Jaroslav Halak moved into 26th all-time in shutouts as four different goal scorers for the Boston Bruins helped keep the New York Rangers off the scoreboard, 4-0, Thursday night at TD Garden.
Halak (6-2-2, 1.88 goals-against average, .927 save percentage in 10 games played) made 27 saves on 27 shots against en route to his 52nd career shutout and his second shutout this season for Boston.
Rangers goaltender, Alexandar Georgiev (4-4-2, 3.33 GAA, .887 SV% in 12 games played) made 10 saves on 14 shots (.714 SV%) before he was replaced by Keith Kinkaid (1-0-1, 2.21 GAA, .912 SV% in three games played) during the second period.
Kinkaid turned aside all 13 shots that he faced in relief of Georgiev in 34:44 time on ice.
The Bruins improved to 14-6-4 (32 points) on the season, but stagnant in 4th place in the MassMutual NHL East Division, while the Rangers fell to 10-12-3 (23 points), but comfortably in 6th place in the division.
Boston is now 4-1-0 against the Rangers this season.
The B’s were once again without the services of Ondrej Kase (upper body), Kevan Miller (right knee), Jeremy Lauzon (fractured left hand), Brandon Carlo (upper body) and Tuukka Rask (lower body) on Thursday night against the Rangers.
Bruce Cassidy adjusted his lines as Jake DeBrusk returned to his usual role as the second line left wing after being a healthy scratch in Tuesday night’s, 2-1, shootout loss at the New York Islanders.
As a result, Nick Ritchie was shifted to the second line right wing, while Jack Studnicka was bumped down to center the fourth line with Sean Kuraly and Zach Senyshyn on his wings.
Senyshyn made his season debut for the Bruins, which also marked the first time that Senyshyn, DeBrusk and Jakub Zboril were all in the lineup for Boston since being drafted together in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft (Zboril was selected 13th, DeBrusk 14th and Senyshyn 15th by the Bruins).
Cassidy made no changes to his defensive pairings and Dan Vladar served as Halak’s backup while Rask remained out of the action due to a lingering injury.
Anders Bjork, Chris Wagner and John Moore were healthy scratches for Boston, while Carlo, Kase, Rask, Lauzon and Miller were out of the lineup due to injury.
Greg McKegg and Steven Kampfer were left on the taxi squad for the B’s as Callum Booth was assigned to the Providence Bruins (AHL) on Wednesday.
David Pastrnak (12) kicked things off early in the opening frame with a one-timer blast from the point to give Boston a, 1-0, lead at 4:14 of the first period.
Brad Marchand (17) and Patrice Bergeron (14) tallied the assists on Pastrnak’s goal.
With the primary assist on the goal, Marchand passed Ken Hodge for sole possession of 9th place in all-time scoring in Bruins franchise history. Marchand finished the night with three assists and 677 points to Hodge’s 674 points with Boston.
David Krejci is 8th on the list with 699 points with the B’s– having notched a goal and an assist in Thursday night’s effort.
Late in the first period, Ritchie tripped Rangers defender, K’Andre Miller, and was assessed a minor infraction at 17:07– yielding the game’s first power play to New York as a result.
But Boston penalty kill was better than the Rangers’ power play unit as Marchand forced the puck into the attacking zone before sending a backhand pass through the low slot to Bergeron (10) for a one-timer shorthanded goal to give the Bruins a two-goal lead.
Marchand (18) had the only assist on Bergeron’s 19th career shorthanded goal and the Bruins led, 2-0, at 17:34.
After one period of play, Boston led, 2-0, on the scoreboard, despite trailing New York, 14-9, in shots on goal entering the first intermission.
The Rangers held the advantage in blocked shots (3-2), giveaways (6-2) and hits (14-8), while the Bruins led in faceoff win percentage (59-41).
Both teams had two takeaways aside, while New York was 0/1 on the power play. The B’s had yet to see any action on the skater advantage entering the middle frame.
Libor Hajek was assessed a holding minor at 2:14 of the second period, presenting the Bruins with their first power play opportunity of the night as a result.
Boston took full advantage of their skater advantage as Krejci (1) blasted a one-timer from above the faceoff circle to Georgiev’s right side over the New York netminder’s glove.
Matt Grzelcyk (6) and Marchand (19) tabbed the assists as the Bruins extended their lead, 3-0, thanks to Krejci’s power-play goal at 3:31 of the second period.
Krejci, meanwhile, ended his second-longest streak without a goal in his 20th game this season.
A little over a minute later, DeBrusk (2) fired a one-timer from the dot to Georgiev’s left side past the Rangers goaltender and gave the Bruins a four-goal lead at 4:52.
Krejci (12) had the only assist on DeBrusk’s goal as Boston notched a pair of goals in a span of 1:21.
Meanwhile, New York head coach, David Quinn, pulled Georgiev and replaced him with Kinkaid after Boston took a, 4-0, lead thanks to DeBrusk’s goal.
Midway through the middle period, Ryan Lindgren slashed Trent Frederic and cut a rut to the sin bin at 12:12 as a result. Boston’s power play did not convert on the resulting advantage.
Late in the period, Marchand hooked Miller and was sent to the box at 18:54, where he would remain as the B’s began the final frame shorthanded.
Through 40 minutes of action on Thursday, Boston led, 4-0, on the scoreboard, despite trailing New York in shots on goal, 17-16, after two periods. The Bruins did, however, outshoot the Rangers, 7-3, in the second period alone.
The B’s also led in blocked shots (7-5) and faceoff win% (53-47), while the Blue Shirts held the advantage in takeaways (5-4), giveaways (7-4) and hits (18-13).
New York was 0/2 on the skater advantage, while Boston was 1/2 on the power play entering the second intermission.
Midway through the third period, Pastrnak was sent to the box for holding at 10:47, but the Rangers weren’t able to get anything going on the ensuing power play.
The same rang true when Ritchie tripped Brendan Lemieux at 17:15. New York did not score on the resulting skater advantage.
At the final horn, the Bruins secured the, 4-0, shutout and finished the night tied in shots on goal, 27-27, despite holding an, 11-10, advantage in the third period alone.
Boston wrapped up Thursday night’s action leading in blocked shots (14-6) and faceoff win% (55-45), while New York finished the night leading in giveaways (12-6) and hits (20-17).
The Rangers finished the night 0/4 on the power play while the Bruins went 1/2.
Boston improved to 10-2-2 (6-0-1 at home) when scoring the game’s first goal this season, while New York fell to 3-8-2 (2-2-1 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal in 2020-21.
The B’s also improved to 8-0-1 (5-0-0 at home) when leading after the first period and 9-0-0 (6-0-0 at home) when leading after two periods this season.
Meanwhile, the Rangers fell to 1-5-0 (1-2-0 on the road) when trailing after one period and 0-9-0 (0-5-0 on the road) when losing after two periods this season.
The Bruins go at it again with the Rangers on Saturday afternoon before venturing on a four-game road trip against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres next week.