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Friday, November 27, 2015

Bruins Win Their Season-High Fifth Game In a Row, Rallying For 4-3 Win Over Rangers



Boston (13-8-1) is finally playing good hockey, even at TD Garden and you could make a solid argument that this afternoon's 4-3 come-from-behind win against the Rangers (16-5-2) was their best victory of the young season. Mostly because New York is one of the NHL's truly elite clubs and they had two different leads (2-1 and 3-2) that they couldn't maintain. It extended the Bruins' win-streak to a season-high five games, the 15th time that they have won five games or more in a row under head coach Claude Julien.

It was a great way to celebrate Black Friday without fighting for your life at the mall looking for a stupid toy that's not worth the time or effort it takes to get it. Boston's next game isn't until Wednesday (9:30, NESN) when they start a three-game road trip in Western Canada: Edmonton (7-14-1), Calgary (8-13-1) and Vancouver (9-8-6) in four nights.

Usually matinees are sleepy affairs but not today since this contest had the feel of a playoff game, seriously. Patrice Bergeron opened the scoring at 14:15 when his quick release beat Henrik Lundqvist (30 saves). Torey Krug assisted on Bergeron's eighth goal of the season. New York answered early in the second period when rookie Oscar Lindberg skated around Dennis Seidenberg like he wasn't even there and shot around Tuukka Rask (24 saves) at 2:10. J.T. Miller and Jasper Fast assisted on Lindberg's eighth goal of the season (tied for most in the NHL by a rookie).

Boston's defense once again was caught napping when Brett Connolly's clearing attempt didn't work out so well and Ryan McDonagh was able to pass to a wide open Rick Nash. He went from backhand to forehand (that's how much time and space that he had) for his eighth goal of the season at 5:15. Things got chippy as Matt Beleskey hit Derek Stepan late, causing him to fly into the boards and break some ribs. Immediately like a good teammate, defenseman Dylan McIlrath dropped the gloves with Beleskey and pounded him into submission.

The Bruins' top-ranked power play struck twice in the game, beginning with Connolly's tying goal at 9:34. He made up for his earlier gaffe with his fifth goal of the season, assisted by Colin Miller and Jimmy Hayes (getting some rare power play ice time). King Henrik bought a shaky goaltender interference call on Brad Marchand midway through the third period that was more deserving on an Oscar than a penalty. New York took advantage as Miller tipped Keith Yandle's shot and the puck went off the post, bounced back off Rask then in the net. Kevin Klein had the second assist on Miller's fourth goal of the season.

In a scenario more likely to be found in the NBA, Boston benefited from a makeup call as Fast was whistled for a shady holding penalty late in the third. Wouldn't you know that Boston's power play came through again as David Krejci's simple shot from the point took a wicked deflection off Klein and past Lundqvist. Krejci's ninth goal of the season was unassisted. Stepan will be out indefinitely but it doesn't sound like Beleskey will receive a suspension for his dangerous hit.

Given how well the Bruins have played on the road in 2015-16 (8-2-0, 2nd best road mark in the league) and the fact that the Oilers and Flames are the two worst teams in the West, Boston has a good chance to pick up some points on their upcoming trip. Granted a back-to-back in Calgary on Friday (9, NESN) and Vancouver (10, NESN) on Saturday is tough but all of those teams are .500 or worse at home: Edmonton is 4-5-1 at Rexall Place, Calgary is 5-5-0 at Scotiabank Saddledome and Vancouver is 3-4-3 at Rogers Arena. In other words, the B's should take advantage of playing these garbage teams.


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