Rangers-Bruins Game 1 Thoughts: Thank You, Henrik Lundqvist

Game 1 could have gone on for two more minutes or two more overtimes or it could still be going on and the Bruins were still going to win. If Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand didn’t beat Anton Stralman and Ryan McDonagh and then Henrik Lundqvist, someone else on the Bruins would have eventually ended the game.

The Bruins were clearly the better team in Game 1 and it was obvious everywhere except for the scoreboard with the game tied at 2 at the end of the third. But don’t let the game going to overtime make you think the two teams were actually even after regulation like John Tortorella thinks they were. (He said, “I thought it was pretty even going into overtime.”) The Rangers were completely dominated throughout the first game of what I still believe will be a series that needs seven games to be decided. And the only reason the game wasn’t over as early as the Rangers-Capitals Game 7 was is because of the man, the myth, the legend: Henrik Lundqvist. So once again let’s get the Thoughts started with the reason the Rangers weren’t run out of the TD Garden, run off Causeway Street, run down Canal Street and run into The Grand Canal, the worst bar in Boston.

– One day when Henrik Lundqvist pulls his number 30 to the Madison Square Garden rafters, there’s nothing the Rangers can give him on “Henrik Lundqvist Night” that will be enough to reward and repay him for being solely responsible for ending the Rangers’ playoff-less streak in 2005-06, which would still be going on without him.

In Game 1, Lundqvist faced 48 shots, the second-most he’s faced this season (he stopped 48-of-49 shots in Carolina on April 6), and stopped 45 of them. It was the most shots he had seen in the playoffs since the Rangers’ 4-3 double-overtime loss to the Capitals in the 2010-11 quarterfinals (also known as the “Boudreau Chants” game or the “Rangers Blew a 3-0 Third-Period Lead with a Chance to Tie the Series” game). In return, the Rangers recorded only 35 shots on Tuukka Rask, most of which came from low-percentage areas, including both of their goals, which were outside shots.

– They say “the post is the goalie’s best friend.” I’m not sure that’s true since I always thought “good defense should be the goalie’s best friend.” (In that case, Henrik Lundqvist is best friend-less and if he’s taking applications, where should I send mine to?) Unless you like your best friend to constantly scare the crap out of you before saying, “It was just a goof, man” like a worried Harry Dunne apologizing to a dying Joe Mentalino in Dumb and Dumber, then I’m not sure how the post is anyone’s best friend. I had several heart palpitations thanks to Johnny Boychuk and Jaromir Jagr and Tyler Seguin hitting the posts and crossbar Thursday night, so it’s going to be a while until the post and I are back on good terms.

– Ryan McDonagh’s untimely and ill-advised decision to jump up on the play in overtime cost the Rangers an odd-man rush against and cost them the game. Not even Henrik Lundqvist or a diving Mats Zuccarello, who fit neatly into the corner of the net like an empty puck bag, could stop Patrice Bergeron’s pass or Brad Marchand’s perfect puck placement. But to me, it was Ryan Callahan who had the worst game of all the Rangers. Callahan missed several chances to clear the zone on the penalty kill, twice unsuccessfully tried to chip the puck around the D, resulting in a turnover, and missed the net with shots on several attempts. I know Ryan Callahan didn’t cost the Rangers the game and I know no one in the Tri-state area likes hearing anyone badmouth the captain, but I have to be fair (unless being fair means saying something negative about Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Eli Manning or Henrik Lundqvist).

– Rick Nash: Come out, come out, wherever you are.

– The Rangers put together another Andruw Jones night, going 0-for-3 on the power play. The power play is now 2-for-31 in the playoffs, which actually might be harder to do than being 22-for-31 on the power play, kind of like going 0-for-12 in picking winners in a 12-team parlay.

Pierre McGuire complained about the Rangers’ “lack of slot presence” on the power play, but I’m not sure how you can have “slot presence” when you can’t successfully break out or get through the neutral zone without turning it over or set it up inside the Bruins’ zone without trying to get cute just inside the blue with it on the man advantage. Maybe Pierre will inform us of how this is possible in Game 2 unless he’s too busy rattling off Torey Krug’s entire hockey career and stats starting with his first year of youth hockey as a kid growing up in Livonia, Mich.

I would like to think something is going to change or click with the power play, but I would also like to think that the fistfight Adam Oates is calling for with John Tortorella will take place and unfortunately I know neither of these things will happen. The Rangers power play is what it is now after 56 games this season: a disaster. Luckily, the Bruins power play has been as bad this season (and also in the past like the Rangers’), but even the lowly Bruins power play found a way to convert once in Game 1. If the Bruins power play is going to produce in this series and the Rangers’ isn’t then we might as well pack up the sticks and pucks now and call it a season because I was banking on this series being won during even strength. We can’t have the Bruins suddenly figuring out how to score with a man advantage.

– Aside from Pierre McGuire telling us Torey Krug’s life story, he was also kind enough to remind us that Jaromir Jagr is “a 15-20 second shift guy” in the third period and overtime whenever number 68 was on the ice. We learned again that Rangers trainer Jim Ramsey is the Team Canada trainer and I’m pretty sure those were orgasmic noises Pierre was making anytime he said the name “Dougie Hamilton,” who he has had a clear man crush on since the beginning of the season. There’s no chance NBC Sports will have Pierre attend only the other three series in the semifinals and set us free of the Human HockeyDB.com, but maybe it’s for the better because these Thoughts wouldn’t be so long without him. In honor of Pierre, I’m going to “Pierre” the rest of the Thoughts.

– What was the former first-round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets John Moore thinking when he decided to take that interference penalty on the power play? I’m serious. What was going through his head when he decided to just shove Rich Peverley down from behind away from the play? The Winnetka, Ill. native has to be much smarter than that if he’s going to move down low on the power play. (There’s a 150-percent chance Marian Gaborik would have been benched by Tortorella for the same penalty. He was benched for a lot less.)

And while we’re talking about penalties, Derek Dorsett made the right decision when he took his interference penalty on Peverley (effing Peverley again) in overtime the way he would have during his days in the WHL playing for the Medicine Hat Tigers. If Dorsett doesn’t take that penalty, it’s at least a 2-on-1 going the other way and the game is over. Granted the game would eventually end on a 2-on-1 anyway, but hey, at least we got like 12 more minutes of hockey after the Kindersley, Sask. product took a smart and necessary penalty.

The Rangers can still get the job done in Boston with a Game 2 win otherwise they will be in the same spot they were two weeks ago against the Capitals. And these Bruins aren’t the Capitals.

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