GOLD STAR: Charlie Coyle has picked up the scoring pace as of late with four goals in his last five games. And now he was scored in two straight games after picking up the shorthanded game-winning goal for the Bruins on Sunday afternoon.
Coyle was a dominant force again on Sunday against the Rangers from his third line center spot and has played with the same kind of strength, motor and relentless play that everybody saw from him in the playoffs last year. Even better, Coyle is now on a pace to get close to 20 goals this season for the Bruins, and his play in Sunday’s game was a beauty. He broke up a play at the Rangers offensive blue line, sped behind the New York power play and then threw a couple of moves at Alexander Georgiev before flipping a forehand bid past him late in the second period.
Coyle finished with the goal, a plus-2 rating, three shots on net and a hit and a takeaway in 15:57 of ice time for the Bruins.
BLACK EYE: Pavel Buchnevich certainly made a statement about his game on Sunday. He was a team-worst minus-3 and he managed to miss the net with all four of his shot attempts.
But the biggest moment was his cheap cross-check to an unsuspecting Brad Marchand that knocked the Bruins forward’s helmet off as he squared up with Ryan Lindgren after the New York defenseman started trouble with Patrice Bergeron.
Buchnevich also had a giveaway in 17:14 of ice time as many of New York’s best players simply didn’t do enough in a game that the Rangers desperately needed to stay in shouting distance of the playoffs. But it’s amazing that Buchnevich wasn’t called for even a minor penalty for throwing a major cheap shot at one of the NHL’s best players.
TURNING POINT: The turning point for the game was the cheap shot Buchnevich threw on Marchand. Marchand was the only one whistled for a penalty as he cross-checked Lindgren while sticking up for his linemate Bergeron, and then Buchnevich came out of nowhere to knock the Bruins winger off the ice with a cross-check from behind.
The force of the Buchnevich two-hander knocked Marchand’s helmet off, but somehow there was no minor penalty called on him.
As the saying goes, though, the puck don’t lie. With Marchand in the box for what should have been matching penalties, Charlie Coyle scored on a shorthanded breakaway for the game-winning goal at the end of the second period.
HONORABLE MENTION: As has been the case for a number of games since the NHL All-Star break, Charlie McAvoy was one of the best players on the ice for the Bruins. McAvoy scored another goal when his point shot deflected off a Rangers body in front before fluttering in past Georgiev, and gave the Bruins an early 1-0 lead in the game.
McAvoy finished with a game-high 24:52 of ice time, scored a goal, had five shot attempts and was a plus-1 rating while throwing two registered hits and blocking a couple of shots as well.
McAvoy played an elite, tough level at both ends of the ice and was pushing the envelope offensively in a way he wasn’t doing earlier in the season when his confidence wasn’t at an all-time high. McAvoy is playing his best hockey of the season right now and Sunday’s win was another example of it.
BY THE NUMBERS: 1 – the number of assists in Sunday’s win for the Bruins despite scoring three goals. Brad Marchand had the lone assist on Patrice Bergeron’s empty netter while Charlie McAvoy and Charlie Coyle’s goals were both unassisted earlier in the game.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “He's not going to be a player there that's going to have a very long career. I'm not overly concerned with him." –Brad Marchand on New York Rangers defenseman (and former Bruins prospect) Ryan Lindgren after the two players scuffled a couple of times during Sunday’s matinee.