The Boston Bruins fell to the New York Rangers, 6-1, Monday night at the TD Banknorth Garden. Glen Murray earned his 300th NHL assist when he helped Patrice Bergeron
, who was playing in his 200th NHL game, score the lone Boston goal in the first period.
Boston came into the game with a 22-21-4 record, good for 48 points, 5th in the Northeast Division and 13th in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins sought to get off to a good start in the contest and earn a win to gain some momentum in the standings.
"We need to get the job done," said Boston head coach Dave Lewis at the morning skate on Monday. "It's about points for us.
"Right now it's important for the leadership and character of some individuals to take to the forefront and, if nothing else, say 'come follow me.'"
Taking Coach Lewis' words to heart, there was a sense of desperation in the building as the puck was dropped on Monday evening. And with the trade deadline looming, and Boston in a slide, certainly the Bruins were feeling pressure to perform in front of their home crowd.
But no matter the urgency, New York was on the scoreboard first, as Rangers forward Petr Prucha scored his 11th of the season at 9:11.
Boston's Patrice Bergeron
scored his 16th goal of the season on a backhand that beat Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist at 10:55. Bergeron's goal gave veteran Bruins winger Glen Murray the 300th assist of his career.
The Rangers regained the lead when Michael Rozsival beat Tim Thomas
at 18:50 and sent New York to the break with a 2-1 advantage.
"There were a couple of awful breaks in the first period," said Boston's Marc Savard
after the game. "When you are struggling you get all of the terrible breaks."
As per Savard's description, the second period featured even more offense from New York as Prucha scored his second of the game at 6:41. New York's Matt Cullen then added his 10th, and the team's 4th of the night, shorthanded at 10:00.
Obviously, the game had gotten away from Boston, and despite several attempts at turning the tide, the Rangers remained in control for the rest of the contest.
Thomas, the Bruins starting goalie, was pulled at 6:41 of the middle stanza after giving up the goal to Prucha. Backup netminder Hannu Toivonen was inserted and gave up the goal to Cullen and the Rangers went to the locker room up 4-1.
"I think when you change a goalie, you're trying to change the momentum of a game," said Thomas, who indicated surprise, initially, at Coach Lewis' decision. "It worked for a while."
But the breaks kept going to New York.
After being interfered with on a breakaway, New York forward Brendan Shanahan was awarded a controversial penalty shot and on the ensuing free play, he scored his 25th goal of the season at 6:26 of the period. Then, on the power play, former Bruin Michael Nylander scored his 16th of the season to close out the scoring at 7:39 of the third and make the final docket 6-1, Rangers.
Afterward, Coach Lewis attempted to take stock of the situation.
"The only good thing from tonight was that we continued to grind it out," said Lewis. "I don't think we had any quit in us.
"We played hard and we kept going after them.
"(But) you can't give up six goals and expect to win any hockey game," he said.
The Bruins left immediately after the game to fly to Buffalo and face the conference leading Sabres on Tuesday night.