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PHOTO CREDITS: (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: TD Garden – Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Home: Boston Bruins (27-16-5)

Away: New York Rangers (20-20-7)

The Bruins and Rangers meet for the first time of the 2018-19 season and it happens to have some large implications for the Bruins. The B’s are in a tight race in the Eastern Conference standings, only one point behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for second place in the Atlantic Division, but are tied with the Montreal Canadiens for the first Wild-Card position.

The Rangers are coming off of two big wins as of late – beating the Hurricanes and Blackhawks this week. The Rangers are eleven points out of the playoff race but with a few wins in a row, they could find themselves moving up the lineup into somewhat contending.

Bruins Morning Rushes:

Head Coach Bruce Cassidy announced that F Ryan Donato and D John Moore are the healthy scratches while F Noel Acciari and D Matt Grzelcyk are back in the lineup for the Bruins.

First Period:

Right off the bat, Noel Acciari gets hit by Chris Kreider that looked to be on the numbers and on the first shift, about 15 seconds in, Acciari heads to the room. Acciari looked a bit dazed as his head hit the glass. No penalty on the play.

However, Boston would get a power-play 1:03 into the frame off of a holding minor against Rangers forward Jesper Fast. Brad Marchand would make a turnover at the Rangers blueline, creating a shorthanded odd-man rush for New York, but Rask stays solid and shuts the door. Even with the continuous faceoff wins by Patrice Bergeron, the Bruins cannot get many good scoring chances and the game goes back 5-on-5.

With 13:41 remaining in the period, the Bruins would draw another penalty. Jake DeBrusk used great forecheck to find David Krejci in the middle of the ice. He would dangle around the Rangers defenceman but took a stick up high from former Bruins prospect Ryan Lindgren. Boston heads to a four-minute power-play because of it.

The Bruins power-play had a bit of everything. Some great chances involving DeBrusk and Pastrnak that either missed the net or was stopped by Lundqvist. However, the Rangers had a couple shorthanded chances that were shut down by Rask but Boston needs to be better on the man-advantage to not allow chances against. Nonetheless, New York killed off the power-play successfully.

At the T.V. timeout, the Bruins show a video tribute for Adam McQuaid who makes his return to Boston in a Rangers uniform tonight. He waves at the crowd.

The tensions rise with about seven minutes to go as DeAngelo takes a hit at Marchand before the whistle, followed by a sucker punch and a small scrum ensues before the linesmen separate the players. Original Six teams seem to always carry that rivalry.

The line of Backes, Forsbacka Karlsson and Heinen have a great shift including some tremendous board play by Forsbacka Karlsson who finds Danton Heinen who buries it past Lundqvist. His sixth of the season. 1-0 Bruins.

Later on, Filip Chytil rushes hard towards the net, firing it past Rask short side, but then collides hard with Rask’s head. The Bruins starting goaltender stays on the ice for a long time with no moving. Both benches tap their sticks as McAvoy and Pastrnak help Rask down to the tunnel. Jaroslav Halak comes in with 1:28 to go in the period. 1-1.

Cannot blame Chytil on this play as Bruins d-man Charlie McAvoy was in the way. With that said, can’t blame McAvoy either as he was where he was supposed to be. Sometimes this happens when the game becomes as fast has it has.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 10 NYR: 7

Score: 1-1 – Goals: Heinen (6) Assisted by Forsbacka Karlsson (6), Chytil (9) Unassisted

Second Period:

Evidentally without Tuukka Rask on the Bruins bench, the Bruins start off the period with an immediate penalty against. Patrice Bergeron heads to the box on a high-sticking minor and Boston has to go shorthanded for two minutes. The Rangers had minimal shots on Halak on the man-advantage and the Bruins successfully kill it off.

5:22 into the second, Mika Zibanejad continues his hot streak of now eight points in five games and tips the puck past Halak, making it 2-1 Rangers. Halak got a piece of the deflection but it trickles past. The Bruins give up a lead at home once again and they’ll have to fight back from a deficit.

