In the second game of this weekend’s back to back the Bruins looked to win their third game in a row, and ninth in the last ten. This would also be Halak’s first game back since missing his start last Sunday. The original 6 rivalry isn’t what it was just a handful of years ago, but both teams did their best to ramp up the intensity in this match up. There certainly was no lack of animosity between the two teams and it didn’t take long for tempers to flare.
This was not a barn burner out of the gate as both teams started off at a reasonably slow pace, trading a few chances. Just about four minutes in Pastrnak would enter the offensive zone on a partial break and got a stick across his hands with no call coming from the refs. The game finally turned it on as Marchand and Lindgren got into it at the Rangers bench. A roughing call put the Bruins on the power play with about nine minutes left in the period. The Bruins could not capitalize on the early opportunity, however, and the teams would continue to exchange chances. It looked as if the first period would end scoreless until with under a minute left Rangers goalie Georgiev attempted to clear the puck out of the zone. The puck was held in by McAvoy , who fired a shot from the point into some traffic in front. This shot had eyes, and after deflecting off of two Rangers players the puck somehow went over the arm of Georgiev and into the back of the net. This brought the first to a close with the Bruins leading 1-0.
The Bruins would use the momentum of the first goal and took over the game. For the first five minutes of the period it seemed as if the Bruins were in the offensive zone the entire time, but they could not get the puck in the net. A questionable bounce minor for high sticking against Krejci looked like a possible momentum changer in the game. The Bruins responded to the challenge absolutely suffocating the Rangers power play keeping the 1-0 lead. With about three minutes left a scrum at the Rangers net would result in the Bruins going on the penalty kill once again, with Marchand going to the box. The Bruins penalty kill would continue to stifle the Rangers, and with 30 second remaining on the kill Coyle would come up big. Coyle forced a turnover at his own blue line and would take the puck and to end lifting a forehand wrist shot over the glove hand of Georgiev making it 2-0 Bruins.
The third would see the refs continue making some questionable calls, with Kuhlman being called for interference when he was the player checked to the ice. The Bruins penalty kill would once again do its job going 4-4 to that point. It would take another penalty, this time a correctly called one on Krug, for the Rangers to capitalize. The Rangers would take advantage on their fifth power play of the game as Zibanejad would fire an absolute snipe to the blocker side corner. The goal would not shake Halak, however, as he continued to turn the Rangers away preserving the one goal lead. The Bruins would seal the victory on an empty net goal from Bergeron. The final score the Bruins 3 and the Rangers 1.
Final Thoughts/Three Stars
The first star in today’s game goes to Charlie Coyle. Coyle was once again all over the ice in a great three zone effort and the short handed goal was just the cherry on top of a great overall performance. The second star goes to Jarolsav Halak who turned away 25 of 26 shots and 21 of 21 at even strength for his 15th win on the year. Finally the third star goes the Charlie McAvoy, who opened the scoring and turned in another solid defensive game. McAvoy has flipped the offensive switch recently and it has been a big reason for the teams winning ways. The win keeps the Bruins in first place in the East, providing some much needed breathing room over Tampa. The Bruins will now enjoy a few days off before facing the Oilers on Wednesday night in a clash of division leaders. With the trade deadline looming remember to keep checking back for all the latest news on the Bruins and all of your Boston teams.