While Friday night’s matchup between the Bruins and Rangers resembled a boxing match far more than a hockey game, Boston was able to come up victorious once again. Following a wild game on Wednesday where the Bruins took it 3-2 in overtime, the Rangers tried to patch their wounds at Madison Square Garden.
The first period came and went quickly, with nothing to show for it. Without goalscorer Artemi Panarin, the Rangers clearly lacked offensive prowess. Meanwhile, the Bruins particularly lacked discipline on the night. Near the end of the first period, Brandon Carlo picked up the first of many penalties to come during the game. Jaroslav Halak and Igor Shesterkin reigned supreme, making a handful of important saves to keep the game scoreless.
After a quiet first period, the second was full of action. Just over two minutes in, Charlie Coyle slashed Gauthier, marking the second penalty for the Bruins. The Bruins would actually record more shots on the following power play. Right when you thought full strength would be imminent, Brendan Lemieux picked up a boarding call for implanting Sean Kuraly into the side boards.
Yet again, the opportunity would go begging with the game still knotted. In a rough altercation two minutes later, Jacob Trouba, Colin Blackwell, and Charlie McAvoy would all head to the penalty box for roughing. The next few minutes proved to be dominant for the Bruins. Finally, it was Nick Ritchie that forced home the first, and only goal of the game. Just about halfway through the game, Ritchie was able to drive the net and stuff home the puck at the near post of Shesterkin. The assists went to David Krejci and Jeremy Lauzon.
The rest of the game provided fans with exciting fights and bone crushing hits. Straight off of the face-off following the Ritchie goal, it was Trent Frederic and Brendan Lemieux with the opening fight of the game. Lemieux would visit the box for the second time on the night, and tensions stayed high. The Rangers found themselves on the power play once again thanks to Marchand and Kuraly penalties.
Though, the growing theme of wasting chances continued for New York. Sure enough, another fight broke out minutes later. This time, Bruins defenseman Jeremy Lauzon was sent to the box for an additional misconduct penalty. This came on the fight with Pavel Buchnevich of the Rangers. The Bruins would go into the second intermission nursing a lead in a tightly contested game.
Tensions did not cool off during the intermission, as Jacob Trouba was charged with his second penalty just a minute into the third period. Charlie McAvoy would then be the third player to take a seat in the penalty box two separate times during the game. The next ten minutes went pretty silent, it was a defensive battle. Both Halak and Shesterkin came up with some important saves to keep the game right where it was. The next penalty would come with just over a minute left in the game. It was yet again Charlie McAvoy, picking up his third penalty. This time, McAvoy was called for delay of game. The sixth and final power play for New York came and went, they finished the game zero for six.
While it wasn’t pretty, the Bruins pick up another two points in regulation. The lack of discipline for Boston may have been costly against a more offensive-minded team. Nevertheless, the B’s continued their point streak to ten straight games. Jaroslav Halak picked up the shutout, his 51st of his career, as he saved all 21 shots that were fired his way.
The unlikely source of Nick Ritchie scored the one and only goal in the game. The dramatic season continues for New York, as eight of their last eleven games have been decided by one goal.
Action continues on Saturday night for the Bruins, as they travel down to Long Island to take on the Islanders. The Islanders are the more worthy New York matchup, holding a 5-4-3 record. On the heels of their match-up with the Rangers last night, the Bruins must recover quickly.
Tuukka Rask will be between the pipes tonight, and defenseman John Moore will see the ice. Connor Clifton has been ruled out of Saturday night’s game. Holding the second best record in the entire NHL, the Bruins will look to continue their recent success. Tuukka Rask faced 17 shots on goal in the Bruins last game with the Islanders, but they have turned on the offense as of late.
The New York Islanders are also the only team in the league that can say they have beaten the Boston Bruins in regulation during the 2021 season. The Bruins will seek revenge Saturday night, as they mach into Nassau Coliseum for a 7:00 puck drop.