Despite a three-goal comeback in the third period, the Boston Bruins saw their three-game winning streak come to an end in a 4-3 shootout loss at the hands of the New York Rangers Tuesday night at TD Garden.
Bruins forwards Nathan Horton and Brad Marchand scored in the game’s final two minutes to send it to a shootout, but Rangers captain Ryan Callahan earned his team the extra point with the winning shootout goal.
The game started off quickly, with both teams registering two shots on goal within the first two minutes of play.
Despite Boston’s edge in shots at the time, New York opened up the scoring. At the 10:37 mark of the first period, defenseman Dan Girardi fed the puck to Rick Nash, who crossed the blue line, got tripped up in an attempt to deke a defenseman and dropped the puck off to winger Carl Hagelin while falling to the ice. Hagelin put the puck into the open net for the first score of the game.
When defenseman Adam McQuaid took a roughing penalty about four minutes later, the Bruins’ shorthanded unit created scoring chances during the Rangers’ power play. Although they didn’t register a shot on goal, the Bruins controlled the puck in the offensive zone while killing off the penalty.
The period ended with Boston down 1–0 despite its 11–8 edge in shots. Bruins forward Milan Lucic said the offense should have looked to shoot more.
“We were trying to make maybe one too many passes and not just shoot the puck on the net,” Lucic said. “And those blue lines are really important areas in making big plays, so we can’t be cute when we have the puck in those areas.”
The Bruins got off to a good start in the second period with a power play 4:10 into the frame for a too many men on the ice penalty against the Rangers.
Despite maintaining puck possession and getting pucks to the net, though, Boston’s 28th-ranked power play (9.3 percent) failed to convert on its opportunity.
About two minutes later, Rangers center Derek Stepan intercepted a pass near center ice and took the puck the other way, eventually beating goaltender Tuukka Rask glove side to put Boston at a two-goal deficit.
The Bruins’ power-play woes continued when they failed to capitalize on an interference penalty to Marc Staal. They then took two penalties of their own in the last minute of the second to open the third at a 5-on-3 disadvantage.
“In the first two periods, what we weren’t able to do was find those loose pucks,” Lucic said. “When we’re committed to doing that, whether it’s 6-on-5 or 5-on-5, that’s when we get rewarded.”
The Bruins certainly found some loose pucks in the third period, but not before allowing a goal to defenseman Anton Stralman on a wrist shot that squeezed by Rask to put the Rangers up 3–0, just after the Bruins had killed off the 5-on-3.
However, when Nash took a penalty for hooking at 6:43, the comeback began. With seconds left on the power play, defenseman Dennis Seidenberg took a slap shot from the point that was deflected by Lucic and saved by Lundqvist. Krejci got to the rebound and just squeezed the puck past a diving Lundqvist to finally put the Bruins on the board, one second after the power play expired.
“We definitely worked hard to get that [first goal],” Lucic said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get credit for a power-play goal, which we kind of wanted. But we talked about Lundqvist. He’s a guy that makes a lot of saves, and the best way to get to him is try to find those loose pucks.”
With 1:31 remaining in regulation and an extra attacker on in place of Rask, defenseman Andrew Ference took a slap shot from the point. Lundqvist couldn’t control the rebound, and Boston forward Nathan Horton was waiting in front of the net to beat the goaltender low to the glove side, cutting the deficit to one.
“It just seemed like once we get that [second] one we knew we were going to tie it up and we just kept going,” Marchand said.
Just 48 seconds later, Boston was the beneficiary of a loose puck once again. Patrice Bergeron took a shot that was blocked by a Ranger defenseman. The puck trickled over to Marchand, standing almost parallel to the net, and he shot it over Lundqvist’s shoulder and into the twine from the sharp angle. With that, the Bruins tied up the game with just 43 seconds remaining.
“We kind of dug ourselves a hole of our own doing, but at the same time you have to appreciate that we never gave up,” said Boston coach Claude Julien.
Neither team broke through in overtime, sending the game to a shootout. After Nash scored in the second round and Marchand in the third, Callahan converted on his chance to win the game in the fourth, beating Rask low to the blocker side.
Despite the comeback, the game ultimately left the Bruins disappointed in their performance.
“We definitely did a great job of getting ourselves out of a hole,” Marchand said. “But I think there’s a few things we need to clean up from that game and we’re definitely happy that we get that point, but we didn’t play very well.”
Julien expressed Boston’s emotions after the wild game most simply.
“I don’t think we’re going to get carried away thinking this was a great situation.”