– The Bruins showed their true grit on Tuesday night at TD Garden against the New York Rangers, battling back from a 3-0 third period deficit to tie the game and send it to overtime, though the B’s would eventually succumb to the Blueshirts, 4-3, in a shootout.
The main reason for the comeback was the Bruins ability to break through the Rangers’ defensive system and score gritty goals by getting shots through to the net and creating traffic out front.
Dennis Seidenberg, who led all players in time on ice, with 26:52, and was tops in plus/minus with a plus-2 rating, registered two assists off shots to the net.
Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien complimented Seidenberg’s play following the shootout loss, calling him the "best defenseman on the ice." That was one of the reasons Julien decided to promote No. 44 to the power play late in the game.
“He was having a good game,” said the B’s bench boss. “I really felt he was playing very well. He seemed to be willing to shoot that puck, so we put him back there, gave him that opportunity.
“It’s just about getting a feel about what you’re seeing from your bench and from your team on specific nights. He was good tonight, I thought he was a real good player for us, probably our best defenseman tonight.”
Seidenberg’s first assist of the night came when David Krejci cut the deficit to 3-1, 8:44 into the third period. He fired a shot on net from the point, seeing traffic in front. Milan Lucic, parked in the middle of the slot, redirected the puck and Krejci picked up the rebound in the crease and backhanded it into the net.
“They’re tough, they’re always in the shooting lanes,” said Seidenberg. “They’re blocking shots with all their body parts, so I looked for Looch in the high slot to redirect it and he did a good job.
“Krejci was there for the rebound, so it was a good play and it worked.”
On Brad Marchand’s tying goal, with 43 seconds remaining in regulation and Tuukka Rask on the bench, Seidenberg shot the puck off the end wall. The puck bounced behind the net, right to Marchand, who found Patrice Bergeron in the slot.
Bergeron’s shot was blocked – of course – but the puck bounced again back to Marchand, who sniped one past Henrik Lundqvist to make it 3-3.
“It was a bit lucky,” said Marchand of his tying goal. “I tried to hit Bergy and I think a guy blocked it. It came right back to me and I don’t think Lundqvist saw it. I just put it in an open net.”
Though the Bruins outshot the Blueshirts 40-29, the Rangers' knack for blocking shots – they blocked 25 tonight, to the Bruins' nine – made it difficult to create offense through the first two periods. But in the third, things changed. Seidenberg said it was just a matter of breaking through the wall that New York put up.
“Well, seems like we had a lot of puck possession for the most of the game,” said Seidenberg. “They used our mistakes to their advantage and scored on their chances.
“We had some offensive zone time, we had shots on net, but we just weren’t quite there and didn’t quite get to find [the net]. At the end we got there and finally scored those goals.”
Andrew Ference also pointed to the B’s ability to to turn things around in the third and capitalize on some second chances. The Black & Gold tallied 17 shots on net in the third period and overtime.
“It’s tough to get those direct, pretty shots right off the bat and beat them," said the defenseman. "A couple hopped to our stick, nice, but we also jumped on a couple.”
“They were all second opportunities, rebound or jumping on deflected pucks,” Ference said of the Bruins’ goals, including one by Nathan Horton that made it 3-2, which he helped set up by getting his shot through traffic. “Especially against a team that blocks as much as they do and a goalie like that, it’s not too surprising to have to get those types of goals."