Game 24: Nothing Bruin for Blueshirts, Pastrnak gives Buchnevich a lesson, Chytil stays hot in loss

Early on, it was all smiles for Pavel Buchnevich, Filip Chytil and the Rangers. But blown chances on the power play cost them in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Bruins. AP Photo by New York Rangers via Getty Images

Sometimes, you miss games due to more important stuff happening. Like trading in my 2017 Black Honda Accord for a beautiful 2019 White Honda Accord. As you can guess, that took up the whole day. But in the end, it’s all worth it.

Even if I tracked the game and it didn’t wind up the way I hoped. You had to know that even with the Bruins playing a D game due to perhaps too much turkey and stuffing, eventually they were going to show up for the big Black Friday NBC match against the Rangers. Truth be told, I thought they had a chance due to how they’d played into Thanksgiving. Particularly not having to face Patrice Bergeron or Tuukka Rask.

It sounded like it was going to go the Rangers way for a while. One of my keys came through for the only goal in a good first period. Pavel Buchnevich scored his fifth after a power play expired. Tony DeAngelo continued his hot play by making a great pass in the slot that Buchnevich fired top shelf for an even strength goal at 14:14. Jacob Trouba added a secondary helper by setting the play up.

Following Buchnevich’s goal, the Rangers controlled much of the action. During a break with Honda, I listened to Kenny Albert on the radio say that the shots were 12-2 after the tally. This was a few minutes into the second period. They were outplaying and outshooting the Bruins by a wide margin. What followed was a nice transition in the neutral zone from Artemiy Panarin to Ryan Strome for a wrist shot that Jaro Halak leaked out to Filip Chytil for his eighth goal in his 15th game since coming up. Tomorrow will be his 100th career game in New Jersey.

With the Bruins flat and unable to force Henrik Lundqvist into many difficult stops, it looked like it was going to be a Ranger win. Finally on a winning streak, they were in good position to make it four in a row. After a fight that Charlie McAvoy started to spark his team, Brendan Smith earned the decision by doing his job.

It didn’t look like the scrap was going to wake up Boston. Instead, they took liberties with Ranger players. A Matt Grzelcyk hi-sticking minor on Mika Zibanejad gave the Rangers a power play. Less than a minute later, Boston fourth line center Sean Kuraly took an unnecessary cross-check minor on Adam Fox. That handed the Blueshirts a two-man advantage for 61 seconds.

In essence, this was the game. David Quinn knew it by using his timeout to rest his best players. What the heck for? How many times have we seen or on this special occasion, heard this team fail on a five-on-three due to being too passive and reluctant to shoot? It never fails. Instead of opening up a three goal lead against a quality opponent that they needed, the Rangers blew it completely. They let the Bruins off the hook by only getting two shots on goal while the hosts outhustled them and got big clears to get the home crowd behind them.

Sure enough, Kuraly tipped in a Jake DeBrusk point shot on a play set up from Brandon Carlo for a momentum shifting goal that cut it to 2-1 with 1:32 left in the period. That’s how it always works in these games. You get a huge opportunity to put away a very good team and don’t do it. Then pay the price.

Funny enough, I sadly predicted that David Pastrnak would tie the game in the third. But I said on a power play because Boston had none. Astonishingly, they only got one chance midway through the third with the game tied and Smith off for hooking David Krejci. It didn’t matter. The damage was already done.

I’ve followed the game for a long time. Maybe someone can explain how Pastrnak was left so wide open on a five-on-five situation as Buchnevich wasn’t even aware where the top finisher was. It amounted to an easy finish for the sniper’s league-leading 24th from Krejci and DeBrusk. That goal tied it at 4:27 of the third period. Chris Kreider was also in no man’s land on the tying marker. Brady Skjei was a bystander as DeBrusk outworked him to set up the original Krejci shot that deflected right to Pastrnak.

The astonishing aspect is the Bruins gave the Rangers another chance to get a win when Par Lindholm drew blood on a hi-sticking double minor to Smith with 7:02 left in regulation. Predictably, they again failed miserably. The power outage cost them. They finished 0-for-6.

Instead, the game went to overtime. It didn’t take long for Pastrnak to completely undress Buchnevich by going around him before making a unbelievable pass back to a wide open Krejci for the OT winner past Lundqvist at 1:40. It’s a play that will be replayed for a while.

If you’re not upset like the reactionary and unrealistic fans are, then you’ll take the positive out of this game. I think my Twitter buddy summed it up best.

While it sucks to lose to Boston again with Brad Marchand missing time due to concussion protocol during the third on a collision with a accidental Trouba elbow, the reality is that this is a young team. They’re going to make mistakes. They lost today’s game due a power failure. They didn’t register one shot on that five-on-three. Unacceptable. The six power plays had a total of only six shots. That’s cruddy. Maybe put Kaapo Kakko back on the first unit. He’s been very quiet lately.

The shots at five-on-five were 22-21 Rangers. That’s significant progress from the Garden embarrassment a month ago that we were at. Losses are never fun. It’s time for them to move on. Strome put it best afterwards.

I don’t expect Saturday’s game at the Devils to be easy. They’re the rested team following a wild win at Montreal on Thanksgiving. They already got the Rangers once. This should be an Alexandar Georgiev start after Quinn rode Lundqvist this week. We’ll see how he and the team respond.

Battle Of Hudson 3 🌟

3rd 🌟 Filip Chytil, Rangers (8th goal in 15 games, finished with 4 shots and +1 in 15:45)

2nd 🌟 David Krejci, Bruins (great pass to set up Pastrnak goal and overtime winner, 11 for 16 on draws, +2 in 19:28)

1st 🌟 David Pastrnak, Bruins (league-leading 24th goal plus unreal move and primary assist on Krejci’s OT winner, 5 shots on 10 attempts, +2 in 21:42)

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of Hudson administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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