The New York Rangers entered the afternoon with a record of 17-12-3, coming off a 4-2 win over the Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles Kings at Madison Square Garden. The Bruins themselves split back-to-back games against the Detroit Red Wings and Washington Capitals Wednesday and Thursday, beating Detroit 3-2 in overtime before losing at home to Washington 5-3. Winger David Pastrnak entered the night riding at 10-game point streak.
Boston would start the game off fast, which resulted in Ryan Spooner finding the back of the net off a cross-crease pass from Torey Krug. However, the Rangers would challenge the call for offsides, and it was determined that David Krejci had in fact brought the puck into the zone illegally, keeping the score 0-0.
The first official goal of the game came 14:42 into the period when Michael Grabner flew the zone and fired a shot wide on the blocker side of Tuukka Rask. The puck would take a wild bounce off the end boards back in front of the net, catching the back of Rask’s foot and redirecting into the net.
Only 2:14 into the period, Krejci would take a high-sticking call on Brady Skjei. It took just 27 seconds into the power play for J.T. Miller to split between Brandon Carlo and Patrice Bergeron, and break in on Rask, beating the Bruins netminder with a quick move low, glove-side, to extend the Rangers’ lead to two.
The Zuccarello penalty was cut short by a Spooner hooking call. However, David Desharnais would get caught holding the stick of Tim Schaller sending the Bruins to the powerplay yet again.
Boston would cash in on the ensuing odd-man advantage when Danton Heinen tipped a Zdeno Chara shot over the right shoulder of Rangers’ goaltender Henrik Lundqvist with 4:56 left in the period.
Boston would fail to convert on the run-over of power play time, but would get another chance a man up 3:56 into the period when Skjei took a holding call on Brad Marchand who had a partial break in on Lundqvist. After multiple close chances, Pastrnak finally found Marchand with a cross-ice pass left to right, beating Lundqvist with a perfectly-placed one-timer past the near post.
The Bruins would get caught with two men up-ice as the Rangers broke in on a two-on-one. In an attempt to put a man on the ice to catch up with the play, Boston attempted to cheat and send a man on the ice before his replacement had reached the bench. They would be called for too-many-men 1:05 into extra time, with Pastrnak serving the call.
With 51 seconds elapsed in the Ranger power play, Zuccarello fired a shot from inside the right circle, beating Rask high short-side with a quick wrist shot to win the game.
Boston outshot New York 35-28 in the game, also winning the majority of faceoffs at 61.5%. The Rangers went 2/5 on the power play while the Bruins were 1/7.
Next Game: Monday December 18th vs. the Columbus Blue Jackets at TD Garden 7pm EST
Boston was the better team in the first period. Despite the score after the first 20 minutes, the Bruins dominated the pace of play and were on the receiving end of two unfortunate situations with a no-goal offsides play and a bad bounce off the end boards that found its way to the back of the net.
While the Bruins had a strong first period, the second 20 minutes was noticeably less energetic. Despite the Rangers taking four penalties in the period, the Boston power play looked lethargic, giving up more chances than it was producing. A goal from Danton Heinen late in the period gave some life to his team, with Tuukka Rask doing his part by making important saves on the backend.
Boston was again the better team in the third period. Yet due to big saves by Henrik Lundqvist, the Bruins were able to score only one goal in the final 20 minutes, even when awarded two power play opportunities.
Check out this kick-save from the King:
Boston hosts a daunting Columbus team Monday that has arguably the best goaltender in the league in Sergei Bobrovsky. Scoring was hard to find Saturday against the Rangers, expect it to come no easier against the Blue Jackets.