Boston Bruins fans, if you were stressing out during that game against the New York Rangers, be comforted by this fact: this is the last time the two shall meet this season. They can only meet again during the playoffs. Only time will tell if that happens, but that may provide a measure of relief after the stresses experienced during the course of the 4-3 shootout loss.
Some Bruins looked like they’d eaten their Wheaties and were ready to play, including the hardworking Rich Peverley, clearly hungry to score his second goal of the season and try to improve his negative rating. Patrice Bergeron also tried hard, especially when he streaked down the ice on a breakaway and tried to foil Henrik Lundqvist to open the scoring for Boston, but fell short. David Krejci slung in the first shot of the game not long after the first puck drop.
But then there were some teammates who did not eat their Wheaties. Defensive coverage proved to be a problem yet again for this team. Andrew Ference and Adam McQuaid were out there when Carl Hagelin took a pass from Rick Nash–the pass that, according to every NHL analyst, is both the most amazing play ever and the sole reason the Columbus Blue Jackets fired their general manager–and scored.
Tyler Seguin looked frustrated at times with his less-than-stellar play, at one point smacking his stick so hard that people who were sitting in the TD Garden balcony could hear it. Dougie Hamilton seemed overwhelmed at times too. I understand he’s a young defenseman and still learning the ropes, but this was a most inopportune game for him to get shaky.
Derek Stepan put the Rangers ahead by two in the second period when he took advantage of some fumbling from the Bruins near Tuukka Rask‘s net, but the third goal from New York was so soft, one could use it as a pillow. Rask basically thought he had it, but then the puck slid right over the goal line. In his defense, he took responsibility for the softness of the second and third goals post-game, though that third one especially must have frustrated him to no end.
But just as it looked like the Bruins were headed for Valentine’s Day 2012 redux–when the Rangers shut them out 3-0 at home–something happened in the third period. Krejci happened, backhanding one past Lundqvist with a little help from Milan Lucic and Dennis Seidenberg. Krejci sparked something with that goal because then, after Rask had been pulled for the extra attacker, Nathan Horton scored. With Rask still hanging out on the bench, Brad Marchand kept up his team lead in goal-scoring by putting up his seventh of the season. It was an occasion so joyous and unexpected that Jack Edwards jumped up and down in the broadcasting booth.
Marchand definitely ate his Wheaties too.
So, baffled fans of both stripes watched as the Bruins clawed back from being down 3-0 to force overtime. In the end, they’d fall 4-3 in a shootout after Seguin, Bergeron and Krejci failed to score. Marchand put one away, but so did Nash and Ryan Callahan.
At this point, it’s basically not even worth it to talk about the problems of the Bruins on the power play, except to say that Krejci’s goal came just one second after a man advantage had ended. It is somewhat of a comfort to know that the Rangers aren’t good when they’re up a man either.
It’s worrying that the team took so long to show up for real in the third period, even though they nabbed a point from this occasion. If they had been playing as strongly all game as they were in the latter stages of the third, this score could have been different and the Bruins may have been able to earn both points.
Boston’s road-heavy, game-light February continues when the team trucks to the Buffalo Sabres on Feb. 15 for their third meeting so far this season. Between now and then, the blueliners of the team may be put through some more stringent drills at practice.