BOSTON - The Bruins know well the frustrations of missed opportunities. A number of games, particularly earlier in the season, left Boston lamenting their inability to bury golden offensive chances.
Such was the case again on Thursday evening.
The Bruins landed 33 shots on New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, but only solved him once in a 2-1 loss at TD Garden. A dominant performance from the New York netminder, who was celebrating his 35th birthday, stopped the Bruins three-game win streak and stuck Boston with just its second loss in nine games under interim head coach Bruce Cassidy.
"Well, the takeaway is we lost. And at this time of the year, we need points. That's the big picture. But certainly we look at every game and say 'well, what did we do well?' - we started well," said Cassidy. "We didn't finish the way we'd like to in terms of scoring in the first period. We did a lot of things well, but not enough obviously. They're a good hockey club."
Video: Bruins react after 2-1 loss to Rangers at TD Garden
The Bruins feel like they were the better hockey club for much of the evening, particularly in that first period, when Boston outshot the Rangers, 9-3, but left with nothing to show for it.
"I thought we were getting some zone time and some shots, but maybe not from the inside and not second looks and what not," said Patrice Bergeron, who landed five shots on goal in 18:58 of ice time.
"They were doing a good job of boxing out. But at the same time, you have to work harder to get there, especially when you're playing against a goalie like [Lundqvist] where he was feeling it tonight."
The game was knotted, 0-0, through two periods. But the Rangers struck twice in the first 10 minutes of the third on tallies from Pavel Buchnevich and Oskar Lindberg. Boston rebounded quickly, however, after finally beating Lundqvist on a highlight-reel hookup between David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand.
Pastrnak, who was moved up to his old spot alongside Bergeron and Marchand in the third, raced down the slot and dangled through Nick Holden, drawing a delayed penalty call. The winger managed to hang onto the puck and, as he was falling down, swung his stick at the puck to get it on goal.
Lundvqist (31 made the intial stop, but Marchand was there to swat it just over the goal line and cut the Rangers lead to 2-1 with 7:04 remaining. The goal extended Marchand's point streak to four games (four goals, four assists).
"I mean, the puck went a little too far and I had his stick between my legs so I tried to get it on net and it went in," said Pastrnak, who now has six goal and nine assists in his last 11 games.
"I knew I was two-on-two out of the neutral zone, so [Marchand] made a good drive and got the rebound."
Video: NYR@BOS: Marchand runs goal-scoring streak to 4 games
Boston was buzzing after the goal and nearly tied the game on a number of occasions. Pastrnak, Marchand, and David Krejci each had a chance on a loose puck in the crease with just over three minutes to go, but Lundqvist, once again, slammed the door shut.
"[Lundqvist] had a good game," said Pastrnak. "We had a lot of chances, especially the first half of the game. He made some nice saves. Only one goal…sometimes it doesn't go in. It was one of those nights."
A goaltender interference on David Backes with 2:22 left essentially ended Boston's attempt at a comeback. Backes was chasing after his own rebound when he and Lundqvist collided at the top of the blue paint.
"We got a goal to get close and get back in it," said Cassidy. "We had some good pressure and that kind of took the wind out of our sails. Whether you agree with the call or not, we had a good push going so I guess we'll never know."
Bergeron Banged Up
Bergeron took a slap shot off his hand/wrist area in the second period and briefly retreated to the dressing room. He missed only a few moments before returning to the game and ripping a shot on Lundqvist during his first shift back.
"I mean, it didn't feel good," said Bergeron. "I don't know if it scared me, but it didn't feel good at all. It's one of those things where you're trying to put your body in there and find a way to - you're hoping it's going to hit you.
"But at the same time, you're hoping it's going to hit you on the padding. It wasn't the case."
Bergeron said he was feeling fine and would play on Saturday against the New Jersey Devils.
The Bruins have not lost consecutive games since the first week of February. They will be trying to avoid a second straight defeat when they host the Devils Saturday night.
"You have to bounce back right away," said Bergeron. "We know that we're playing Jersey. It was a tough game for us over there in their building last time [a 3-0 loss on Jan. 2].
"We've got to go make sure we're ready for Saturday and be back at it. I think we've been doing so many great things lately. We need to go back to that and look forward."
Video: Condensed Game: Rangers @ Bruins