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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bruins sleepwalk through an afternoon meeting with the Rangers, flush two valuable points down the Causeway Street sewer


I don't know what it is about 1 p.m. starts or facing the New York Rangers but I feel like in both cases, the Boston Bruins always struggle (since I've been to many of those games the last few seasons).

Today was no exception as the Bs (41-23-10) sleepwalked through the first two periods at the TD Garden, spotted the Rangers (41-30-5) a 1-0 lead and that's all it took as New York skated back to Broadway with a 1-0 win.

Henrik Lundqvist (32-24-5) is one of the NHL's top goaltenders and he was immense in the third period alone (Boston outshot New York 12-1 in the final 20 minutes). He finished with 26 saves for his league-leading 11th shutout of the season.

Tuukka Rask (10-12-2) made 22 saves for the Bruins but he was the tough-luck loser as always, similar to the pitcher who gives up one run yet loses because the other pitcher hurls a complete game shutout. Rough.

New York got its only goal just 6:39 into the contest as Derek Stepan scored his 20th of the season, from Michael Sauer and Vaclav Prospal. Normally, I would complain about how Boston got screwed on the play since it all started with a clear offsides on the Rangers which turned into a face-off in the Bruins' end. New York won the draw and Stepan deflected the shot.

The thing is that New York played with more fire from the start, outshooting Boston 9-8 in the first period and 13-6 in the second period. No excuses, it was an early start for both teams and if anything it should have favored the Bruins since they were home on Thursday.

In the third period, the Bruins had countless golden opportunities to tie it up but after about the tenth one just missed, you knew it wasn't going to be their day.

Only eight games remain in the regular season and tomorrow night is probably the hardest as Boston plays a back-to-back by visiting the Philadelphia Flyers. The later start and today's result makes it likely that the Bruins will be much more competitive but you never know with this lovable bunch of losers.

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