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May 17, 2013

Where's the blood and guts?

Maybe good, hard-nosed hockey will have to do in this matchup

BOSTON — About 17,700 of us attended a good old-fashioned Boston-New York, Original Six, no-holds-barred, shoe-smacking, blood bath here last night.

And a January game against Columbus Blue Jackets broke out.

OK, it wasn’t that bad. Heck, any time you get an overtime, better yet a dominating overtime win by the Bruins, 3-2, you chalk it up as a big day. But it also wasn’t anywhere near the fight-for-every-playoff-inch we expected from these two alleged physical and proud franchises.

Maybe it was one of those typical first rounds at a prize fight. A bunch of ducks and dekes, a few counter-punches and zero haymakers.

It was remarkable. Pucks were smothered by both goalies and everybody basically held hands in front of the net, praying for good health. There was no pushing and no shoving. It reminded me of a beer league game on Wednesday nights.

If a Toronto Maple Leaf was within five feet of Tuukka Rask, a jab was delivered.

Where was the beef?

“Both teams are coming off a Game 7 win,” said Rangers defenseman Anton Stralman. “It really was a tight game between two tough teams. The game did pick up.”

Well, yes, it did finally pick up ... in overtime. At least it did in the end where Rangers’ goalie Henrik Lundqvist manned the net. The Bruins got a power play just 2:20 into overtime when Derek Dorsett was called for interference. The Bruins ran off seven shots on goal, each one better than the other (including one off the post), as the Rangers defenders went into a shell in front of Lundqvist and let the Bruins own most of those 2 minutes.

“They gained a lot of momentum on that power play (in OT),” said Rangers forward Ryan Callahan.

The Bruins got off eight more shots (16 overall in 15:40), with the last one, a tip-in by Brad Marchand off a centering pass by Mr. Overtime, Patrice Bergeron, through Lundqvist’s legs.

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