Apparently Bruins management has never brought in Alec Baldwin's character from the movie Glengary Glen Ross to give the team the ABC speech, because they suck at closing…
So if you're a Rangers fan holding on to hope that your beloved Blueshirts can actually make a run at history by coming back from a 0-3 deficit, it actually might not be as far fetched as you think.
According to Scott Barboza at ESPN.com the Bruins have posted a 6-11 record in their last 17 playoff games (includes their epic 3-0 collapse to the Flyers in 2010) in which they can close out a series, including 1-3 in such instances this year, following Thursday's overtime loss to the Rangers.
And the biggest culprit for that record seems to be Tuukka Rask who is 2-8, with a 3.50 gaa and .890 sv% in close out games. To put that in perspective, in non-close out games he's 12-2 with a 1.98 gaa and .936 sv%.
Jesus, Rask has a worse time closing than Armando Benitez in Game 1 of the 2000 Subway Series.
Here's Rask on what the Bruins need to do to buck that trend…
"When teams are facing elimination, it's kind of a screw this, let's go out there and play attitude. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. We just need to match the desperation level of the team we're facing and not being too tight and squeezing our sticks too tight and just playing the game."
Conversely, the Rangers have become deft at staying alive as they're 6-1 in their last seven playoffs games in which they faced elimination.
And the biggest reason for the Rangers survival is none other than Henrik Lundqvist who sports a 5‑0 record with a 0.98 goals-against average, a .966 save percentage and two shutouts in his last five home playoff games when facing elimination.
Here's Ryan Callahan on why the Rangers have been so good in elimination games (via Bergen Record)…
“I guess it’s just a sense of desperation and I think it shows the character we have in this room and a willingness to go out there and work and battle and not give in.”
John Tortorella added…
“I don’t think our team gives. We’ve done some good things there. I go back to the first series, just winning two in a row to win that series. That’s something, you try to hang your hat on I guess. I’m not a real big believer in it, I think every game is a different situation. But our team doesn’t give. Listen we were ugly the first part of (Game 4), we end up finding ourselves after a flukey game. I think we played better. Bottom line is, all is forgiven, you don’t go back and dissect it, you won a game to keep yourself alive and that’s what we have to look to now. Just win a game, it’s in Boston.”
…it's no secret that I gave this Rangers team no chance at winning this series when they got down 0-3. But I've got to tell you, after Thursday night's win along with the above stats, I'm starting to think the Rangers have a legit chance of, at the very least, getting this series to a Game 7.
…and if all this doesn't have you fired up for tonight's game, this video surely will…