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Staying Alive!

Entering into the second round of the playoffs, the Rangers most likely did not expect to be trailing the Bruins in the series 3-0 upon completion of game 3. This Blueshirt squad, however, is no stranger to comebacks and being under the gun to muster out a win. Game 4 proved to be one of those times when the Rangers did what it took to slice the Boston Bruins series lead to 2 games.

It seemed as though game 4 might end up much like the other prior three games, with the Bruins appearing to get the opportunities to capitalize early on and improving their lead to two goals.

While the first period was a messy one for the boys in blue, it seemed as though the Blueshirts came out with more punch and energy in the second and third periods. At 8:39 in the second period Carl Hagelin, able to beat the Bruins defense, made a quick attempt at the net where Tuukka Rask found himself caught up. Rask fell down and watched Hagelin’s trickling shot sliding across the goal line. The Bruins lead was cut to 1.

The third period began, and the Blueshirts knew that this could either be their rallying period or the last 20 minutes of this shortened condensed season. The Rangers answered the rallying call just 1:15 into the third. Derek Stepan picked the puck off the Bruins defensemen, Zdeno Chara, and made a quick wrap around play catching Rask off guard. Stepan was able to get inside of Chara coming around the net and cashed in to tie the game at 2.

The Bruins would come knocking, when Tyler Seguin, at 8:06 in the third, capitalized on the power play opportunity. Hamilton got the puck off to Chara at the blue line, Chara slid to the center of the Blue line and dished the puck off to Seguin at the left point. Seguin made a quick pass to Dougie Hamilton after receiving the puck for a set up pass. Hamilton got the puck back to Seguin who shot and stayed with his rebound to up the Bruins lead to 3-2.

Chris Kreider #20 and Ryan Callahan #24 of the New York Rangers celebrate after Kreider scored the game-winning goal in overtime to give the Rangers a 4-3 win against the Boston Bruins in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on May 23, 2013 in New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Chris Kreider #20 and Ryan Callahan #24 of the New York Rangers celebrate after Kreider scored the game-winning goal in overtime to give the Rangers a 4-3 win against the Boston Bruins in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on May 23, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Blueshirts had no time to lose with just 10 minutes left in regulation. The Rangers were mid-way through a power play opportunity, when Derek Stepan found Brian Boyle in the high slot. Boyle fired a shot past Rask to tie the game at 3.

Regulation time ended and the Rangers and Bruins found themselves in yet another overtime endeavor.

In the past overtime attempts, the Rangers seemed to fall to exhaustion and the depth of the Bruins lineup, but not this time.

At 7:03 second Chris Kreider found a way to keep the Blueshirts alive and able to fight on in game 5 in Boston. It began with a faceoff win by Derek Stepan in the defensive zone, the Rangers got the puck quickly off to Rick Nash, and Kreider wasted no time putting on the jets. Nash and Kreider headed into the offensive zone. Nash stopped at the top of the right circle and found Kreider who with continued with speed towards the net and drove the puck past Rask’s left shoulder.

The Rangers found the resiliency to battle back from a 2-0 deficit, and even more so from a 3-0 series deficit. The Blueshirts, able to capitalize on Bruins’ mistakes, cashed in on offensive opportunities and mustered out a win to hold on to extend the series to game 5.

Interesting to note, Brad Richards was a healthy scratch Thursday night. While Richards has struggled offensively in majority of the shortened condensed season, and in this playoff run, his coach was still quick to defend him.

“By no means is this a situation when I take him out that I’m blaming him,” Tortorella said of Richards, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2004 when Tortorella coached the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Stanley Cup. “I’m playing Brad on the fourth line, he’s playing seven or eight minutes, it’s not good for him. It doesn’t work playing Brad Richards that way, but I also feel some other guys have played better so that’s where he is right now in our lineup.” (NHL.com)

New York Rangers' Chris Kreider acknowledges the crowd after he scored the winning goal during the overtime period in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals in the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. Source: Associated Press/Seth Wenig
New York Rangers’ Chris Kreider acknowledges the crowd after he scored the winning goal during the overtime period in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals in the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Source: Associated Press/Seth Wenig

Richards has had one goal and is a minus-3 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Tortorella feels it is not a reflection on this seasoned veteran, it is a reflection on the circumstances of game 4 and the need to change things up to spark some life in a Rangers squad in desperate need of a win.

“So, none of you, don’t put words in my mouth — it’s not blaming Brad Richards,” Tortorella continued. “I’ve already heard enough of that [stuff] already as far as this is concerned. He’s a hell of a hockey player that’s having a hell of a time. I need to make decisions for what I feel is right for the team to win tonight’s game, and that’s why I made that decision.” (NHL.com)

The Blueshirts will look to hold on and stay alive in game 5 at the TD Garden in Boston Saturday at 5:30 p.m. (ET).

Kaitlin Sullivan

Kaitlin Sullivan

Massachusetts native, and avid hockey fanatic, I grew up in a "hockey family" and began spending countless hours in frigid hockey rinks beginning at age 2. I eat, sleep, breathe, and love every aspect of the game and I have always known that hockey was my passion. Unfortunately being a 5'5" female, however, would not grant me a place in the show. The next best thing would be writing and hopefully someday becoming a rink-side NHL reporter. My past reporting experience includes work with ESPNU Campus Connection, WHDH Channel 7 Boston, and Madison Square Garden Network. I am currently a sports broadcasting major at Boston College. Twitter: @kaitEsull
Kaitlin Sullivan

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