Boston, MA - The Boston Bruins rebounded from their nightmarish 6-1 defeat at the hands of the Red Wings on Wednesday by coming from behind to beat the New York Rangers 3-2 at TD Garden on Friday afternoon.
Head Coach Claude Julien could only describe the clunker of a game against Detroit as “disastrous,” and the Bruins stressed right away that the Friday matinee against the Rangers would be a perfect opportunity to put the loss behind them and come back strong.
“I don’t know if we want to learn any from that game but we probably want to kind of erase it by having a good showing today,” said Julien before the game. “I think it’s important for us right now to come back with a strong game after a game like that and if that happens then it kind of gets us back on the right track here.”
“I think we realize everything we did wrong and we really didn’t play our game at all,” said Brad Marchand. “We have to get a lot hungrier today and New York is a very good team.”
“We have to bounce back. We need a big effort today; it’s a pretty big game for us,” said winger Shawn Thornton.
The Bruins got that big effort in their patented style; hard-nosed, gritty hockey with ramped up physicality and solid goaltending from Tuukka Rask.
The Rangers and Bruins were hitting from the opening puck drop, and by the end of the game there were 59 tallied hits, as well as a rare and thunderous fight out of Zdeno Chara.
“It makes a difference,” said Patrice Bergeron of the physicality. “I think it’s part of our game and it gets guys going. Also it sends a message to your teammates that you’re ready to play, but also it opens things up and creates space.”
“Sometimes it creates turnovers as well which is part of our game on the forecheck as well, so it’s important to keep that going.”
The Bruins opened the first period with ample energy and generated a few solid scoring opportunities, but were unable to finish until Brad Marchand buried a top shelf one-timer from the right circle on a feed from Zdeno Chara with 8:18 left to play in the first period.
However, the Rangers would score two goals within 1:22 of one another (from Rick Nash and Ryan McDonagh respectively) and take a 2-1 lead into the third period. The Rangers had gone 101 games without losing in regulation after taking a lead into the third period (95-0-6 in that span).
But the Bruins killed off 1:15 of shorthanded time remaining on a Marchand penalty to open the third and then tied up the score 20 seconds later when Bergeron slapped a puck from Marchand into traffic in front of Henrik Lundqvist. The puck found its way in the net after glancing off of Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi.
It was a bounce back point for Bergeron, who hadn’t registered one in six games.
“Yeah it’s great to get a bounce,” said Bergeron. “I feel like it’s been a while since I got a nice bounce like that. I’ll definitely take it but it’s just good I can look forward to tomorrow’s game now.”
The Bruins then got the game-winning goal on a Zdeno Chara slap shot that zipped through Lundqvist’s five-hole. Krejci added to his team-leading assist total on the play and now has 15 on the season.
Despite the breakdowns that caused them to fall behind 2-1, the Bruins looked much more like the team that has worked its way to the top of the Eastern Conference; and nothing like the team that got embarrassed in Detroit during a game where there was no energy to be found.
“I thought we were playing pretty well throughout the whole game,” said Julien. “After two periods I was pretty happy with our game.”
“They scored a couple of goals, maybe a mistake here or there, but that didn’t penalize the way that the first period was. So I just told our guys to keep doing what they were doing. I thought we were playing with lots of energy.”
Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist played well throughout the game (he was also aided by Chara and Torey Krug ringing iron on separate opportunities), but the Bruins were persistent enough in putting pucks on his net and creating chances.
“It’s always tough to score on him and he does a great job there and then they play a really good defense, so it’s not easy to get those goals by them,” said Tuukka Rask, who stopped 17 out of 19 shots.
“I thought we had lots of chances. Either he made a great save or it was a missed opportunity but we were creating them and we just had to stick with it,” said Julien.
“I thought we did a great job of managing the puck in the offensive zone and kept them in there for quite a while and we weren’t in and out. So a lot of offensive zone time, I thought that was important for us too.”
Overall, the Bruins played in a consistently solid way that showed how much they truly wanted to move forward from the loss to Detroit, and did so in comeback win fashion the likes of which the New York Rangers hadn’t let happen to them in years.
“It’s the personality of our team; you get beat the way you did last game, you want to come back and certainly buy yourselves back,” said Julien. “I thought today we just played a good solid game all around; lots of physical play, lots of emotion.”
“It’s about finding ways to win and bouncing back and that last game didn’t sit well with us and instead of getting upset, we were going to get determined. So we came in yesterday, had a good practice and were ready to play today.”
---Written by Ethan Hartley for BostonBruins.com