Why Boston won: Because whether it’s chess or pond hockey, the Bruins can play it any way you want, and they beat you doing it. They managed to pierce the armor of Rangers all-world goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and, as they did in the first round against the Toronto Maple Leafs, they dominated in overtime, winning their third extra time game of the playoffs. Undermanned and playing without three of their regular defensemen – and Johnny Boychuk injured during the overtime – the Bruins got outstanding performances from their rookie blueliners, Torey Krug in particular. The Bruins continue to find a way because different players are stepping up for them. This game it was the likes of Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, who scored the overtime winner.
Why the Rangers lost: Because Henrik Lundqvist is human after all. The first goal he allowed in 152 minutes and 23 seconds, he basically scored on himself. We’ve said it before and we’ll continue to say it – the Rangers will not have a lengthy playoff run unless players such as Rick Nash start to do more than just make good plays. He has got to find the back of the net. The Rangers acquired him for this and it’s time he delivered. The Rangers went 0-for-3 on the power play and now have two goals in 31 opportunities in the post-season. And boy, don’t they have to start to play to actually win games in overtime?
1. Henrik Lundqvist: The guy stopped 45 shots and was the only reason, and we mean the only reason, why the game went into overtime and lasted more than 15 minutes.
2. Torey Krug: Playing in his first NHL playoff game, Krug did not look the least bit intimidated or out of place and scored the power play goal to tie the game in the third period.
3. Brad Marchand: Not only did he score the overtime winner on a terrific feed from Bergeron, but he was more of a presence in this game than he was in all seven games of the first round.
Play of the game: The Bruins took advantage of a blueline turnover by the Rangers – and a fly-by by Nash – to turn the puck the other way in overtime. On the counterattack, Marchand converted a terrific pass from Bergeron for his first of the playoffs.
What’s next?: After seeing Boychuk injure his shoulder in overtime, it’s difficult to believe he’ll be able to play in Game 2, which will further deplete the Bruins blueline corps. Perhaps the Bruins won’t miss a beat, but you have to wonder how things will look long term if guys keep going down. The Rangers, meanwhile, have to show some pushback in the offensive zone and simply have to take a few more calculated risks in overtime. – Ken Campbell
Why the Kings won: The opposite to Game 1, it was Los Angeles who turned the momentum in period three against San Jose this time – and they pulled off the comeback. The Kings had a lot of trouble generating five-on-five offense most of the night, but triumphed on a 3-for-6 power play.
Why San Jose lost: This one will haunt them because it should have been a win for the Sharks, who did very well to battle back from a two-goal deficit. They’ve now outplayed the Kings two games in a row, yet sit in a 2-0 series hole heading back to the Shark Tank. Blowing a win in the last two minutes could crush their spirits, but San Jose should take positives away from having two strong showings at Staples Center, considering they’ve been an awful road team all year.
Play of the game: Twenty-two was not a good number for the Sharks Thursday night. Two San Jose penalties in the last three minutes that were taken 22 seconds apart put the Kings on the man advantage trailing by one – and the two shocking power play goals they scored with only 22 seconds between them decisively ended this one.
1. Drew Doughty: Played nearly five minutes more than any other skater (28:28) and gave the Kings a 2-0 lead in the second. His presence is everywhere.
2. Tyler Toffoli: Only played 12:03, but he and his line turned it up in the third period and Toffoli pulled in a beautiful shot-assist on the game-winning goal.
3. Patrick Marleau: His 21:18 of ice was third-most on the Sharks and he scored his fifth goal in six games, which was San Jose’s first on the night.
What’s next: Penalties – especially penalties late in the game – will burn you nearly every time. The Sharks have to find a way to get past this horrible loss and look with renewed optimism towards their first game at home this series. Until they lose one of those, they aren’t really in trouble, considering they did match up well against the Kings in the first two games. Los Angeles could bury this series with a win in Game 3 and have all kinds of momentum and confidence behind them right now. They look like the Kings that won the Cup right now – and that ain’t good for the Sharks, no matter how well they play. – Rory Boylen