By: Nathan Anderson | Follow Me On Twitter @ndrsn27
While the game was set to be played about 200 miles away from Broadway, there was plenty of drama, starting an hour and a half before puck drop when the Bruins official Twitter account announced that forward Jake DeBrusk, who had just returned from being a healthy scratch and looked to be ready to break out of his slump, was announced to have been placed on the COVID-19 protocols list and would be missing the afternoon matinee against the Rangers.
Antics from Rangers forward Brendan Lemieux during warmups only added to the drama, as Trent Frederic exchanged words with the New York agitator in a precursor for what would unfold later in the afternoon.
The Bruins looked sharp in their sweet gold reverse retro jerseys, but it was the Rangers who started quickly and generated two great scoring chances in the first couple minutes of the game. Jaroslav Halak was forced to make a huge save on Mika Zibanejad, followed by another brave stop against Ryan Lindgren shortly after.
It seemed to be only a matter of time before the Rangers broke through, and just over three minutes into the game, K’Andre Miller did just that when he fired a wrist shot from the point through traffic and past Halak’s blocker, aided by a great screen in front by Boston College alum Chris Kreider. Miller’s second of the season gave the Rangers a deserved 1-0 lead against a Bruins team that had yet to wake up for the early game.
Rather than serving as a wake-up call for the sluggish Bruins, the goal seemed to give the Rangers an extra boost, forcing Halak to make two more point-blank saves on Rangers forwards, including one against the 2020 number one overall pick Alexis Lafrenière.
Somehow the Bruins went back to the locker room only trailing 1-0 after a penalty filled first that could have been 4-0 or 5-0 in favor of the Rangers if Halak hadn’t stood tall between the pipes for twenty minutes.
End of First Period:
Bruins 0 – Rangers 1
Shots: Bruins 6 – Rangers 10 (Total: 6 – 10)
After a first period in which the Bruins seemed to be a step behind on every play, something needed to change if they were going to get back into the game in the middle twenty minutes. It looked as if Brendan Lemieux might have slipped up and given the Bruins a reason to wake up when he went after Trent Frederic after their meeting earlier in the day and drilled him from behind into the open bench doorway early in the period, resulting in a two-minute boarding penalty for Lemieux, and a quick trip down the tunnel for Frederic.
Rather than energizing the Bruins, their suffering powerplay seemed to bog down the black and gold (or should I say gold and black for these jerseys?) even more, and about five minutes later, a combination of lackluster defensive awareness and an outstanding pass from Zibanejad resulted in Kreider potting his fourteenth goal of the season to put the Rangers up two goals.
Now down two, the Bruins failed to get much of anything going the rest of the period. They couldn’t score on yet another powerplay after Adam Fox was called for hooking halfway through the period and couldn’t really generate any offensive threat whatsoever, leaving them scoreless for the first forty minutes of the game.
End of Second Period:
Bruins 0 – Rangers 2
Shots: Bruins 5 – Rangers 11 (Total: 11 – 21)
For anyone waiting for the Bruins to turn on the jets and pull off another comeback, it never happened this afternoon. The Bruins seemed to decide their third-period goal would be to throw more shots on the net, but the Rangers defense did a great job getting in the way of as many Bruins’ shot attempts as possible and even added a couple of goals of their own.
Artemi Panarin announced his return to the Rangers lineup by delivering a gorgeous turnaround pass to a wide-open Ryan Strome, who deposited his tenth goal of the year into the Bruins net past Halak, all but sealing the two points for the Rangers.
A little over halfway into the period, it seemed as though the Bruins may have finally showed up and might even get a consolation goal at least. After a few good momentum-building shifts in the offensive zone, Brad Marchand chopped the stick out of K’Andre Miller’s hands and put a stop to any chance of a miraculous comeback the Bruins had left.
Pavel Buchnevich added an insurance goal late in the game to make it 4-0 Rangers, fully avenging their loss to the Bruins by the same score two nights ago.
End of Third Period
Bruins 0 – Rangers 4
Shots: Bruins 7 – Rangers 12 (Total: 18 – 33)
This game can be summed up by quite simply saying the Rangers came to play and the Bruins did not. All game long, the Bruins look stagnant and on the back foot against a Rangers team that wanted revenge for the beatdown they took Thursday night. While Bruins fans were hoping today could be a step towards consistency, it instead was another setback in their quest to regain the form that they started the season with.
The Bruins hit the ice again Monday night when they head to Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins at 7pm Eastern Time.