March 4, 2012

Rangers hand Bruins dejecting, 4-3 setback

By Jesse Connolly

Final: New York 4, Boston 3

Recap: The B's fell behind by two early on in the first period, as Ruslan Fedotenko tipped a shot past Tim Thomas and Carl Hagelin deflected one off d-man Greg Zanon to put the Rangers in control. After a Boston timeout, the Black and Gold turned the tables. Benoit Pouliot buried one for his first point in nine games, cutting the lead in half.

In the second, Jordan Caron ripped one past Henrik Lundqvist to make it 2-2, as the top two teams in the East headed into the third period tied. With 3:14 gone in the final frame, Tim Thomas made two tremendous stops, but Marian Gaborik came out from behind the net and tucked the puck into the open side to make it 3-2.

With 8:18 left in regulation, Milan Lucic set up David Krejci in the slot. His shot beat Lundqvist, making it 3-3. It took New York just 39 ticks to regain the lead, as a quick shot from Derek Stepan sailed over Thomas' left shoulder. That, unfortunately, was all she wrote in this one.

Records: Boston 38-23-3, 79 points; New York 42-15-7, 91 points

Key Play of the Game: Stepan's strike was just such a back-breaker. Boston had knotted things up and should've had momentum, especially after controlling play for most of the game. But Thomas simply didn't look ready for the center's quick release. 

Connolly's Commendations: After a cold stretch from every member of the third line, Caron had his best game as a pro. No. 38 tallied, added an assist and used his size well to win a number of battles along the boards. Caron, Pouliot and center Chris Kelly (9-of-14 on faceoffs) certainly deserve props for stepping up.

Brad Marchand may  have finsihed minus-2 on the afternoon, but the feisty winger generated may of Boston's best bids. No. 63 had Lundqvist beat twice but couldn't tally. His first chance rolled along the goal line and stayed out, while a third-period opportunity went through Lundqvist's five-hole but skidded off wide of the post.

Connolly's Critiques: It was a rare, disappointing afternoon for Patrice Bergeron. Despite the fact Marchand was buzzing all game, No. 37 hardly popped up on this scribe's radar. Bergeron finished 11-of-23 at the dot.

Thomas was forced into playing back-to-back matinees with the injury to Tuukka Rask yesterday afternoon, and it may have showed late. No. 30 certainly wasn't at fault on New York's first three goals, but he simply has to make the stop on Stepan's shot in the third period.

Notes: The Bruins have now gone 52 days since putting together back-to-back wins. Winger Dan Paille missed the game due to an upper-body injury. There were three fights in the opening frame, the first of which involved Mike Rupp and rookie Lane MacDermid, who was skating in his first NHL shift.

Final thoughts: Losing to the Islanders was certainly a tough pill to swallow for the B's, but Sunday's loss to the Blueshirts was a real kick in the family jewels. Boston outplayed New York for majority of the tilt, managed to put three pucks past the oft-unbeatable Lundqvist, yet couldn't leave MSG with a single point in hand.

Next: The B's will be back at it on Tuesday night when they take on the Maple Leafs up in Toronto.