Daniel Paille (left) and Shawn Thornton celebrated on the Madison Square Garden ice as they helped the Bruins to a 2-1 victory in Game 3. (AP)
NESN Bruins analyst Barry Pederson joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to break down the B’s 2-1 victory over the Rangers in Tuesday night’s Game 3.
Pederson said he was surprised that there wasn’t more of a sense of urgency from the Rangers, who now are in a 3-0 series hole.
“We didn’t see the desperation from New York,” Pederson said. “I thought the Bruins, right from the opening faceoff, kind of took the crowd right out of the game. They had two or three really good shifts in that first period, didn’t allow the Rangers to get any momentum. [The Rangers] only had 24 shots on net, they had two power plays; the Bruins didn’t have any, outshot them 34-24.
“The Bruins for the most part did a really good job of not allowing New York any sustained pressure on them. It looked to me like the Bruins were much more under control and forceful out there than the New York Rangers were.”
Added Pederson: “[The Rangers] look tired to me. They look physically drained, mentally drained. … A lot of these guys look like they’ve hit the wall. But again, I think by doing that, you’re taking away some of the credit that the Bruins deserve. They really went out there with four lines — especially that fourth line last night — and they just wear you down.”
One of the key moments in the game came when Shawn Thornton took Brad Marchand‘s spot on the ice and confronted Rangers forward Derek Dorsett, who had been harassing Marchand.
“One of the more important shifts may have been the one where [Thornton] comes on, when Dorsett’s trying to suck Marchand into a penalty, physically kind of manhandle him a little bit and try to get him off the ice because Marchand’s been such a good player for them in this series,” Pederson said. “And the faceoff right by the bench, you can see Marchand gets kind of yelled at, I’m sure it’s Claude [Julien] just said: Hey, come over here. Shawn Thornton hops on the ice and goes right over to Dorsett and says: Hey, listen, you’re not going to do that.
“Once Shawn proved his point, he went off and Marchand came right back on. And I thought from that moment on, you could see the physicality also with [Milan] Lucic‘s hit on [Anton] Stralman, who never returned after that big forecheck hit. You could kind of see the momentum shift, and the Bruins just took over.”
Added Pederson: “I played on a lot of big, physical teams over the years. I remember Wayne Cashman would always say with guys that felt bad after maybe they came off and didn’t get the upper hand in a fight or something, he’d say: Hey, listen, I don’t care how many you win. What we care about is how many you show up for. That shows everybody else on the bench. And that’s why it was so important for Shawn Thornton to go out there and say: Hey, listen, you’re not pushing around our little guys. That’s not going to happen. He is a valuable part of our team. If you want to go, let’s you and I go right now.
“As soon as he doesn’t do that, the Bruins on the bench go: Aha, OK, we can see what you’re made of. And from that moment on you can see the emotion shift drastically in either direction. … I really thought from that moment on you could kind of see the Bruins say: Exactly, we know that we have you now. We know that you won’t take on our physically tough guys.”
Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.
On what he expected from the Rangers and Bruins before the series started: “I thought New York was going to be deeper and more physical. I thought they’d create more offense. And, remember on the Bruins’ side, we weren’t sure what we were going to see from three rookie defensemen. Then we said, OK, it was two good home games, let’s see how they hold up in this hostile environment in New York. Well, I didn’t see any breakdowns. Sure, they had a couple of defensive miscues like you’re going to have, that’s part of the game. But the ice was really bad last night, you could see [the puck] bouncing around, guys were having a tough time controlling it.
“Boy, I think these three rookie defensemen have provided the Bruins an element that they desperately needed, which was, again, that attack mode, that transition mode, that speed mode that all of sudden puts the Bruins, instead of being back on their heels, now they put the Rangers back on their heels. Then you start to see how it kind of filters through the team. All of a sudden you see Adam McQuaid in there, he’s pushing the puck up as well, he’s getting deep into the Rangers zone. I think this has shown the team that they have an element that they haven’t used, and that when they do use it, they become an even much more effective team.”
On the abysmal Rangers power play: “When the power play was as bad as it was last night, not only do you not score goals, but like we’ve been talking about all year long, you just suck all the momentum out of the building. The offensive players that are out there, they don’t feel good about themselves coming out for the next couple of shifts.
“[NBC Sports analyst] Pierre McGuire went off on them. I thought he did a good job of pointing out the lack of puck pursuit, the lack of urgency and desperation. When you’re on the power play you have to work the penalty-killers as well, and they just weren’t there.”