Boston Bruins get stage fright and get trumped by the Rangers 4-2

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 08: Pavel Buchnevich
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 08: Pavel Buchnevich /

Charlie McAvoy returned home as the Boston Bruins took their rookie roster to Madison Square Garden Wednesday night for a rivalry tilt against the New York Rangers. Searching for another win coming off a big victory over the Minnesota Wild, the boys looked to keep it rolling in New York.

The Boston Bruins faced off against the New York Rangers Wednesday night on hockey’s biggest stage. The Bruins rookies got their first touch on the ice of Madison Square Garden, and it is safe to say they won’t forget it. The Bruins, despite having a decent record, were still in search of their first winning streak of the season.  How did it go in the Big Apple?

1st Period

Both teams came out the gates flying. However, it was the Rangers who struck first in the game. Pavel Buchnevich skated right past Zdeno Chara for the first goal of the night, putting the Rangers up 1-0. The home team clearly had come to play against the young Bruins team.

Boston Bruins
NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 08: David Pastrnak /

The Bruins didn’t wait long to respond. David Pastrnak netted his 8th goal of the season, tying the game at 1 just under a minute after the Buchnevich goal. The Rangers made it clear they would not go down easy, as Jimmy Vesey scored two rebound goals on the same shift, putting the Rangers up 3-1. Both goals were at the fault of poor defensive coverage and to be honest, shoddy goaltending.

Buchnevich took a late penalty for tripping at the end of first which would take the Bruins into the second period with a 5 on 4 advantage.  But the period ended at 3-1 in favor of the Blueshirts.

2nd Period

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The Bruins began the second period by failing to convert on the power play, taking only two shots throughout the attempt. Opportunities for both the Rangers and the Bruins were abundant, as both teams went back and forth, with momentum mostly in the Rangers favor.

The Bruins growing pains began to show as they failed to connect on breakout passes, and continuously lost one on one battles, creating turnovers all over the ice. The Rangers took another penalty in the second for too many men on the ice, and once again the Bruins failed to convert on the power play. Both teams fought hard for the remainder of the period, however, no goals were scored in the frame.

3rd Period

The third period was intense on both sides as the Bruins finally showed life, hungry for a comeback. The Rangers continued to be undisciplined taking two more penalties throughout the period. Finally, the Bruins took advantage and converted. Patrice Bergeron was able to net his 3rd goal of the season on the power play, giving the B’s hope in the final minutes of the tilt.

The Bruins built off this goal, seeing the chance for a big win against a hot New York Rangers team. They showed the spark that everyone has been looking for all season long. Heading into the final minutes Bruce Cassidy pulled goalie Tuukka Rask for a final push to tie the game that would send it to overtime.

However, it wasn’t enough, as Rangers Rick Nash put the dagger in the heart scoring the empty net goal, lifting the Rangers over the Bruins 4-2.

The Takeaways

Throughout the start of the 2017-18 season, it has been extremely frustrating watching the Bruins, once a Stanley Cup contending franchise, remain stuck in the middle of the heavily talented Atlantic Division standings. Looking closely at the team’s inconsistent performance, it is clear these problems are arising from the defensive end, starting with the net.

Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask has been an eye-raising issue on this team for quite some time now. As fun as it is, to sit in the rafters of the garden and chant “Tuuuuuuuuuuk,” it is just as easy to see how poorly his play has been over the past few seasons.

Boston Bruins
NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 08: Jimmy Vesey /

Tuukka Rask signed a $56 million deal back in the 2013 offseason which keeps him here in Boston up until the 2020-2021 season. At the time, this made sense for the Boston Bruins as they felt they had the goaltender worth building a Stanley Cup franchise around. As time went on, however, Rask continued to show the city and organization they more than likely made a mistake.

From 2011-15, he put up a .927 save percentage, tied with Cory Schneider for best in the league among goalies to start at least 150 games over that time frame making himself a Vezina trophy winner by 2014.  Since the start of the 2015-16 season, Rask’s save percentage has been .914 over 132 games (128 starts). For a goalie signed to a star netminder contract, this is an average save percentage in today’s national hockey league. The beginning of tonight’s game proves his poor performance perfectly.

Jimmy Vesey scored both of his goals on rebound opportunities where it was absolutely clear Rask had no idea where the puck was. We are so quick to blame defensemen for not grabbing sticks out front, but sometimes it can be overlooked how simple these saves could have been. Rask also let in an easy goal to begin the game that would have been a casual glove save by any other tender. Rask’s lack of effort and lack of focus seems to grow as each game goes by.

The Boston Bruins offense was also all over the place, failing to convert on 3 power play opportunities, where it could have been game-changing. However, the offense is currently centered around rookies who aren’t performing anywhere less where they are expected to be.

Injuries have plagued the Bruins since before the season even started. The key to any teams success is having star skaters remain active and off the IR. Once these players have returned, particularly David Krejci, David Backes, Brad Marchand, Noel Acciari, and Adam McQuaid we can expect the team to look better.

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Overall, Bruce Cassidy is doing everything he can to keep this team in the picture moving forward. Dealing with these injuries has certainly been tough, but Cassidy has done everything he can to get points with what he has. This Bruins team is a lot better than they look, and due to the plague of injuries, they are struggling. Suffering growing pains happen to any team looking to build; this is a good Bruins team and over time it will show.