The crowd at TD Garden engaged in “Let’s Go Rangers!” and “Let’s Go Bruins!” chants. These Original Six rivalries will always have a special place in many hearts and no matter how the game goes, all generations have an extra passion when they are fans for an Original Six franchise.

Bruins first line continues to make things happen in this game as they have a tendency of doing while on the ice together. Brad Marchand made some nice moves around the Rangers defencemen but can’t get a shot off the wrap-around shot. As soon as the puck left the New York zone, Pastrnak and Marchand entered again – looking for a scoring opportunity that did not end up happening.

On an extended zone play by the Rangers, a Ranger forward is handed a solid pass right in front of Halak, but Halak moves laterally to make a big pad stop. Bruins need Jaro to be hot again if Rask does not return after the break.

During the game on the Rangers broadcast, Tuukka Rask will not return, as expected, due to a concussion. In the meantime, New York manages to hold the Bruins in their own zone for over half a minute once again. The Bruins need to be better at getting the puck and getting out of the zone. Too much of the last two minutes have looked like a power-play for NYR when it has been at even strength. 6:57 to go in the frame.

With 6:18 left to tick away, Matt Grzelcyk is called on a slashing minor and the Bruins go to the penalty-kill once again. Only 16 seconds in, Brad Marchand tries to cut sharp towards Lundqvist, drawing a tripping penalty by Shattenkirk. 4-on-4 coming for 1:44.

Not many chances by Boston for the rest of the frame, Sean Kuraly did have a one-timer while moving backwards but was gloved easily by Lundqvist. The line of Wagner, Acciari, Kuraly keep building chances by pressuring the net often.

Overall, a lacklustre period for the Bruins. Not many good passes and almost zero high-quality shots. Quite honestly lucky to only be down 2-1 at the end of two periods.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 16 NYR: 14

Score: 2-1 Rangers – Goals: Zibanejad (16) Assisted by Skjei (11) and Zuccarello (11)

Third Period:

The Bruins opened up the third period with a goal, Brad Marchand is found open in the slot after a negated icing. Pastrnak and Bergeron pick up assists on the play.

Right after the goal, the Rangers get a great opportunity, but Halak makes a tremendous save. If that goes in, momentum is gone and the game is right back in New York’s hand. The Bruins have looked a lot better in this final regulation period might I add. They have had some solid shots including a partial breakaway by Heinen that is shut down by Lundqvist.

Just over eight minutes into the frame, a saucer pass from Ryan Strome is lifted up over the glass by Zdeno Chara and it’s a delay of game penalty, Bruins to the penalty-kill. 1:02 into the man-advantage, Mika Zibanejad fires a wide-open wrist shot that beats Halak high short-side. Zibanejad’s second goal of the game and ninth point in his last five games. Assists go to Shattenkirk and Zuccarello.

Without much action, Charlie McAvoy fires a bomb towards the net and Lundqvist head-butts the puck into the stands. Boston didn’t have much screening in front of Henrik, something that needs to change in the final minutes of this hockey game.

In the final five minutes, Chris Wagner levels Jesper Fast with a massive, but clean hit with the shoulder on the chest. In response, former Bruin Adam McQuaid came back to fight Wagner to protect his player. Wagner did not throw a single punch and the Bruins are off to the power-play because of it. McQuaid gets two penalties for roughing, Chris Kreider serves in the box. Bruins can’t score on it, however.

The Bruins don’t get many more chances and lose 3-2 the final score. Boston now headed to a nine-day break and will resume play on January 29th against Winnipeg.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 29 NYR: 20

Final Score: 3-2 Rangers

Max’s Three Stars

1st Star: NYR F Mika Zibanejad – 2 Goals, 2 Shots, 20:18 TOI

2nd Star: NYR G Henrik Lundqvist*- 27 Saves, .931 SV%

3rd Star: NYR F Mats Zuccarello – 2 Assists, +1 Rating, 3 Shots

*Henrik Lundqvist now has sole possession of 6th place on the NHL all-time wins list, passing Terry Sawchuk with 446th career win.

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