There hasn’t been a better team in hockey this season than the Boston Bruins. So when talented clubs like the Rangers come into games against them with key injuries in important spots, it’s normally not going to end well.
For New York, their sixth game playing short-handed left a predictable result against the NHL’s leader in points this season.
Linus Ullmark tallied 24 saves, and the Bruins’ unrelenting defense overwhelmed the short-handed Rangers in Boston Saturday afternoon by a 4-2 final.
“We didn’t create enough. There was a lot of good but there was some bad too.” Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant said.
A matchup against two Original Six teams generated the kind of physicality hockey fans have come to expect of the two teams. Rangers’ captain Jacob Trouba delivered big hits while Boston countered with others of their own. It wasn’t until late in the first period that the Bruins exploited an open hole in front of Igor Shesterkin to take a 1-0 courtesy of Charlie Coyle.
Any hope of New York battling back in the second period was quickly squashed. Patrick Kane, in his second game as a member of the Rangers, passed out on an open shot on the powerplay that resulted in a turnover and another score from Tomas Nosek.
“They’re trying to force plays in the middle of the ice. There’s too many turnovers. The chemistry is there but you gotta make sure we’re making strong plays.” Gallant said in regards to Kane’s turnovers. “They’ll get it together but it wasn’t good tonight.”
Even with an Alexis Lafreniere powerplay goal late in the second, New York struggled to find ways to solve the excellence that has been Linus Ullmark all season. Ullmark came into the game leading the league in wins, save percentage, and goals against average. New York’s struggles offensively came to a low in the third period with the team recording just two shots within the first 12 minutes of action.
Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak traded goals late that turned the contest into a laugher. The loss keeps New York in third place but drops them to a 35-19-9 record. They’ll be back on the ice Thursday when they take on the Montreal Canadiens.
- New York was once again without Ryan Lindgren and Tyler Motte with injuries. Saturday’s contest was also the final of a three-game suspension for K’Andre Miller. While New York has played short-handed for the sixth game in a row but should be getting reinforcements back to get to full strength.
- Saturday’s battle was the first game following David Pastrnak signing his eight-year extension with the Bruins. The contract is the richest in Bruins history and will carry Pastrnak into his mid-30s as one of the most complete forwards in hockey.
- It hasn’t been the prettiest start for Patrick Kane and the first powerplay unit for the Rangers. The group struggled to get set offensive chances, and when they did, they struggled to even shoot the puck at times. New York has gone 1-7 on the extra-man advantage and has given up a short-handed goal as well. The only successful attempt has come via the second powerplay group Sunday afternoon.
- Alexis Lafreniere scored both goals for the Rangers Saturday afternoon. After the game, the former top overall pick said “There’s always ways to play better. I think for me it’s just trying to make plays and be responsible in my own end.”