BOSTON — Putting the puck past Henrik Lundqvist is a huge challenge for the Boston Bruins.
Of course, they have to get it to him first and that’s a tough task against the shot-blocking New York Rangers.
“They’re definitely going to be laying down to block those shots,” Boston forward Patrice Bergeron said after practice for tonight’s series opener. “We have to be aware of that. I think it’s about finding ways to get that puck to the net and faking shots and moving more.”
On Monday night, it seemed the Bruins wouldn’t have to worry about that. They were close to elimination.
Then they rallied from a three-goal deficit in the last 11 minutes of the third period and beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 on Bergeron’s overtime goal in Game 7.
“You don’t give up,” Bruins forward Jaromir Jagr said yesterday, but “if you try to do it again, you’re probably not going to do it even if you try 100 times, but it happened.”
Now it’s time to forget that unforgettable comeback. It’s time for the Eastern Conference semifinals, the first playoff meeting between the teams in 40 years.
Lundqvist, last year’s Vezina Trophy winner and finalist for that award this season, enters the series with consecutive shutouts in Games 6 and 7 against the Washington Capitals. He stopped 62 shots in those games while facing elimination.
The key to the shutouts?
“Box them out before they get (near the goal) so they can’t provide a screen,” Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi said. “If we can’t box them out, the biggest thing is getting (at) their sticks. Hankie is going to stop that shot if he sees it. We have to do a good job of letting Hankie see those first shots, make sure there’s no tips.”