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Bruins drop Black Friday matinée to Rangers, 5-2

For the first time since the 2003-04 regular season, ABC played host to a national broadcast of a National Hockey League game as the Boston Bruins lost, 5-2, to the New York Rangers in their 500th consecutive sellout at TD Garden on Friday afternoon.

New York scored three unanswered goals in the third period (including an empty net goal) to pull ahead and never look back as Igor Shesterkin (11-3-2, 2.22 goals-against average, .923 save percentage in 16 games played) made 34 saves on 36 shots faced for the win.

Boston goaltender, Jeremy Swayman (6-4-0, 2.42 goals-against average, .908 save percentage in 10 games played), stopped 26 out of 30 shots against in the loss.

The Bruins dropped to 10-7-0 (20 points) on the season and remain in command of 5th place in the Atlantic Division, while the Rangers improved to 13-4-3 (29 points) and sit 3rd in the Metropolitan Division despite tying the Carolina Hurricanes and Washington Capitals in points.

Carolina owns the tiebreaker for 1st place in the division currently, by virtue of having played in one game fewer than the Capitals at the time of this writing.

Washington sits ahead of New York by virtue of the same thing, though the Caps are in action on Friday night and would slip to 3rd in the Metropolitan Division with a loss in regulation.

The B’s also fell to 6-3-0 at home this season in nine games at TD Garden, while the Rangers improved to 8-3-2 on road ice in 13 away games thus far.

Boston went 5-3-0 against New York last season.

The Bruins were without Trent Frederic (upper body) on Friday, while head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made one minor change to his lineup from Wednesday night’s, 5-1, win in Buffalo to Friday afternoon’s matinée matchup with the Rangers.

Cassidy swapped centers on the third and fourth lines– promoting Tomáš Nosek to the top-nine and demoting Erik Haula to the bottom line.

Connor Clifton and Karson Kuhlman were Boston’s healthy scratches in the press box on Friday afternoon.

Ryan Lindgren lifted David Pastrnak’s stick and Pastrnak’s stick ended up catching Lindgren in the face, yielding a high sticking infraction for No. 88 in black and gold and the afternoon’s first power play opportunity for the Rangers at 6:25 of the first period.

New York wasn’t able to convert on the ensuing skater advantage, however.

Moments later, Chris Kreider cut a rut to the penalty box for interference at 10:55, but Boston wasn’t able to muster anything on the resulting power play– even when they had 10 seconds of a 5-on-3 advantage as Adam Fox caught Craig Smith with a high stick at 12:45.

Instead, however, Smith (2) scored in the vulnerable minute after a power play one second after Fox emerged from the box to bring the Rangers back to even strength.

Smith’s goal was unassisted and beat Shesterkin up high to give the Bruins a, 1-0, lead at 14:46 of the first period after Jacob Trouba botched a clearing attempt for New York.

In the dying seconds of the opening frame, however, the Rangers responded as Dryden Hunt worked the puck deep past the goal line near the endboards and flipped a pass to Artemi Panarin before Panarin setup Ryan Strome (3) in the slot for a goal– tying the game, 1-1, in the process.

Panarin (16) and Hunt (2) tallied the assists on Strome’s goal at 19:54.

Entering the first intermission, the game was tied, 1-1, despite Boston leading in shots on goal, 17-5.

The Rangers held the advantage in blocked shots (5-1) and hits (5-4), while the Bruins led in takeaways (2-1), giveaways (2-0) and faceoff win percentage (63-38).

New York was 0/1 and Boston was 0/2 on the power play heading into the middle frame.

Less than a minute into the second period, Brad Marchand caught Trouba with a hook (despite it actually looking to be a simple stick lift on second glance) and was sent to the sin bin 17 seconds after emerging from the first intermission.

The Blue Shirts weren’t able to score on the ensuing power play, though.

Moments later, Pastrnak won a draw in the attacking zone back to Marchand whereby Marchand moved the puck to Matt Grzelcyk as the Boston defender snuck in from the point to feed Patrice Bergeron (8) point blank for a goal.

Grzelcyk (3) and Marchand (14) were credited with the assists as the Bruins pulled ahead once more, 2-1, at 6:51 of the second period.

Midway through the second, however, Swayman struggled with his rebound control and inadvertently kicked the puck directly to Hunt in the slot while Hunt was crashing the net instead of sending the rubber biscuit off to the boards or covering it up.

Hunt (2) buried the loose biscuit into the mostly empty twine and destroyed the in-net camera with a precise shot, while Lindgren (2) and Fox (16) tallied the assists.

The Rangers had tied the game, 2-2, at 12:33, but followed up their surge in momentum with a high sticking infraction by Panarin at 14:37.

