Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Bruins Steal A Point From The Rangers, Lose 4-3 In A Shootout
Last night was one of those rare occasions in sports when a loss really felt like a win. The Bruins (8-1-2) were down 3-0 against the Rangers (7-5-0) in the third period at TD Garden before they rallied for three goals in the final 11:16 to tie it and send it to overtime. Unfortunately, after a thrilling but scoreless OT it went to a shootout where they lost 4-3. Rick Nash and Ryan Callahan (who had the winner) scored for New York while only Brad Marchand tallied a shootout goal for Boston.
In this shortened season, points are at a premium so the one that the B's earned should feel like more than that. They had no business getting a positive result but they managed to somehow beat Henrik Lundqvist (37 saves) in quick succession after he had frustrated them all game long. Tuukka Rask (26 saves; 6-1-2) had his second bad start in a row at home but let's not overreact here.
The Rangers were efficient as they potted a goal in each frame. Carl Hagelin made it 1-0 at 10:37 of the first period after an NHL All-Star/Olympic assist from Rick Nash, Dan Girardi had the second assist. Nash was tripped up but he still managed to throw it to Hagelin who only had to tap it in past Rask. Derek Stepan increased New York's advantage to 2-0 at 8:17 of the second period after a careless turnover by Milan Lucic in the neutral zone. Rask didn't help himself by whiffing on a save he usually registers on Stepan's wrister.
When Anton Stralman scored his first goal of the season, at 2:07 of the third period, it's understandable that most Bruins fans thought it was over. It was the weakest goal that Rask had allowed all season as he let a slow shot from the point trickle through his leg pads.
Boston's wretched power play was 0 for 4 so fittingly, David Krejci broke Lundqvist's shutout attempt one second after a Rangers penalty had expired. Dennis Seidenberg's shot from the point was tipped and Lucic had the other assist in the scramble before Krejci's fourth goal of the season at 8:44. With Rask pulled, the B's notched a pair of goals (something they hadn't done in 3.5 years) to tie it up. Traffic in front caused another juicy rebound and Nathan Horton ended up with his fourth goal of the season (assists to Lucic and Andrew Ference) at 18:29.
Brad Marchand took the roof off the Garden with the game-tying goal, his seventh of the season at 19:17. He tried to pass it but it deflected back to him before Lundqvist could react in time, Marchand had roofed it past him. Patrice Bergeron and Seidenberg had the assists.
The only Debbie Downer aspect of this thriller was that it wrapped up the season series between these teams (2-1 New York), really. Kudos to the NHL for getting this quality rivalry out of the way in the season's first 12 games (technically 11 after Saturday's matchup with Tampa Bay was postponed because of the blizzard). It would probably give us a heart attack if they played each other in the postseason but one thing's for sure: it would be an amazing series.
Ok I lied, there is one other depressing part: the Bruins won't be home again for another 2+ weeks. They are about to embark on their longest road trip of the season: five games. No doubt the team will also be missing Boston since they hit all the backwaters in the Eastern Conference: Buffalo, Winnipeg, Tampa Bay, Florida and Long Island. The B's make their second stop in Buffalo in less than a week on Friday (7 p.m., NESN). They beat the Sabres (5-8-1) 3-1 way back on Sunday night.
UPDATE 2/13: Jay Pandolfo cleared waivers so he's officially a Bruin now.