By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj
The Boston Bruins are back after a longer break than originally planned as two games were postponed due to COVID protocol. Before the four days off, the Bruins were winners their last time out, defeating the Philadelphia Flyers for the fourth time this season by a final score of 2-1. Boston remains atop the MassMutual East Division with 18 points in 11 games thus far.
The New York Rangers came into this season as one of the most intriguing clubs in the National Hockey League, but they have started their 2021 campaign on a bit of a rocky road. The Blueshirts sit in the basement of the MassMutual East Division with only ten points in now 11 games, but have taken home wins in two of their last three outings.
Arena: Madison Square Garden – New York City, New York, USA
Home: New York Rangers (4-5-2)
Away: Boston Bruins (8-1-2)
Bruins’ Last Game: 2-1 win vs PHI
Bruins’ Gameday Lineup:
Bruins will have Jake DeBrusk and Matt Grzelcyk back in the lineup after they missed the recent road trip due to injury.
This game started off with non-stop action. Just under seven minutes of straight back-and-forth hockey with no whistles. The Rangers had a 2-on-1 chance, but were unable to capitalize on the opportunity. Bruins need to have better control on the puck early on.
There has not been much zone time for either team thirteen minutes into the hockey game other than a short time for the David Krejci line who put a few shots towards goal, but nothing too dangerous and no rebound attempts. Rangers got a shot off the rush that Rask easily saved while standing.
With just about six minutes remaining, the Zibanejad line gets some high-quality chances to score, but some solid defensive plays from Rask and Jeremy Lauzon keep the puck out. Unfortunately, on the ensuing faceoff, the Bruins’ fourth line gets caught behind the net, Brendan Lemieux wins a board battle against Brandon Carlo, allowing him to send the puck to Julien Gauthier who buries it in the slot for his first career NHL goal. 1-0 Rangers.
4:13 on the clock and the Bruins head to the game’s first power-play. Chris Kreider engages on Jeremy Lauzon, but tripped him in the process. Rangers did a great job limiting chances and swarmed the Bruins man-advantage to kill off the penalty, back to even-strength.
Opening twenty minutes ends there. Not a great period for the Bruins as their flow of the game seemed off with many missed passes and struggling breakout. That said, they only trail 1-0 at the end of one.
Shots on Goal: BOS: 6 NYR: 6
Score: 1-0 Rangers – Goals: Gauthier (1) Assists: Lemieux (2)
Bruins off to a much better start to this period than the previous one. Numerous shots on Georgiev and looking good on the rush. Boston also slowing down the game and making the smarter passes instead of just throwing the puck up ice. Jake DeBrusk has looked pretty solid in his first game back as well, shooting the puck everywhere on the ice and staying aggressive on the Rangers defence.
Ryan Strome managed to get away from the Bruins defence on what seemed to be a partial breakaway, but Craig Smith one-hand slashes Strome and Boston goes to the penalty-kill. Rangers get a terrific scoring bid on a 2-on-1 with Zibanejad getting the shot – only for Tuukka Rask to make a spectacular glove save on the cross-crease.
Near the end of the penalty, Artemi Panarin turned the puck over to Chris Wagner while on the blueline as he attempted to keep the puck in the zone. Wagner attacks the loose puck, driving towards the Rangers’ zone before burying the equalizer past Georgiev shorthanded. Tie game.
Bruins get another power-play bid late in the second period. Right off the faceoff, David Pastrnak hits it off the post on a blistering shot. Seconds later, Marchand receives a pass from Pastrnak but Georgiev stands strong. New York fires back with a shorthanded chance of their own from Mika Zibanejad, but Rask continues to be on fire and makes the save.
A much-improved period of hockey for this Bruins team, but still not perfect. Too few scoring chances 5-on-5 and they had a couple of defensive lapses. Tuukka Rask is having a phenomenal game in net and is the reason it is tied with one more regulation period to go.
Shots on Goal: BOS: 25 NYR: 20
Score: 1-1 – Goals: Wagner (2) SHG Unassisted
Again, another solid start for the Bruins this period. Great work shutting down the Rangers’ breakout attempts and keeping shots away from Rask. Less than five minutes into the third, Jake DeBrusk takes a shot towards the goal that is slightly tipped, then hits the crossbar and appears to go in. DeBrusk celebrates, but after video review, it was determined to be a no goal. Can’t get much closer, but the game remains tied.
Continue pressure and the goals will come. Anders Bjork used great forecheck on Jacob Trouba in the Rangers’ zone, freed the puck and headed to the net. Meanwhile, Jake DeBrusk grabbed the puck behind the net and passed it to Bjork who buries it five-hole and the Bruins take the lead in the third.
Only minutes later, Ryan Lindgren fires a point shot that is deflected down in a perfect spot for Kevin Rooney who bangs it home. Immediately afterwards, Tuukka Rask and Jake DeBrusk argue the puck was deflected by a high-stick, but even following a review – the goal stands. 2-2.
Rangers keep the momentum after the goal as Ryan Strome and Alexis Lafreniere connect on a slick give-and-go play, but Rask makes the first and second stops on Strome before Strome rings it off the bar. Shortly after, David Krejci is whistled for a trip and Boston goes back to the penalty-kill. New York fired a lot on Rask, but no goals. 5-on-5 with five minutes to go.
Period comes to a close there, another overtime game for this Bruins team.
Shots on Goal: BOS: 31 NYR: 35
Score: 2-2 – Goals: Bjork (1) Assists: DeBrusk (2), Miller (2); Rooney (3) Assists: Lemieux (3), Lindgren (3)
Right away, Patrice Bergeron driving deep finds a wide-open Brad Marchand who dances in, but his shot gets robbed by a desperation effort from Adam Fox. Rangers get a 2-on-1 bid the other way that’s shut down by Charlie McAvoy, then sends out Marchand for a breakaway who scores on this one – Bruins win 3-2 the final score.
Shots on Goal: BOS: 32 NYR: 35
Final Score: 3-2 Bruins
Max’s Three Stars:
1st Star: BOS G Tuukka Rask – 33 Saves on 35 Shots
2nd Star: BOS F Brad Marchand – 1 Goal (GWG), 2 Shots, 23:17 TOI
3rd Star: NYR G Alexandar Georgiev – 29 Saves on 32 Shots
With the win, the Bruins extend their lead to two points in the MassMutual East Division and improve their record to 9-1-2. Boston will play the Rangers again at MSG on Friday at 7pm EST.