“It was unbelievable,” said Krug, who had 13 goals and 45 points for Providence. “I felt very comfortable coming in a sense that they were giving me the puck all night and they weren’t nervous in that regard, so it was very exciting to get out there. I was able to help the team, so I’m very happy.”
Mix and match
Krug was part of a defensive unit that featured three players who entered the semifinal opener with a total of six games playoff experience. Joining Krug, who paired up with Adam McQuaid, were Hamilton (three games) and Matt Bartkowski (two), who were paired with Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk, respectively. The trio of neophytes have been pressed into action with injuries to veterans Andrew Ference (48 career playoff games), Dennis Seidenberg (46) and Wade Redden (29).
Krug followed the lead of Bartkowski, who also scored his first NHL goal in the playoffs, knocking home a shot in Boston’s Game 7 win over Toronto in the quarters. Meanwhile, Hamilton, record his first playoff point with his assist on Krug’s goal.
“They were awesome,” Boston goalie Tuukka Rask said of the young blueliners. “They were skating real well and making all the right plays.”
A rivalry of their own
Unlike the baseball playoffs in which Boston has squared off against New York many times in recent memory, last night marked the first time the Bruins and Rangers have faced off in the postseason in 43 years. In that previous meeting, the Rangers defeated the Bruins in Game 5 of the 1973 quarterfinals. Boston has won six of the previous nine playoff series between the teams, and the Bruins entered this year’s matchup with a 22-18-2 edge in playoff games.
“It’s going to be a tough fought series,” said Rask, who stopped 33 shots. “But it really isn’t that huge kind of rivalry.”