Bruins trump Rangers, sweep season series
For the first time since the 1982-1983 campaign, the Bruins swept the season series (3-0) with the Rangers. Boston (38-17-5) doubled up New York (33-26-3), 6-3, Sunday at Madison Square Garden. The B’s bounced back after a pair of frustrating losses – at Buffalo in overtime Wednesday and Saturday at TD Garden vs. Washington – to pick up their first win after the Olympic break (so it’s time to put that lame excuse to rest).
It took most of the first period for the Bruins to show up as rookie J.T. Miller gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead thanks to his breakaway goal 3:20 into the contest. It was all thanks to a turnover by David Krejci in the neutral zone. Jarome Iginla salvaged the first 20 minutes for the B’s as he tied it at 18:07. Milan Lucic beat two Rangers to the puck in the corner then passed to Krejci, who fed Iginla. New York outshot Boston, 20-9, in the first so the Rangers should have been up two or three goals if it wasn’t for Rask’s heroics.
That kicked off three consecutive goals for the visitors as Dougie Hamilton and Carl Soderberg scored in the first half of the second period. Brad Richards cut it to 3-2 late in the frame to give New York some hope going into the dressing room. Gregory Campbell scored a pair of goals to put it away for Boston, including a shorthanded tally (Boston’s eighth of the season). Ryan McDonagh’s late power-play goal made it 5-3, but Lucic ended it with a tip in.
Boston returns to the Garden to face the Panthers (23-31-7) on Tuesday (7, NESN) – the eve of the NHL trade deadline. The Bruins host the Capitals (29-23-10), again, Thursday (7, NESN).
What they’ll be saying: If you are prone to overreacting, the first period that the Bruins turned in probably made you want to trade away half the team. Thankfully, members of the B’s front office aren’t the knee-jerk reaction types, so after the first intermission the team predictably settled down and started to take control of the game.
It was a bit surprising to see Rask (36 saves) in there again after Saturday’s loss, but as usual Claude Julien knew his team better than us slobs in the media. Rask held the fort for a while as his team slowly picked it up. It’s easy to see this going the other way if Chad Johnson was in between the pipes, especially the way he played on Wednesday in Buffalo.
Campbell came into this evening with three goals on the season and he nearly doubled that with two goals (fifth time in his career that he’s done that). The second goal went off his skate but it was reviewed and stood up as the referees determined that he didn’t kick it in the net intentionally. The fourth line is so much more formidable when Campbell is on top of his game like this.
Henrik Lundqvist (27 saves) is normally outstanding against Boston but even he is susceptible to rough starts once in a blue moon. This was the first time in 33 regular season appearances vs. Bruins that he allowed three goals or more (Boston did that in the playoffs last season as well).
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter: @RichSlate