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Friday, November 29, 2013

Bruins Find Another Way to Beat the Rangers

It must be tough to be on the Rangers right now knowing that they are right there with the Bruins except that Boston recently almost always ends up on top. On November 19, Tuukka Rask stole two points for the Bruins at Madison Square Garden and today at TD Garden, Boston (17-7-2) rallied from a 2-1 deficit in the third period for a satisfying 3-2 win over New York (13-13-0). Going back to last postseason, Boston has won six of its last seven games vs. their Original Six rivals.

Brad Marchand played arguably his best game of the season and it all began with a nice one-timer for a goal at 11:42 of the first period. Marchand's fourth goal of the season was assisted by Zdeno Chara and Loui Eriksson. New York answered quickly, times two. Rick Nash showed off his range of skills by going around the net then beating Tuukka Rask (17 saves) with a snap shot at 13:04. Less than a minute and a half later, Ryan McDonagh pinched in the offensive zone and his shot from the point found its way into the net.

Boston slowly started to find their legs as they peppered Henrik Lundqvist (25 saves) with quality shots (forget quantity) including two off the post by Chara and Torey Krug. Speaking of Big Z, he picked the perfect time to start a fight (his first of the season and only his third in the last two campaigns) vs. former BC star Brian Boyle. You won't find a more even matchup for Chara in terms of size in the NHL but that didn't prevent him from dominating Boyle.

That spark carried over to the third period as Patrice Bergeron notched his first point in seven games on a fortuitous bounce. His one-timer from Brad Marchand and Johnny Boychuk deflected in off a New York defenseman parked in front of Lundqvist. I thought Eriksson touched it but apparently not because the goal (Bergeron's 7th of the season) was never credited to anyone else.

It was fitting that the captain finished off Boston's rival with the game-winning goal at 11:05. David Krejci assisted (his team-high 15th) as Chara somehow found plenty of space in the slot and let rip a low laser aided by Milan Lucic's screen of Lundqvist. His sixth goal of the season gave him the famed Gordie Howe hat trick. New York had a chance to tie after a too many men on the ice call on Boston but the Bruins' penalty kill (5-for-5) and Rask stood tall. The Rangers pulled Lundqvist and called a timeout but they couldn't prevent another loss that left them at sitting exactly at .500.

The week from hell (5 games in 8 days) concludes tomorrow back at the Garden vs. Columbus (9-13-3). Boston will be going for the season sweep of the Blue Jackets after a 3-1 win in Columbus October 12 and a 3-2 overtime win in Boston on November 14 (Lucic's blocked shot then breakaway). The weird part is that they won't see Nathan Horton in any of those matchups, what a shame.

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