[dropcap]D[/dropcap]espite only being about a quarter of a way into this condensed season, the Bruins and Rangers met for the third and final time this season on Tuesday night as each Eastern Conference powerhouse squad tried to win the season series two games to one.
Just as we saw in the previous two meetings, the B’s and Blue Shirts came out ready for a very physical and defensive battle right from the opening puck drop.
The Rangers got on the board first 10:37 into the opening period when the Rangers new All-Star forward Rick Nash put forth an outstanding individual effort to create a goal for teammate Carl Hagelin. A failed Bruins transition gave Nash the opportunity to destroy Andrew Ference with his patented inside-outside power deke before getting tripped and delivering a sick pass to Hagelin, who just had to finish on a basically empty net. 1-0 Rangers
Derek Stepan made the Bruins pay for another turnover in transition courtesy of a terrible pass attempt by Milan Lucic, which was intercepted by Stepan before he skated it in and sniped on Tuukka Rask. 2-0 Rangers
Just over three minutes into the third period, Anton Stralman delivered a crushing blow to the Bruins’ comeback hopes when he scored on a seemingly harmless shot on net from below the dot. It was one that Rask certainly shouldn’t have let trickle past him after getting a good piece of it, and Tuukka knew it too. He was visibly upset with himself following the goal, but fortunately there were no milk crate casualties this time around. 3-0 Rangers
The B’s finally were able to get on the board nearly nine minutes into the third when some hard work by the B’s power play unit led to a David Krejci garbage tally in front of Henrik Lundqvist. It wasn’t beautiful by any means and it didn’t even technically count as a power play goal because the penalty expired just a few seconds before the goal light went off, but I’m sure a Bruins PP unit that has been just short of useless so far this season had no problems with the result, especially in a offensively frustrating game. 3-1 Rangers
With just over a minute and a half left to play in regulation, Tuukka Rask skated to the bench to give the Bruins an extra skater. Then, things got interesting. Nathan Horton was able to cut the deficit to one when slid a rebound goal past Lundqvist following a Ference shot from the point. 3-2 Rangers
Still down by one, Tuukka remained on the Bruins bench while the B’s played 6-on-5 hockey against a Rangers team trying to cling onto a crumbling three goal lead. That lead slipped out of their grasp just 48 seconds later when Brad Marchand was able to reel in a deflected Patrice Bergeron shot and send a wicked wrister past Lunqvist for the equalizer. 3-3
And why yes, Jack Edwards did enjoy the comeback effort from the B’s. Thanks for asking!
Despite Rangers captain Ryan Callahan eventually going on to bury the game-winning goal in the shootout to seal the win for New York, it certainly didn’t feel like the Bruins came up short in this thriller. The B’s didn’t capitalize on mistakes as well as the Rangers and were outplayed for most of the game’s first 58 minutes, but managed to show a lot of determination and heart and steal a point in the process.
If we’ve learned anything through the first quarter of this season, it’s that the Bruins might be the best team in the NHL when it comes to stealing points they have no business taking.
1. Rick Nash – 0 G, 1 A, -1
2. David Krejci – 1 G, 0 A, 0 +/-
3. Dan Giardi – 0 G, 1 A, +1