BOSTON – Consistency is always difficult to sustain during a course of an 82 game season. In game six of the Bruins’ season, the Black and Gold looked a little out of place early on as the New York Rangers capitalized on a couple lucky bounces early on in a 3-2 Blueshirt victory.
Both Rangers’ goals in the first period resulted in a bit of puck luck. The first of which came from Artem Anismov, who deflected a shot from Brandon Dubinsky past Tuukka Rask at 11:34. Twenty-seven seconds later, Alex Frolov was credited for his second goal of the year as his shot deflected off Mark Stuart’s glove past Rask to give the Blueshirts a 2-0 lead at 12:01.
“I think we had a real slow start to the game,” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien. “They had a couple of lucky goals early on and I felt that we were slow out of the gate. And because of that we dug ourselves a hole and we seemed to get a little better after that, but its never easy to dig yourself out of a hole in this league and they played so tight defensively around their net that it wasn’t easy to get some goals past a pretty good goaltender.”
Shawn Thornton tried to get the team back into a flow when he dropped the gloves with Rangers enforcer Derek Boogard at 12:37, just 36 seconds after Frolov gave the Blueshirts a 2-0 lead. The Bruins seemed to have a good response to that as they played better during the second half of the period. Milan Lucic would also drop the gloves with Brandon Prust at 15:17 of the first.
It took awhile for the Bruins to come up with a response, but they took advantage with a 5-on-3 opportunity as Zdeno Chara fired a laser past Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist at 19:55 to pull the Black and Gold within one at the end of the opening period.
“I think we did a good job turning it around,” said Thornton. “A couple of bounces went their way early on, but they’re a good team and they battled hard too. I was pleased with the effort, but disappointed with the result.”
After Marc Staal stepped out of the box after serving his slashing penalty at 18:39 of the first, the Rangers defenseman took advantage of a miscue from Mark Recchi and walked in behind the Bruins defense on a breakaway. Staal would light the lamp for the first time this year when he slid the puck past Rask’s five-hole just 48 seconds into the second stanza.
“Obviously it made us feel a little bit better after letting up a goal on the 5-on-3,” said Staal. “We kind of battled back all game long and stuck with it and it showed.”
For the most part, Rask was hung out to dry thanks to the miscue in the second and the two lucky bounces in the first. And while he was shaking off a bit of rust for certain portions of the game — after not starting since the Bruins’ opening game in Prague — the second year made some key saves to keep the B’s in the game.
“You hadn’t played in two weeks and you get a couple of bounces like that you go ‘holy [expletive]‘” said Rask. “You can’t stop thinking about it and you have to do your part in keeping the game close, so obviously you had to move on.
“I definitely felt better as the game went on and felt like I got into the flow a little bit. The first goal you question yourself a bit maybe because you were out of position but as the game went on I felt better.”
On the opposite side of the ice, Lundqvist made 37 saves in the Rangers victory. He gave the Bruins very little to shoot at all night with his fluid movement from one end of the post to the other, while the defense in front of him gave up very few rebounds.
“There were a lot of deflections on the defense’s shots,” said Lundqvist about what he saw tonight. “I knew they would shoot a lot from the point tonight.
I thought we did a good job on the rebounds and clearing pucks out. They are a good team when they have their guys in front. But you relax a little more when you win and get a solid 60 minute effort.”
Nathan Horton brought the Bruins within one with his fifth goal of the year at 12:27 of the second as he found an open area in the slot and went top shelf on Lundqvist. Horton has now scored a point in each of his first six games (5 G, 4 A, 9P).
“He’s been good. I mean, I can’t say enough about him,” Julien said about Horton. “His consistency game in and game out has been good. He’s on the scoresheet so certainly as a coach you can’t be anything but happy with his play.”
Prior to tonight, the Bruins had not trailed since the second period of the Devils game last Saturday. Anisimov’s goal in the first snapped that span, which lasted 166:06.