Luckily for New York, the Bruins weren’t on top of things on their resulting power play.

At least Swayman was able to stop Mika Zibanejad with a diving paddle save on a cross-slot one-timer in between Hunt’s goal and Panarin’s penalty in what might earn recognition as “the save of the year”.

Rangers head coach, Gerard Gallant, briefly pulled Shesterkin out of the net for an extra attacker with 1.4 seconds remaining on the clock on an attacking zone faceoff, but New York wasn’t able to recreate the magic of their quick goal in the dying seconds of the first period as the horn sounded to commence the second intermission.

Through 40 minutes of play, the two teams were tied, 2-2, on the scoreboard, despite Boston leading in total shots on goal, 29-24, after tailing New York, 19-12, in shots on net in the second period alone.

The Rangers held onto the advantage in blocked shots (9-3), giveaways (7-5) and hits (15-9) after two periods, while the B’s led in faceoff win% (64-36).

Both teams had four takeaways each and neither team could find the back of the net on the power play as New York was 0/2 and Boston was 0/3 on the skater advantage.

Kreider thought he had scored the goal of the season early in the third period when he wrapped around the back of the net and lobbed a shot attempt behind Swayman’s shoulders– lacrosse style– off the crossbar and through the crease, but official review determined that he had, in fact, not scored the go-ahead goal.

Andrei Svechnikov’s records are still resting at ease with Carolina.

Instead, midway through the final frame, Panarin (5) bunted a redirection shot from point blank past Swayman while crashing the net on a reception from Julien Gauthier.

Gauthier (2) and Strome (2) had the assists and the Rangers had their first lead of the afternoon, 3-2, at 11:35 of the third period.

About five minutes later, New York extended their lead to two-goals as Gauthier setup Alexis Lafrenière (5) on a 2-on-1 against Bruins defender, Charlie McAvoy, for the high blocker side goal on a catch and release shot by Lafrenière.

Gauthier (3) and Fox (17) notched the assists as the Rangers went up, 4-2, on the scorebaord at 16:22 of the third period.

With 2:37 remaining in regulation, Cassidy pulled his netminder for an extra attacker, but it was ultimately to no avail.

McAvoy tripped up Kevin Rooney with an errant leg at 19:03 and Barclay Goodrow did not take the aggressive infraction lightly– delivering a swift cross check in return to McAvoy before a scrum ensued.

The two teams finished the afternoon at 4-on-4 after McAvoy and Goodrow worked their way into their respective boxes at 19:03.

Finally, Trouba (3) buried an empty net goal after winning a battle behind his own net and flipping the puck down the length of the ice from his own zone.

Patrik Nemeth (2) had the only assist on Trouba’s goal as the Rangers sealed the deal on their, 5-2, victory at 19:48 of the third period.

After the goal, Marchand and Panarin exchange words from their benches leading to Panarin taking off one of his gloves and chucking it at Marchand while a linesman stood in the crossfire.

Both players received misconducts and were sent to their dressing rooms with an early dismissal at 19:48.

At the horn, the Rangers had won, 5-2, despite finishing the afternoon trailing in shots on goal, 36-31, to Boston.

Both teams managed to fire seven shots on net each in the third period, however, while New York wrapped up Friday’s action leading in blocked shots (17-4), giveaways (10-5) and hits (23-21).

The B’s finished the afternoon leading in faceoff win% (57-43).

There were no penalties that resulted in skater advantages in the third period, so the Rangers finished the day 0/2 on the power play and the Bruins went 0/3.

Boston dropped to 7-4-0 (4-2-0 at home) when scoring first, 0-4-0 (0-2-0 at home) when tied after one and 2-2-0 (2-1-0 at home) when tied after two periods this season.

New York improved to 5-4-1 (3-3-0 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 5-0-2 (4-0-2 on the road) when tied after the first period and 6-0-1 (4-0-0 on the road) when tied after two periods in 2021-22.

The Bruins continue their three-game homestand against the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday before hosting the Detroit Red Wings to close out the month of November on Tuesday, Nov. 30th.

Boston begins the month of December with a one-off road game at Bridgestone Arena against the Nashville Predators next Thursday (Dec. 2nd) before returning home to host the Tampa Bay Lightning for a game next Saturday (Dec. 4th).

By Nick Lanciani

Three years in live sports production (TV/radio), a degree in communication, a minor in sport management and yet I paint things in my spare time to distract myself from my unemployment. Anyway, I write stuff on Down the Frozen River, make/appear on podcasts, used to write stuff for Couch Guy Sports and still apply to jobs for a living.