Just 48 hours after the New York Rangers handed it to the Boston Bruins, the Bruins returned the favor this afternoon with a 4-1 win at Madison Square Garden. The game started off rocky for the Rangers with Alexandar Georgiev leaving the game, and then returning from concussion protocol later in the second period. This certainly wasn’t the Bruins team we saw on Friday night, and they returned to form with a solid defensive effort against the Rangers.
Charlie Coyle (4) - David Pastrnak (8) & Charlie McAvoy (12) - 6:41
The game was fairly even by both teams in the opening minutes, however, a scrum in front of the Rangers’ net let to some unfortunate outcomes. Just prior to the goal. Nick Ritchie wound up falling right on top of Alexandar Georgiev’s as he was battling for the loose puck. Georgiev was shaken up as a result of the collision, and despite heading to the bench for repairs, he remained in the game. A few moments after the collision, Charlie Coyle flew down the left side of the net, made a great move around K’Andre Miller, and flipped the puck under the crossbar. Almost immediately after the goal, concussion spotters summoned Georgiev to the locker room so he could go through the appropriate protocols.
Trent Frederic (2) - Connor Clifton (3) & Jack Studnicka (2) - 18:14
New York continued to play the Bruins strong in both zones, but it would the Bruins who doubled up their lead with under two minutes remaining. Connor Clifton started the play off with a calm move at the blue line and stepped into the middle of the ice. Clifton was able to throw a shot on goal that wound up being deflected by Trent Frederic at the top of the crease. Igor Shesterkin, who was still in the game at the moment, was unable to locate the puck through traffic and Boston took a 2-0 lead in this game.
Charlie McAvoy (3) - David Pastrnak (9) & Brad Marchand (13) - 10:20
With the Rangers still looking to sustain any sort of extended zone time, the Bruins jumped out to a commanding 3-0 lead just past the halfway mark of the second period. Following several reversals just inside the blue line, the Bruins were able to open up a shooting lane, and David Pastrnak fed the puck back across to Charlie McAvoy. The Long Island native made the most of the opportunity and wired a slap shot just inside the left post. A perfectly placed screen in front never allowed Georgiev to see the shot, and the Rangers found themselves down by three goals.
Colin Blackwell (5) - Alexis Lafrenière (2) & K’Andre Miller (4) - 10:47
It took the Rangers nearly 50 minutes to get on the scoreboard, but at last, they made it a 3-1 game courtesy of Colin Blackwell. The play started with a great outlet pass by K’Andre Miller to Alexis Lafrenière, who broke into the zone with speed. With the Bruins’ defenders backing off the line, Lafrenière laid a soft overlap pass to Colin Blackwell as they entered the zone. Blackwell was able to walk all the way down the slot uncontested, and fired a shot over the shoulder of Tuukka Rask. It gave the Rangers some life late in the game as they looked to make a comeback bid.
Charlie Coyle (5) - Unassisted ENG - 18:05
Craig Smith gave the Rangers a huge power play opportunity late in the game after he was sent off for an unsportsmanlike penalty. Needing at least two goals to tie, the Rangers elected to pull their goaltender but the hope didn’t last very long. With under two minutes remaining in regulation, Charlie Coyle was able to force a turnover and ice the game with an empty net goal.
Obviously Friday night was an encouraging sign, but today is a reminder that the Rangers are still icing a lineup that doesn’t include Artemiy Panarin, Filip Chytil and Jacob Trouba. The Bruins have been one of the better teams in the league thus far, and they showed that no matter the circumstances, they can turn it up another level. Overall, the offense didn’t nearly get enough chances to make it a game, and sometimes that’s just the way it goes.
Following this afternoon’s loss, the Rangers will have an opportunity to rebound as they welcome the Buffalo Sabres into Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night.