphasizes how much more the Rangers need from prime contributors if they have any hope of getting back into this series. RW Rick Nash, for example, scored his first goal of the playoffs in Game Two, but four points in nine playoff games isn't enough. When the Bruins have both of their top two scoring centres contributing, it only hammers home the point that Derek Stepan (three points) and Brad Richards (one) have done little this postseason.
SENATORS GET CRUCIAL OT WIN
Senators LW Colin Greening scored in double overtime to give the Ottawa Senators a 2-1 win in Game Three against the Pittsburgh Penguins, cutting the Penguins' series lead to two games to one. It was the third straight game in which Greening had scored, after he was held without a point for his first five playoff games this season.
It looked like the Senators were on their way to going down 3-0 in the series, down by a goal and shorthanded for the final 87 seconds of the third period, but captain Daniel Alfredsson snuck behind the Penguins defence on a rush up the ice to score a shorthanded goal that tied the game with 29 seconds left in the third period.
It was a bounceback game for Senators G Craig Anderson, who was pulled after a little more than 21 minutes in Game Two. Anderson stopped 49 of 50 shots, a brilliant performance, though not the best statistical performance of his playoff career (Anderson had a 51-save shutout for Colorado vs. San Jose in 2010).
Tomas Vokoun was no slouch at the other end of the ice, stopping 46 of 48 Senators shots. As the game reached double overtime, it was evident that even the losing goaltender in this 2-1 game was going to have a strong statistical night.
Senators C Jason Spezza returned to the Senators lineup, playing his first game since January 27, playing 18:40, registering four shots on net and winning 60% of his faceoffs (15-for-25).
Penguins C Evgeni Malkin had 10 shots on goal, several of the dangerous variety in the losing effort.
Penguins LW Matt Cooke had six hits, tying him with Craig Adams to lead the Penguins. Senators RW Chris Neil had a game-high 10 hits. Cooke also drew two penalties, one in double overtime on Chris Phillips and one against Erik Karlsson with 1:27 remaining in the third period.
Which leads us to Karlsson, who responded in a big way after a reduced role in Game Two. Karlsson played a game-high 39:48 and had five shots on goal, but had some run-ins with Cooke, which included the aforementioned penalty and an uncalled highstick from Cooke.
Just as Karlsson rebounded from an Penguins C Sidney Crosby was held in check, one game after his hat trick buried the Senators, Crosby managed three shots while playing 33:08 and struggled possession-wise, which is a credit to those that faced him most: Karlsson, Marc Methot, Kyle Turris, Daniel Alfredsson and Jakob Silfverberg.
After avoiding a daunting 3-0 hole, the Senators have a chance to even things up in Game Four, at home. All along they've needed Anderson to be the difference-maker in this series and, Sunday, he was. Can he do it three more times?