Not even Don Draper could spin what happened Sunday afternoon into anything other than a disaster.
The Rangers are two losses away from a premature and unsatisfying end to a season which began with Stanley Cup aspirations after absorbing a 5-2 loss to the Bruins at the TD Garden in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The Bruins lead the best-of-seven series, 2-0. Game 3 is Tuesday night at The Garden.
What is most troubling is that the Rangers have not had an appropriate response to the Bruins’ momentum surges in the first two games. For all intents and purposes, yesterday’s matinee was decided 26 seconds into the third period when Boston’s nominal second-liners Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand hooked up on the Bruins’ fourth goal.
Bergeron carried the puck along the wall into the Rangers’ end while being hounded by Michael Del Zotto. The Bruins center held off the defenseman, then fired a perfect saucer pass to a driving Marchand when Dan Girardi momentarily spied Bergeron. In an instant, the Rangers were down 4-2.
Milan Lucic added his third of the post-season 12:13 later to end the scoring. Boston outshot the Rangers 11-10 in the third. The Rangers had a 37-32 advantage in shots on goal.
Torey Krug, Gregory Campbell and Johnny Boychuk also scored goals for the Bruins. Boychuk’s top-of-the-circle wrister at the 12:08 mark of the second period was the game-winning goal.
What will rankle the Rangers is that, for as poorly as they played Sunday afternoon, they had a chance to win. Ryan Callahan and Rick Nash scored goals that tied the game at 1-1 and 2-2, respectively.
However, the Rangers could not score a go-ahead goal, and were unable to slow Boston’s rushes which were marked by defensemen consistently jumping into the play.
Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.