Rangers falter late in loss to NHL-leading Bruins

Crippled defensively by the loss of Ryan Lindgren, the Rangers ran out of answers for the NHL-leading Bruins.

After going back and forth for much of the game, responding to each of the Bruins’ first two goals, the Blueshirts’ defensive breakdowns became too much to overcome as Boston pulled away with a three-goal third period to hand the Rangers a 5-2 loss Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.

The loss ended a three-game winning streak for the Rangers, while Boston improved to a head-turning 10-1 and extended its win streak to seven straight. The quick early start is even more impressive, because the Bruins are still without defenseman Charlie McAvoy and forward David Krejci.

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The Bruins only loss this season was in Ottawa over two weeks ago. Additionally, Boston goalie Linus Ullmark improved to 8-0-0 with a 16-save performance.

Barclay Goodrow fights Trent Frederic during the second period of the Rangers' 5-2 loss to the Bruins.
Barclay Goodrow fights Trent Frederic during the second period of the Rangers’ 5-2 loss to the Bruins.
Robert Sabo

The Rangers managed to remain competitive until the final frame despite being down to five defensemen after Lindgren exited early in the first period with an upper-body injury. It was a 1-1 game at the start of the third period, but Charlie Coyle tapped in a wraparound feed from Hampus Lindholm at 2:56 to give the Bruins the lead.

Adam Fox responded 48 seconds later to keep the Rangers in it. A tough screen on Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin and an odd-man rush, however, allowed the Bruins to run away with the game. An empty-net goal from Lindholm further sealed it.

The Rangers were on the defensive for much of the first period, which saw the Bruins take a 1-0 lead on a goal from David Pastrnak, but were able to tilt the ice in their favor in the second stanza.

Igor Shesterkin defends the net from Brad Marchand during the Rangers' loss.
Igor Shesterkin defends the net from Brad Marchand during the Rangers’ loss.
Robert Sabo

Jimmy Vesey evened the score with his first goal of the season and his first for the Rangers since March 29, 2019, burying a slick feed from Mika Zibanejad just over halfway through the second period. The Rangers managed to ride some momentum from there, outshooting Boston 12-9 and dialing up the physicality with a 32-13 advantage in hits through the first two periods.

Defenseman Braden Schneider then played to his “Baby Trouba” nickname and lit up Bruins forward Trent Frederic with a massive hit near the boards. The Bruins took exception and suddenly the ice was covered in gloves. Schneider lined up with A.J. Greer, while Barclay Goodrow took on Frederic.

Because of Shesterkin, the Rangers narrowly escaped the opening period trailing by just a goal. When Pastrnak was called for interference on Ryan Lindgren — which presumably knocked the Rangers defenseman out for the remainder of the game — just over five minutes in, the Bruins inability to put up a single shot on goal indicated just how tight of a matchup it was going to be. Boston did have two shorthanded chances.

Coming into the game, Boston was not only the highest-scoring team in the NHL (averaging 4.40 goals per game), but also the most effective penalty-killing club (94.6 percent). That presented an obstacle for the Rangers, whose power play is a driving force of their offense. They ultimately went 0-for-2 with the man-advantage.

Shesterkin made two vital saves, on Taylor Hall and Tomas Nosek, which sandwiched Pastrnak’s goal at 12:53 of the first period. After flinging a no-angle shot from below the faceoff circle, Pastrnak pushed the Bruins ahead with his eighth goal of the season.

source: nypost.com