Maybe they had too much turkey. In reality, it was the team’s inability to finish that led to their second loss to the Boston Bruins this year.
The New York Rangers had a strong first period, but as the game continued, the Bruins would wear them down and beat the Rangers 3-2 on Friday afternoon.
With the loss, the Blueshirts fall back down to .500 (13-13-0). Also, it is the first time since the 2009-10 season that the Rangers entered the third period with a lead and did not secure at least one point on the standings. That streak ended at 101 games (95-0-6).
The inability to finish doesn’t just stem from not being able to hang on to the lead against one of the NHL’s most challenging teams. It is also an indication of the continued issue of consistent scoring. In their last 14 games, all in November, the Rangers have scored more than two goals six times. In the first seven of those games, the Rangers did it four times. Since November 17th, they have only done it twice – the last time being Wednesday against the Florida Panthers.
With 8:18 remaining in the first period, the pesky Brad Marchard opened the scoring with a one-timer off a pass from captain Zdeno Chara.
But, 1:24 later, Rick Nash would use his strength and skill to barrel his way through the slot and earn his third goal in six games since returning to the lineup from an early-season concussion. Earlier in the period, Nash and Boston’s talented, young Torey Krug got into it after the whistle. Seemingly, the Bruins did everything they could to rough Nash up. It wasn’t enough, though, to keep the Blueshirts’ star from making an impact offensively.
With 5:34 left in the first, just 82 seconds later, the Rangers would strike again. Receiving a great feed by Derick Brassard, Ryan McDonagh – would has probably been the Rangers’ best defenseman this year – would shoot it past Boston netminder Tuukka Rask to give the Blueshirts a 2-1 lead.
The biggest highlight from the second period was a fight between Chara and Rangers forward Brian Boyle, which may have helped tilt the momentum over to the Bruins.
Just 1:35 in the third period, the Bruins would tie the game. Lundqvist would stop a Bergeron shot, but the puck would go off of defenseman Dan Girardi and go into the net.
With 8:55 left in regulation, a Ranger turnover would result in a Chara blast from the point, which would give the Bruins a 3-2 advantage – a lead that would stick until the end of regulation time.
With 4:34 remaining in the final frame, the Rangers would have a chance to tie it when Boston took a too many men on the ice penalty, but the Bruins did what they’ve done best for several seasons now – they shut it down.
Boston outshot New York 28-19. The Rangers had seven missed shots, while the Bruins would end up with 13. Boston would block 10 Ranger shots, while the Blueshirts blocked 15. This means, according to the stats, the Bruins attempts 56 shots, while the Rangers attempted 36 for the game.
In addition, the Rangers would end the game 0 for 5 on the power play. Needless to say, head coach Alain Vigneault was not happy with the lost lead and the end result.
It will be interesting to see how the Rangers respond for their next game, which is on Saturday afternoon against the Vancouver Canucks. Will Henrik Lundqvist start? Will Michael Del Zotto play? Will the Rangers find their scoring touch? And will they be able to do it in a game where both head coaches will be facing the teams they coached last year?