(Photo Credit: Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

By: Jason Cooke | Follow me on Twitter / X @cookejournalism

Giveaways plagued the Boston Bruins on Thursday night. Artemi Panarin and the New York Rangers took full advantage of a slew of 19 Boston turnovers, escaping with a 5-2 win at TD Garden. The Rangers are now just one point behind the Bruins for first place in the National Hockey League, handing the B’s their first loss in four games.

“They checked really well,” said Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery. “I don’t think we checked well enough (and) I don’t think we competed hard enough on pucks.”

Despite the loss, Justin Brazeau stayed sizzling hot. The 6′5″ power forward banged home his third goal in his last two games to tie the game at two in the third period. Since being called up from Providence, he’s posted 4-2-6 in a Bruins uniform.

“I think every game, every shift, you feel a little bit more comfortable,” said Brazeau. “Kind of get to you game a little bit more.”

However, it was turnovers that put the Bruins in a hole, and it started just 50 seconds into action. Brad Marchand sent an errant pass up the middle of the ice, finding the tape of Alexis Lafrenière drifting north. He caught a high stick from Brandon Carlo, and the Rangers were off and running on the power play. The Rangers recorded five shots on goal on the advantage, but Jeremy Swayman held strong.

That’s when Jake DeBrusk got the Bruins on the board. Just seconds after a Boston power play expired, Brazeau found Trent Frederic cutting to the slot for a one-timer that Jonathan Quick denied. The puck soon squirted out to open ice, which DeBrusk pounced on. Boston’s second power play unit of Kevin Shattenkirk, Morgan Geekie, Frederic, Brazeau, and DeBrusk executed a textbook sequence to set up Boston’s lone first-period tally.

“I think we’re just keeping it simple,” Brazeau said. “We know we’re not out there for too long and I think we were just trying to get as many pucks to the net and as many chances and volume as we can. It’s been working so far.”

The Rangers turned the tide in the second frame, scoring a pair of goals while outshooting Boston by a 13-6 margin. As the Bruins totaled seven giveaways in the period, Panarin took advantage. His two-goal flurry in the second period marked the first time he’s reached the 40-goal mark in his nine-year career and is just the fifth undrafted player in the last 30 years to do so. His first tally came off the stick of Danton Heinen before beating Swayman five-hole.

Panarin’s second score–if you’d even call it that–was Boston’s most costly turnover of the period. Hampus Lindholm coughed up the puck behind the Bruins goal, where Panarin used a sliding DeBrusk as a backboard to beat Swayman. Alex Wennberg initiated the pressure below the goal line, and Lindholm wasn’t quick enough to react.

“He gets a little piece of it and kind of slashes it off my stick there,” said Lindholm. “That’s one of those where we need to find ways to get those out more simpler ways the last seconds of a period to keep the momentum for the third period.”

Lucky for the Bruins, Brazeau stayed red-hot, scoring his third goal in his last two games to pot the equalizer 3:17 into the third period. Like all his goals so far sporting the spoked B, the 6′5″ power forward parked himself in front, using his size to win space near the crease. He tapped in Marchand’s wrist shot to tie the game at two.

“It’s obviously a good confidence booster anytime you get to get on the ice with those guys,” said Brazeau. “Just try to do what you’ve been doing and feed off them.”

The Rangers didn’t waste any time getting it back, gaining the lead 40 seconds later on a tic-tac-toe passing sequence. Adam Fox was the final Ranger to touch the puck as the Rangers went around the world, unleashing a laser over Swayman’s shoulder to light the lamp for the 3-2 lead.

The Bruins squandered an opportunity to tie the game with an empty net until their final—and most costly—turnover iced the game. Charlie Coyle got the puck stripped off his stick as he attempted to move the puck to the point, resulting in an uncovered net for Mika Zibanejad. Panarin completed the final leg of his hat trick for good measure at 19:08, another empty-net goal to put the exclamation point on the win.

“I think there’s been times in the other games where I didn’t like it,” Montgomery said of intensity. “Overall, I’ve been pretty happy here in the last two or three weeks. We have ninety-seven points because we’re a good hockey team.”