Recap: Bruins Best Blueshirts, 4-2

This Bruins team is unreal.

The Rangers and Bruins both made big moves during trade season this year, and they faced off Saturday afternoon in Boston. With Lindgren, Miller, and Motte still out and the team not yet eligible for an emergency callup, the Rangers were forced to play with 16 skaters against one of the deepest, most complete line-ups assembled in the salary cap era.

First Period:

Boston created more chances than the Rangers in the first, but only had one goal in the final two minutes to show for it. Tyler Bertuzzi, making his Bruins debut was all over the scoring sequence, first with a perfectly placed cross-ice dump for Trent Frederic to retrieve, then by setting up Charlie Coyle with a quick pass from behind the net. Coyle was wide open, as Barclay Goodrow got caught puck watching, and he scored his eleventh goal of the season.

Second Period:

Bertuzzi was called for slashing late in the first, giving the Rangers 1:52 on the powerplay to start the second. After Patrick Kane coughed up the puck in the offensive zone, Boston had a two-on-one the other way. Igor Shesterkin made the initial save on Tomas Nosek, but Adam Fox lost the puck on the ensuing board play, and the Rangers were completely disorganized in the face of the Boston pressure. Nosek ended up with some space in front, completely fooled Shesterkin with a deke, and scored on the backhand.

The Rangers got another chance on the powerplay later in the period, and the second unit capitalized to draw them back within one. Jacob Trouba took a speculative shot from the center point, and Alexis Lafrenière tipped the puck ever so slightly for his thirteenth goal on the year, and second on the powerplay. Vladimir Tarasenko notched the secondary assist, extended his point streak to three.

Overall, the second period was by far the best the Rangers played.

Third Period:

The wheels came off during the third period, as Boston’s star players took over. Patrice Bergeron sniped home a wrister from the right circle from a corner pass from Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak finished a sequence of quick, tight passes from David Krejčí and Charlie McAvoy with a one-timer from the left.

The Rangers couldn’t get much else going, though Lafrenière’s second goal of a game, a wrister from a sharp angle, made things interesting for a moment. But it was too little too late, and 4-2 would be the final. Boston has now won 10 games in a row.

. . .

Given their opponent and the roster situation, the Rangers did okay here. A solid second period was flanked a rough first and third, but they kept the game close against the league’s best team while tired and short-staffed. Shesterkin made a few big saves, but still let in more than he should have. And it’s always nice to see Lafrenière get on the scoreboard.

Fortunately for the Rangers, they are off until Thursday, so they players will have a well-earned reprieve. Miller will certainly be back, and one can hope Lindgren and Motte will be too. Even if one or both are not, the Rangers should be able to make an emergency call up. Once they’re playing at full strength, then we can really start to evaluate if this squad can live up to its promise.