When you want to beat a legit Stanley Cup contender, you have to beat up on teams who are struggling and falling out of the playoff picture. That is exactly what the Boston Bruins did on Wednesday night with a 6-1 beat down of the New York Rangers.
The Bruins and Rangers got into the “Rivalry Night” theme early as Adam McQuaid and Cody McLeod dropped the gloves for scrap less than three minutes into the game. McQuaid was spotted putting an ice bag on his right hand in the penalty box.
Many expect Rick Nash to be traded before the February 26 deadline and he increased his trade value with the opening goal five minutes into the game. Zdeno Chara could not handle a bouncing puck in the neutral zone and Nash grabbed it, skated up the right side and put the puck just underneath Anton Khudobin’s armpit.
The Bruins answered with a goal from their own Nash, Reilly, less than three minutes later. The Bruins entered the zone on a 3-on-1 rush. Henrik Lundqvist came way out of the crease to make a save on David Backes, but Backes got the rebound and put it out front for Nash to shoot into a wide-open net. Danton Heinen picked up the secondary assist on Nash’s eighth tally of the season.
Chara made up for his earlier gaff by scoring the eventual game winning goal at 16:09 of the second period. He started the play by pinching down along the boards and keeping the puck in the zone. He returned to the left point where he took a feed from Jake DeBrusk and beat Lundqvist to the near post with a wrist shot.
The momentum carried over into the second period as the Bruins increased their lead at 3:47. Patrice Bergeron fired a wrist shot just inside the blue line that changed direction off of Nick Holden’s stick and got in behind Lundqvist. David Pastrnak and Torey Krug had the assists on Bergeron’s 23rd goal of the year. Pastrnak looked very close to being offside on the play, but it was not challenged.
Tim Schaller made it 4-1 at 7:25 with a highlight reel goal as he deked in between Tony DeAngelo and Brendan Smith before roofing a shot over Lundqvist. Alain Vignault pulled Lundqvist in favor of Ondrej Pavalec after Schaller’s eighth goal of the year.
Bergeron struck again at the halfway mark of the period with a shorthanded goal. Brad Marchand drove to up the right side then waited for Bergeron to catch up before passing across the crease for the tap-in goal. Chara picked up another point with the secondary assist.
Sean Kuraly scored the only goal of the third period, at the 6:34 mark, as he entered the zone on a 2-on-1 rush and looked off the pass before snapping the puck past off of Pavalec’s blocker for his fifth goal of the season.
The Bruins will return home after a very successful road trip with back-to-back wins in Detroit and now New York. They have now won 13 games after given up the first goal of the game. The Bruins are back in action when they host the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.