In a shootout, the Boston Bruins fell to the New York Rangers Saturday afternoon, 2-1, before a sellout crowd at the TD Banknorth Garden.
New York's Jaromir Jagr scored the winning goal in the shootout to top the Bruins and give the Rangers a sweep of the season's series.
B's goalie Joey MacDonald made his first Boston start in the Garden, and made a career high 35 saves, while the Black & Gold's Marc Savard
scored the Bruins goal in regulation.
"We have big game again, tomorrow," said an upbeat MacDonald after the game. "I'm sure if we play like that again tomorrow, we are going to have another good chance to win."
"Joey Mac", a new kid on the B's block, fared pretty well in his first period at home and set the tone for the tight checking goaltending battle as he stopped all eight shots that the New York Rangers shot his way.
"(MacDonald) was excellent," said Bruins head coach Dave Lewis. "He gave the team a chance to win."
But penalties -- four minors to New York, and two to Boston -- slowed the pace of the initial stanza.
The Rangers Blair Betts signaled the beginning of some physical play when he skated through MacDonald's crease, knocking his mask off, to earn his 2-minute penalty for interference with the goaltender
Neither team scored on their respective power plays and the clubs went to their locker rooms deadlocked, 0-0, after 20-minutes.
The score stayed that way until, nearly halfway into the game, Savard scored his 22nd of the season.
Shean Donovan hit him, wide open, with a pass and the B's points leader beat the Rangers Henrik Lundqvist to put the Bruins up 1-0 at 8:06.
"Savvy is always in the right spot," said the always positive Donovan, who has not had many chances to play on Savard's line this season. "I just threw it there."
"It's fun to play with (Savard) once in a while."
But New York's netminder, Lundqvist, who was an Olympic teammate of injured Bruin P.J. Axelsson when Sweden won the gold in 2006, stopped the rest of the shots he saw in the second period and had 27 saves going into the second intermission.
Even when the Bruins were awarded a 5-minute power play after Ryan Hollweg boarded Bruin defenseman Dennis Wideman at 13:55 of the second, Lundqvist barred the door (he would finish with 40-saves) and kept the B's lead at just one.
On the other end of the ice, Boston's MacDonald was perfect through two periods, and had made 17 saves, including six (through 60-minutes) on Rangers assistant captain Brendan Shanahan.
The third stanza started with no apparent change in style for either squad and the defensive posturing and maneuvering continued throughout until a slippery puck in the Boston zone left a Ranger blue-liner with an open shot.
Former UMass Minuteman, New York defenseman Thomas Pock, took the loose puck and delivered a rocket to the back of the B's net to put New York on the board and tie the score, 1-1.
"I think it was (Chara) and Jagr who were…battling for the puck," said Lewis. "Nobody really had possession and the puck got chipped out to the high slot area on the other side of the arena."
Pock's goal scrambled the Bruins plans for a shutout and sent the game to an indecisive sudden death overtime, and eventually a shootout.
Jagr scored the game-winning tally in the penalty shot contest and sent the Rangers to their bus with a 2-1 win.
"The boys played hard," said Donovan, who returned from injury and earned an assist. "Mac stood in there, tall, for us."
Despite the loss, Coach Lewis looked on the positives that came out of the contest.
"We played a much better game than we have in three or four games, as a group," said Lewis. "(And MacDonald) made some timely saves.
"Unfortunately, we played well enough to win, but their goaltender won the game for them."
Boston plays the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Sunday.