Hockey was back and better than ever Saturday night, when the Boston Bruins faced the New York Rangers in the season opener for the original six rivals. TD Garden was rocking from the start, as Black and Gold nation made their presence felt even an hour before puck drop. The game certainly lived up to its billing as a high energy, high contact affair of passionate, physical squads, trying to earn their first win of 2013.
The Bruins got an early power-play just 25 seconds into the first period, but failed to put the puck past Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. Chris Kelly had the best chance after taking a nifty feed from Dennis Seidenberg, but the veteran center was denied blocker-side high by Lundqvist.
Midway through the first Tyler Seguin stole the puck in the neutral zone, but was stoned by Lundqvist on the breakaway after making some impressive dangles. The Bruins followed the chance with a flurry of power-play shots, but failed to put the puck past the Swedish net-minder.
Hard work soon paid off, as Milan Lucic got the first Bruins goal of the season. After a poor line change by the Rangers, David Krejci carried the puck into the offensive zone, and ripped a slapshot that was forced away by Lundqvist; Lucic was positioned perfectly for the rebound, making the score 1-0.
The Bruins continued to poor shots on Lundqvist, outshooting the Rangers 18-10 midway through the second period. Dan Paille extended the Bruins lead to 2-0 when he tipped a Greg Campbell slapshot from the point; the deflected puck trickled through the pads of Lundqvist and into the goal.
The Rangers pride themselves on consistent effort, which is how they got back into the game in the second period. The Bruins struggled getting the puck out of the zone, allowing Brad Richards to tee-off a slapshot from the point, beating Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask. The shot was savable, but the Bruins had it coming, and the Rangers cut the deficit to one.
Back-to-back fights quickly ensued, as Shawn Thornton and Greg Campbell did their best to regain the game’s momentum. TD garden became truly deafening in the second period.
The Bruins found themselves in a tough place just four minutes into the third period, facing a five-on-three man advantage for the Rangers in a crucial point of the game. Strong defensive efforts by the PK units both killed the advantage and led to a Bruins power-play opportunity, but King Lundqvist stayed strong for the Rangers, making an incredible save on Krejci to keep the score at 2-1 Boston.
On his 29th birthday, Johnny Boychuk gave the Bruins a 3-1 lead in the third period. Boychuk ripped a wrist-shot from the point, through a screen, to beat Lundqvist; Patrice Bergeron recorded the lone assist on the birthday goal.
The Bruins closed out the Rangers, winning their season opener 3-1 in impressive fashion.
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