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Recap: Bruins Keep Rolling, Beat Rangers 3-1

The Bruins are inevitable.

NHL: Boston Bruins at New York Rangers Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Kreider returned to the Rangers Thursday night, which was fortuitous timing, as the Blueshirts hosted the Boston Bruins. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to top the league’s best team.

The Bruins struck early, when Pavel Zacha redirected a rare David Kreji slapper up and over the shoulder of Igor Shesterkin. While it’s hard to blame Shesterkin for not getting to the deflection, his misguided attempt to clear the zone led to the shot attempt. The Rangers responded with a solid three minutes of offensive zone time, but eventually Kreider and Adam Fox took penalties within 20 seconds of each other to put Boston on a five-on-three for a minute forty-two. But the Rangers came up with a huge kill that included a big save on Charlie Coyle in front of the crease. The Rangers gained momentum, but despite a powerplay of their own, they ended the period down one.

The Bruins added to their lead in the second. Matt Grzelcyk hit Craig Smith with a stretch pass that seemed to catch multiple Rangers flat-footed. This led to Brad Marchand centering Patrice Bergeron for a high wrister from range. It wasn’t a particularly high-danger chance, but Smith snowed Shesterkin as Bergeron released the puck. The Rangers played well in the second and created some decent chances, including a breakaway by Artemi Panarin, but Jeremy Swayman was excellent in net.

https://twitter.com/NHLBruins/status/1616243034793852929

Keeping up the pattern, the Bruins scored early in the third. Connor Clifton, fresh from the penalty box, was set up by Brad Marchand on a two-on-one to extend the lead to three.

rom there, the Bruins put on a defensive clinic, bottling up the Rangers attack. Eventually the Rangers did get on the board, thanks to… Ben Harpur? Ben Harpur. Wow. Okay. He scored his first goal since 2018 (!) on a screened wrister. Of all the players on the Rangers, Ben Harpur certainly is one of them, and he now has more goals in his Rangers career than Sammy Blais does. I don’t know how to feel about any of this. The Rangers pulled their goalie and pinned Boston in their zone, but the game ended 3-1.

verall, it wasn’t a terrible effort by the Rangers. They played a pretty even game in terms of xG, but Boston, frankly, is just too much. There is very little margin for error against the Bruins, and the Rangers’ lackluster start to each period was enough. Congrats to Harpur though.

The Rangers have another Atlantic Division matchup on Monday against Marc Staal and the Florida Panthers.