The Boston Bruins completed their season series with the New York Rangers with a lackluster 5-4 loss. They defeated the Rangers in their first game of the set 4-0, but were unable to beat the Rangers in game two, with New York playing their final game of the season. The Bruins won the season series 5-3, and the Rangers will end their season in 5th place in the East Division, one spot out of the playoffs.
Heading into the game Thursday night, the Rangers were spent emotionally and physically after all of the drama surrounding Tom Wilson and the Washington Capitals earlier in the week. Just a day removed from “fight night” with the Caps, the Rangers came into Boston just looking to finish off the season playing as well as possible. The Rangers put their best foot forward, but the Bruins played a strong all around game and dominated all night. Patrice Bergeron and Charlie McAvoy got the offense going in the first for the Bruins with a pair of goals, and generally controlled the pace of the game during the opening frame.
The Bruins then carried their momentum into the second as Jake DeBrusk scored his 5th goal of the season to extend the lead to 3-0. This was the most dominant period for Boston, outshooting the Rangers 19-3 and suffocating them defensively. The scoring would be capped by Brandon Carlo’s 3rd goal of the season in his second game back in over a month. Jeremy Swayman recorded the shutout, making just 15 saves. The shutout was his second of the season and he improved his rookie season record to 7-2.
The Bruins did exactly what they needed to do playing against a team that was as drained as any hockey team really can be. They got the lead early and never looked back, which gave them the opportunity to improve their game and get guys like Brandon Carlo some much needed playing time. Jake DeBrusk got on the board, hopefully a sign that he may be turning a corner on what has been a wash of a season for him. All in all, a good game that served as a tune up for the final two games of the season against future playoff foes, as well as preparation for the quickly approaching playoffs.
The second game should have been similar to the first, a tune up against a team with nothing left to play for. For the first two periods it was just that, a solid game for both teams. The Rangers, despite being eliminated from the playoffs already, have a good, young team that is poised to be very strong in the future. Both teams looked good in the first two periods with Nick Ritchie scoring the lone goal for the Bruins in the beginning 40 minutes.
The third period was sloppy, to say the least. The Bruins surrendered 4 goals in the period after taking a 2-1 lead early with a goal from David Pastrnak. It’s a disappointing look for the Bruins as the regular season winds down, especially after playing 5 strong defensive periods against a good offensive team. It was also a missed opportunity for the Bruins to gain some ground in the standings. Regardless of where they finish they’ll be playing a really good team in the first round, but the higher they finish in the standings, the better off they’ll be, so losing to the Rangers today was relatively detrimental to their seeding hopes.
The Bruins final two games will come against the Capitals and the New York Islanders, two teams they have a very high chance of meeting in the first and second rounds of the playoffs. Both games will be a good test of how the Bruins will fare when the playoffs begin within the next 10 days or so, so it’s important for Boston to bring their A game and pick up some much needed points.
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