BOSTON – The Bruins knew going into Thursday night’s game against the Rangers that they would need to find a way to win the third period that the Blueshirts have dominated all season. The Black and Gold did score a goal and get a puck past Henrik Lundqvist in the third period, but they were outgunned by a 2-1 score in the final period en route to a 2-1 final score at TD Garden.
The score was particularly disappointing given the handful of scoring chances that the Bruins enjoyed in the game’s first 20 minutes, but much of Thursday’s playoff-like atmosphere came down to Lundqvist making a big 32 saves while standing on his head against the Black and Gold.
It’s a pretty familiar sight for a goalie in King Henrik that improved his career record to 25-12-2 vs. the Bruins with a sub 2.00 goals against average and a save percentage soaring over the .935 mark against Boston.
“He was making great saves, played a great game. [We] created a lot of chances and just couldn’t get one by him up until the end there,” said Tuukka Rask, who made 18 saves in a losing effort for the Bruins. “So give credit where credit is due, you know, he played a good game.”
The Bruins put together a good enough effort and gave themselves a chance for a furious rally at the end of the third period, but they ultimately had to tip their hat to King Henrik in the end as they have so many times in the past.
“The takeaway is we lost and at this time of the year, we need points. That’s the big picture. But certainly we look at every game and say ‘well, what did we do well?’ We started well. We didn’t finish the way we’d like to in terms of scoring in the first period. We did a lot of things well, but not enough obviously,” B's coach Bruce Cassidy said. “They’re a good hockey club, and we know they’re good in third periods. If you look at their goal totals in the third, they’ve got a large, you know, advantage in the third over most teams.
“So clearly they are able to stay in those games and find ways to win. Obviously they did that again tonight [against the NY Rangers]. But listen, I’m not going to fault our – our effort was there to get back in the game. Our effort was there to score goals. We left some plays on the table – a couple of goals there they did score, you know, we have to defend better but at the end of the day, not quite enough.”
The defeat was just the second of its kind in nine games since Cassidy took over as head coach of the Bruins, and Thursday night amounted to the Bruins falling short against a Rangers team and their elite No. 1 goaltender at the height of his abilities.
Now the Bruins need to dust themselves off, take some solace from the fact they could have beaten a Metropolitan Division powerhouse in the Blueshirts on Thursday night and need to get right back in the winning way with only 18 games remaining in the regular season.