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The good, bad and ugly of Game 4

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  May 23, 2013 07:13 PM

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Beware: It's going to be a busy day for those among us who find satisfaction in harping on harbingers.

You probably knew that. But an extra warning never hurts in matters such as trying to maintain your sanity in a world of piping-hot sports takes.

Oh, the of-course-I'm-worried-aren't-you? caterwauling will be in full eardrum-puncturing effect in the immediate aftermath of the Bruins' 4-3 overtime loss to the Rangers Thursday night.

Never mind that the Bruins lead the series, 3-1, with a chance to close it out at home Saturday against a Rangers team that saved some face Thursday night but has looked the part of the inferior team for much of this series.

The easy narrative today is that – let me make sure I get this straight – there were quasi-relevant reminders of past Bruins failures in Game 4, which means that more bad things must be ahead and history will probably repeat itself.

Do I have that right? It's just that ridiculous, right?

Hey, I do suppose those harbingers, with all their loose connections to history and reality, are there if you want to spend time looking for them. The Rangers scored their third and tying goal at the midpoint of the third period on a power play after the Bruins were whistled for too many men on the ice.

It was a foolish, costly penalty, and it assured Brian Boyle, who scored the goal, of hearing his name mentioned in the same breath as Guy Lafleur's today ...

... even though the magnitude of the moments are not even close.

Then there's the fact that the Bruins lost Game 4 in overtime – which just happened to be the case three years ago in Game 4 against the Flyers. The Flyers, as you may hear a time or two, came back to win the series in 7.

Did you just shiver in fear? You shivered in fear, didn't you? It was definitely a fear shiver.

Even the recent fate of the Providence Bruins is being cited as an ominous sign for the parent club. In case you missed it, they recently blew a 3-0 series lead to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Schrutes Penguins in the AHL Playoffs.

The kids are taking after the parents! We learned it from you, Dad!

Actually, I'm going to say the real reason Providence fell apart is because Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski were called up to the big-boy playoffs, where they have starred. It's not a choke thing so much as it is an attrition thing. You know, sort of like the Bruins-Flyers series three years ago, when David Krejci got busted up in Game 3 and Simon Gagne healed and everything changed.

So far as I can tell, the Bruins survived Game 4 Thursday without significant injury to anything but their goalie's ego – you could spend the weekend watching every game at Hockey Town USA in Saugus and you won't see a softer goal than the first one Tuukka Rask allowed Thursday.

They're fine, and they will be fine.

Last night's loss was the essence of playoff hockey. The margin between victory and defeat is thinner than the blue line. You need bounces and fortunate breaks. It's what makes it so great, and alternately so tense.

But the harbinger stuff? C'mon. None of that has anything to do with anything, unless the Bruins allow it to. And they won't. You know them. They're just upping their degree of difficulty as usual.

Like any hockey game, there's was plenty of good, bad, and ugly in Game 4. Let's slowly step away from the panic button and sort it all out.


Good: It took way too long – the 49th minute of the 11th postseason game – but Tyler Seguin finally scored his first goal of the Stanley Cup playoff. He executed a textbook give-and-go with Dougie Hamilton, then pounced on his own rebound to give the Bruins a short-lived 3-2 lead in the third period. Loved Seguin's reaction after scoring – he sucker-punched the glass behind the net, which surely scared the hell out of some New York junk bond trader who was sitting in the front row ... What else is there to say about Torey Krug other than that I'm entirely buying in? He scored the Bruins' second goal with a rocket from the high slot that completely baffled Henrik Lundqvist, who has to be the kid's biggest believer at this point. Krug, who plays with such remarkable poise given that he's appeared in exactly as many games in this series (4) as he had during his entire NHL career leading up to it, nearly got a go-ahead goal past Lundqvist with just under four minutes remaining. The offense reminds you of Greg Hawgood, but the defense is much, much better. He's going to be here for a while, folks. What a revelation.

Bad: Well, we've touched on most of it already ... It should be noted that it was an up-and-down night for Hamilton, who flashed his talent with the assist to Seguin but was outmaneuvered and outmuscled by Chris Kreider on the winning goal in overtime. He's just not strong enough yet to play with the necessary physicality. Come back soon, Dennis Seidenberg ... Zdeno Chara submitted an uncharacteristically sloppy and sluggish performance. Derek Stepan picked his pocket and scored the Rangers' second goal to tie it at 2-2 a little over a minute into the third period...

... a play that becomes more embarrassing the more you watch it. He looks like he could have benefited from the extra rest a sweep would have permitted ... So maybe Marc Savard's crystal ball isn't always accurate:

Hey, maybe it all was Brad Richards's fault after all. Good thing he has just seven years remaining on his $60 million deal.

Ugly: This, and this alone:

Rask, as you may have heard, is now 2-8 in closeout games. Four of those came in the Flyers series three years ago. He'll get his chance to exorcise that annoying ghost on Saturday and silence those who race to summon it after every aggravating loss.

One loss does nothing to convince me he won't be up to it, provided that he remembers how to stay upright.

About Touching All The Bases

Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.

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