Game #58 Bruins stifling defense ends Rangers win streak at four, Marchand stirs it up

Maybe the busy schedule finally caught up to them. Playing for the fourth time in six days, the Rangers didn’t have enough to beat the very tough Bruins. In their first home game since running the table on the road, they fell to the Bruins 3-1 at MSG earlier today.

The tough loss ended their season high win streak at four. It also finished a season series that wasn’t kind to the Blueshirts, who dropped all three games (0-2-1) to the better team in Boston. They proved why they’re one of the league’s best teams. From a defensive standpoint, they limited most if the Rangers’ shots and chances to the outside.

Even though they picked it up late thanks to a Mika Zibanejad power play goal on their fifth opportunity, it wasn’t enough to overcome a 2-0 deficit. Both goals scored by Boston came late in the first two periods. That included a fluky one from defenseman Charlie McAvoy that took a strange bounce past Alex Georgiev at 19:18 of the first period. Coach David Quinn would later indicate that that goal deflated his team, indicating that they didn’t respond well.

Despite being handed a double-minor for hi-sticking after David Krejci drew blood on The Warrior Ryan Lindgren, the Rangers did absolutely nothing on it. It was four wasted minutes that left fans exasperated. From listening to the broadcast on ESPN Radio, I could feel color analyst Dave Maloney’s frustration. Simply put, they were out-executed and outhustled by a disciplined Bruins penalty kill that prominently features Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, McAvoy, Brandon Carlo and Sean Kuraly.

Boston gave them chances. That included this sequence between Marchand and Lindgren which drew an immediate response from Pavel Buchnevich.

Marchand was the only player penalized. He was assessed a two-minute minor for cross-checking with 2:46 left in the second period. This was another opportunity to draw even. Instead, a mistake from Jacob Trouba during the power play led to Charlie Coyle converting a breakaway for a shorthanded goal with 1:18 left in the period. He broke in and went high glove on Georgiev to increase the Bruins lead to 2-0.

It was a backbreaking goal. One goal down was already tough against the stingy Bruins. Two behind felt virtually impossible. The Rangers weren’t playing good enough. They only mustered right shots in a period they had six minutes of power play time. Plus they gave up a shorthanded goal. Even though Zibanejad would eventually wind up scoring on Ranger killer Jaro Halak, the fact is they broke even on their sixth ranked power play. That’s brutal. It certainly won’t get it done versus an opportunistic opponent like Boston.

Marchand was involved throughout the day. He had a run in with Lindgren back in the first. Then, cross-checked him down to the ice late in the second to earn two minutes of alone time in the sin bin. He drew a tripping minor on Zibanejad with 27 seconds left in the second. Then, had plenty to say afterwards about Lindgren. Here’s some of it:

What these people fail to understand is that by tweeting at him, it only makes them look bad. The Rat owns these trolls. When they decide to go at him, he feeds them their lunch and makes them look foolish. It’s actually entertaining to see a professional athlete have so much fun with these people. They’re idiots. Marchand is a different cat. You’re not going to win.

For the longest time, it felt like the game would be an easy shutout for Halak, who may as well change his name to Jaro Hasek. He owns the Rangers. Just ask Henrik Lundqvist, who’s been reduced to a spectator on the bench. Vince Mercogliano tried to ask Quinn why he started Georgiev, but got the response to his question in the form of the coach liking how well his backup had played.

It took a fifth Boston penalty for the Rangers to finally figure it out. Rather than go with four forwards and Adam Fox as the lone defenseman, Quinn went with five forwards. This time, it worked. Zibanejad took a Artemi Panarin pass and was able to beat Hasek Halak for his 25th goal with 10:08 remaining. Ryan Strome continued his turnaround by adding a secondary assist.

Buoyed by the Zibanejad goal, the Rangers finally applied real pressure on Halak. They came close to scoring the tying goal a couple of times. It sounded like Halak robbed them. He denied Phil Di Giuseppe on one try and was equal to the task on the other late chances. He wound up with 25 saves including eight of nine in the third period.

Eventually, Georgiev went to the bench for an extra attacker. However, the Bruins gave up nothing. Eventually, Marchand got the puck to Bergeron for the put away with 13 seconds remaining.

A player the Rangers missed was Tony DeAngelo, who sat out the second game in a row due to a tough hit he delivered. He was badly missed on the power play and in transition. He had some choice words for Marchand.

Something tells me you haven’t seen the end of this rivalry. Though it might be one-sided right now, the Rangers showed that they’re not a pushover like they were the first time they lost to them in November. A game so miserable, we left with eight minutes left. They weren’t good enough today. However, the way they fought to the bitter end is a good sign. This team doesn’t quit.

They’re learning. The process will continue on Wednesday night against the Blackhawks. A winnable game. We’ll know more about Igor Shesterkin by then. Hopefully, he can return to the net soon.

Battle Of Hudson Three 🌟

3rd 🌟 Charlie Coyle, Bruins (shorthanded goal for game-winner at 18:42 of 2nd, +2 in 15:57)

2nd 🌟 Jaro Halak, Bruins (25 saves to continue his mastery over NYR)

1st 🌟 Charlie McCoy, Bruins (goal, 3 blocked shots, 2 hits, +1 in 24:52)

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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