Boston Bruins can’t take the curtain call against the Rangers

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 16: The Boston Bruins celebrate a goal against the New York Rangers at the TD Garden on December 16, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 16: The Boston Bruins celebrate a goal against the New York Rangers at the TD Garden on December 16, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Boston Bruins had the New York Rangers over for a late afternoon hockey game on Saturday.  In the season of giving, which team gave the other a tally in the loss column?

Both the Boston Bruins and the New York Rangers have been playing good hockey recently.  In their last 10 games before today’s game, the Bruin were 7-3-0, and the Rangers were 6-3-1.  With both teams on a hot streak, fans could look forward to a good game.

The Bruins were certainly in the holiday spirit today.  It was Holiday themed suit day for the Bruins, and the players all took it to the festive extreme.

Boston Bruins
BOSTON, MA – DECEMBER 16: Patrice Bergeron /

First period

The Bruins did what they’ve been doing during their hot streak, and coming out of the gates hot.  The Bs were all over the Rangers early in the first period, peppering Henrik Lundqvist with shots.  It seemed like only a matter of time before the Bruins would put one in.

That’s exactly what happened, although, the excitement was short lived.  One of the best tic-tac-toe goals the Bruins scored this season, from Torey Krug to David Krejci to Ryan Spooner, was called back due to the play being offsides.  The Bruins were the beneficiaries of an early goal being called back against the Caps on Thursday, but this one went against them.

The Bruins continued to be all over the Rangers.  Unfortunately, it was the Rangers who scored first.  Michael Grabner came in basically alone on Tuukka Rask, fired a shot off the high glass that rebounded back off Rask and into the net.  Totally a flukey goal, but it ended up being the only goal of the period.  Despite outplaying the Rangers, the Bruins went into the locker room down 1-0.  Somewhat of a constant theme for the season.

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Second period

The middle frame could not have started any worse for the Bruins.  Krejci was called for a high-sticking penalty on defenseman Brady Skjei.  About 30 seconds into the Rangers power play, speedster J.T. Miller was sprung by a silky Skjei pass through the neutal zone that made it through the Bruins 1-3 defense.  Miller had a breakaway on Rask, and made the most of it on the backhand, putting the Rangers up 2-0.

The ice evened out a bit after the Miller goal.  The Bruins had their chances, including a nice Sean Kuraly rush down the wing and another on a gorgeous shot by Brad Marchand.  Unfortunately for the Bruins, even at his age Lundqvist still has an amazing glove hand, and snagged both attempts.

Later in the period, the Bruins had a power play that looked terrible.  In fact, the only shot was a Rick Nash breakaway that Rask thankfully stopped.  Then, shortly thereafter, at 5-on-5, the Rangers penned the Bruins in their own zone for 1:30 of offensive zone time.

That is simply terrible team defense, and Bruce Cassidy did not seem pleased with his team.  That Rangers zone time only ended because Mats Zuccarello committed a slashing penalty.  There stands a chance it could have lasted over two minutes.  Oh, and by the way, that power play ended a minute in with a Spooner hooking call.  Cassidy decided it was time to do some lineup tinkering.

The Bruins were finally able to break through just as a Rangers penalty expired.  Zdeno Chara teed one up from the point, and Danton Heinen, who had slipped passed the Rangers defense, tipped the puck over Lundqvist.  The secondary assist belonged to Krejci, and the Bruins were back in the game.

Third period

The Bruins started the third period with momentum and a carry-over power play from the second period and a J.T. Miller penalty.  Just like in the first period, the Bruins came out hot and were all over the Rangers.  The Bruins were spotted another power play four minutes into the period, but the man advantage once again looked anemic.  They just could not get a clean entry into the zone.

But all extra-man woes came to an end when the Bruins tied it on a Marchand power play snipe.  David Pastrnak threw a beautiful cross-ice pass right in front of Lundqvist that Marchand buried on a one-timer.  All of that momentum that the Bruins started the period with manifested itself in a goal, easing the pain of all of the other chances that the Bruins just never seem to finish on.

Boston Bruins
BOSTON, MA – DECEMBER 16: Brad Marchand /

The ice opened up, and the remainder of the period was fast paced, up-and-down hockey.  The Bruins had other chances in the last half of the period, including some more power play time.  During some 4-on-4 hockey, Krejci clanged one off the post after picking Brendan Smith’s pocket.  After that sequence, the Rangers went on the power play, but came up empty.  Neither team could end the game in regulation, so extra hockey was need.


In the 3-on-3 overtime session, also known as “who can score on a 2-on-1,” both teams went back and forth from end to end.  After a Marchand slip-and-fall in the offensive zone that led to a turnover, the Bruins were called for a second too-many-men penalty in the game.

This gave the Rangers a 4-on-3  advantage.  And just as expected, when there’s that much ice available, the team with the extra man will usually score.  Mats Zuccarello did just that, and ended the game on a wrist shot from the left dot.


Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak are absolutely on fire right now.  There are very few linemates that are scoring at the current clip these two are scoring at.  Marchand’s goal extended his point streak to eight games (5-8–13), and Pastrnak has an 11 game streak himself (6-8–14).

Tuukka Rask is the only reason the Bruins were in this game for as long as they were.  Grabner’s goal was a fluke and Miller’s goal was a power play breakaway due to bad defensive coverage.  He robbed Rick Nash on a shorthanded breakaway and made all of the other saves he should make.  One good game here or there is one thing, but Rask’s play as of late has been stellar.  It’s no longer too early to say this:  Rask is back.

Next: Could and should the Bruins deal for Karlsson?

The Bruins schedule doesn’t get any easier from here.  After an off-day on Sunday, the Metropolitan Division leading Columbus Blue Jackets come to Boston on Monday night.  Sergei Bobrovsky is arguably the best goalie in the entire NHL, and is making a case this season to defend his Vezina Trophy win from last season.