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Playoffs 2013 Bruins defence depleted for opener of Rangers series

Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2013 | 01:28 PM

Categories: BOS vs NYR, Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, Playoffs 2013

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Dougie Hamilton is one of the rookie blue-liners the Bruins are counting on to pick up the slack for three injured regulars. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) Dougie Hamilton is one of the rookie blue-liners the Bruins are counting on to pick up the slack for three injured regulars. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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The Bruins were expected to be without three regular defencemen -- Andrew Ference, Dennis Seidenberg and Wade Redden -- for Game 1 against the New York Rangers on Thursday night in Boston.
By Jay Greenberg, Special to CBC Sports

The Bruins were expected to be without three regular defencemen -- Andrew Ference, Dennis Seidenberg and Wade Redden -- for Game 1 against the New York Rangers on Thursday night in Boston.

"It doesn't look good," said Claude Julien after the morning skate, which winger Brad Marchand left in a hunched-over state with an undisclosed injury not deemed a problem by the coach.

"He'll be fine," said Julien about Marchand.

Still, it will be a rookie-laden defence for the Bruins for however long the "day-to-day" problems of Ference, Seidenberg and Redden last.

The kids -- Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski and Torey Krug -- are all well-regarded prospects, and Bartkowski and Hamilton played well in Game 7 of the Toronto series.

"I thought they handled themselves really well, especially with five Ds [after Seidenberg was unable to continue early in the second period]," said Julien. "There's guys that have walked into a team and done extremely well because they just go out there and play.

"That's what I encouraged our guys to do: I don't want them to feel the pressure. We know our players well enough that we know what they're capable of bringing."

Hamilton apparently will be paired with Zdeno Chara, Bartkowski with Johnny Boychuk, and Krug with Adam McQuaid.

Rangers switching it up?

Whether it was for show, or for real, the Rangers have had new defence pairs at practice, probably intended to contend with Boston's deeper scoring depth than what the Rangers faced against Washington.

Ryan McDonagh -- no longer with Dan Girardi in the pairing that flummoxed Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson -- was with Anton Stralman while Girardi skated with Michael De Zotto. John Moore and Steve Eminger were the third pair.

Marc Staal (blurred vision) was not on the ice again, a sign that he is not close to returning in this series. Ryane Clowe and Darroll Powe, both injured during the Washington series, did not skate either.

Not 'Nash'ing his teeth

Rick Nash has yet to score a goal in the playoffs but John Tortorella insists it has nothing to do with any mounting pressure.

"I think higher-end guys are higher-end guys because they want the pressure, want the responsibility," said the coach. "For a team, it helps when your second- and third-line guys contribute as ours did [against Washington] but for the top-end guys I don't think it takes any pressure off them, they want to be the person who makes a difference."

Jags and Hank

Eight years ago, the rookie Henrik Lundqvist and the veteran Jaromir Jagr combined to key the Rangers' revival, leading the franchise to the post-season for the first time in eight seasons.

"He's such a special player, I'm nappy I had the opportunity to play with him," said Lundqvist. "To play with one of the best ever to play the game, that's a lot of fun and he's such a nice person too.

"I'm happy he's back in the league."

The respect is mutual.

"He doesn't make many mistakes," said Jagr of Lundqvist. "As he goes, the team goes, it's always been like that. Even when I was there, he was the most important guy on our team."

History dept.

This is the first Bruins-Rangers series since 1973, when New York avenged its loss in the previous year's final by winning in five. The Bruins have won six of the nine series played between the teams since they were founded (the Bruins in 1924, the Rangers two years later).

By the way, we refuse to use the term "Original Six" as there is no such thing. The NHL was founded with four franchises in 1917.

Recent history dept.

The Rangers won the season series, 2-1, with the Bruins' win coming on opening night at Madison Square Garden.

Something has to give. Or maybe not.

The Rangers were a seemingly unsurvivable 2-for-28 on the power play in the first round. The Bruins were 3-for-20 -- no way to win a round either.

Amazing grace(less) dept.

Tortorella refused to answer a question Thursday morning about growing up in the Boston area.

"Ask me about my team," he said.

Lines and defence pairings

New York Rangers

Nash-Brassard-Zuccarello
Hagelin-Stepan-Callahan
Pyatt-Boyle-Dorsett
Kreider-Richards-Asham

McDonagh-Stralman
Girardi-Del Zotto
Eminger-Moore

Goalie: Lundqvist

Bruins

Horton-Krejci-Lucic
Marchand-Bergeron-Jagr
Peverley-Kelly-Seguin
Paille-Campbell-Thornton

Chara-Hamilton
Bartkowski-Boychuk
Krug-McQuaid

Goalie: Rask

Follow Jay Greenberg on Twitter @ScribeJG.

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