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Bitter Sweet Victory

The New York Rangers had the Boston Bruins in the palm of their hands for the majority of the much anticipated battle last night at the TD Garden. While the play was dominated for most of the game by the Rangers, the Bruins did not let up, and the last 91 seconds of the game would prove to be a sign of that.

The Rangers started off strong in the first period with a turn over in the neutral zone by the Bruins. Rick Nash would pick up the offense and drive to the net and Carl Hagelin would capitalize on the rebound, getting the Blueshirts on the board first. Second period would begin at 1-0, Rangers in the lead, but at 8:17 in the second period, Derek Stepan would benefit from Milan Lucic’s mistake on a pass to defenseman, Dougie Hamilton. Stepan skated the puck in and fired a snap shot from the top of the left circle past Bruins’ goaltender, Tuukka Rask, to up the Ranger lead to 2-0. At 2:07 in the third period, Anton Stralman would sneak a flukey shot under the glove of Rask to make it 3-0 Rangers. It was Stralman’s first goal in 40 NHL games.

Game over? Not just yet. The Bruins would not let up and at 8:44 in the third period, Lucic would keep the play alive with a pass to Dennis Seidenberg. Seidenberg would rifle one at the net, and David Krejci banged the rebound home, 3-1. With 1:37 left in the third period and the goalie pulled, Andrew Ference would fire a shot on net, and Nathan Horton would beat Henrik Lundqvist on the rebound to make it 3-2.

The heartbreaker of the night came just 48 seconds after the Bruins second goal. A shot from Patrice Bergeron would be blocked from the high slot, and Brad Marchand would receive the deflection and sneak one past Lundqvist from down below the right circle. Regulation time ended and the Bruins clawed their way back to stay in the game. The Ranger captain, Ryan Callahan would end the game in the shoot out to get the Blueshirts 2 points, but the Bruins would sneak away with 1 point for the night.

Bitter Sweet Victory
New York Rangers left wing Rick Nash (61) scores past Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask (40) during a shootout of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013. The Rangers won 4-3.
(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

It was nothing short of a battle on Causeway Street. While the Rangers commanded the play for 58 minutes, the Bruins proved that hockey is certainly a game of inches. Within only 48 seconds, the Bruins would tie the game and the hard-nose Blueshirts would find themselves back at ground zero. The Rangers did show some courage and composure by refraining from caving in during OT after things quickly went downhill in the remaining seconds of regulation time.

“We got the 2 points,” said Lundqvist, who had 37 saves. “That’s the most important thing. But it was frustrating in those last couple of minutes, obviously.” (NHL.com)

The Rangers and Bruins have been separated by one goal in 18 of their last 23 meetings, including seven games that required extra time and five that went to the shootout, dating back to Mar. 24, 2007. Four of the other five games during the stretch were decided by two goals, while one was decided by three goals (3-0 win on Feb. 14, 2012 at BOS). New York is 11-5-2 in one-goal games against the Bruins over the span.

The Rangers have won six of the last nine contests after dropping their first two games of the season. The Blueshirts have also out-scored their opponents, 9-2, in the last two games. It is also important to note that the penalty kill has held opponents scoreless in each of the last two games (7-7, 100.0% over the span).

“We talked about we finally climbed about the .500 mark. And now we need to start getting better as a hockey team and keep trying to put some wins in here,” Tortorella said. “It’s a good team we played against; it’s a tough building to play in. We did some really good things. But we also have a lot of things, especially situational play as far as protecting that lead, [to improve on]. We were really good at it [Sunday] night. I thought we were really good for most of the third period. But we died a little bit late. So we’ll take the two points, but also teach.” (NHL.com)

Honorable Mention:

Henrik Lundqvist—has held opponents to two goals or less in five of his last seven games, posting a record of 4-3-0 with a 1.87 GAA and a .927 Sv% over the span (according to Elias Sports Bureau)

Carl Hagelin — five points (three goals, two assists) in the last four games

Marc Staal —four assists in the last four games

 

The Blueshirts’ next game is this Thursday at Madison Square Garden against the New York Islanders at 7:00 p.m. ET.

 

Kaitlin Sullivan

Kaitlin Sullivan

Massachusetts native, and avid hockey fanatic, I grew up in a "hockey family" and began spending countless hours in frigid hockey rinks beginning at age 2. I eat, sleep, breathe, and love every aspect of the game and I have always known that hockey was my passion. Unfortunately being a 5'5" female, however, would not grant me a place in the show. The next best thing would be writing and hopefully someday becoming a rink-side NHL reporter. My past reporting experience includes work with ESPNU Campus Connection, WHDH Channel 7 Boston, and Madison Square Garden Network. I am currently a sports broadcasting major at Boston College. Twitter: @kaitEsull
Kaitlin Sullivan

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