Jeremy Swayman earned his second shutout of the season, as well as of his career in Thursday night’s, 4-0, victory for the Boston Bruins over the New York Rangers at TD Garden.
Swayman (7-2-0, 1.41 goals-against average, .946 save percentage in nine games played) made 15 saves in the shutout win for Boston.
New York goaltender, Igor Shesterkin (15-14-3, 2.57 goals-against average, .917 save percentage in 34 games played) stopped 30 out of 34 shots faced in the loss.
The Bruins improved to 32-14-7 (71 points) on the season and remain in command of 3rd place in the MassMutual NHL East Division, while the Rangers fell to 26-23-6 (58 points) overall and stuck in 5th place in the same division.
The B’s are now 5-2-0 against New York this season with one game remaining in their regular season series on Saturday.
The Bruins were without Ondrej Kase (upper body), John Moore (hip) and Charlie Coyle (upper body) on Thursday. B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, informed reporters ahead of the game on Thursday that Coyle is “day-to-day” and would be out of the lineup against New York.
With Coyle out of the lineup, Karson Kuhlman was back in on the fourth line with Trent Frederic at left wing and Curtis Lazar at center.
Jake DeBrusk, meanwhile, was promoted to the third line in place of Coyle with Nick Ritchie at left wing and Sean Kuraly at center.
On defense, Kevan Miller returned after missing Tuesday night’s game as a precaution so as not to re-aggravate any recent injuries and was paired with Mike Reilly on the third pairing, though Cassidy ended up juggling the defensive pairings early on in the action.
Jaroslav Halak served as Swayman’s backup, giving Tuukka Rask another night off though Boston’s No. 1 goaltender will be getting the start on Saturday.
Coyle was joined by Chris Wagner, Greg McKegg, Moore, Kase, Rask, Steven Kampfer, Jakub Zboril, Callum Booth, Anton Blidh and Jarred Tinordi on Boston’s long list of healthy scratches, taxi squad members and injured players on Thursday.
To coincide with their final home game of the regular season and in accordance with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ COVID-19 reopening protocols, TD Garden will increase their limited seating capacity from 12% to 25% beginning with Monday, May 10th’s matchup with the New York Islanders.
Patrice Bergeron (22) kicked off the game’s scoring with a one-timer goal from the bumper over Shesterkin’s blocker to give the Bruins a, 1-0, lead at 7:11 of the first period.
Brad Marchand (37) had the only assist on Bergeron’s goal as Boston jumped out of the gate with fresh legs compared to New York’s exhausted skaters on the second night of back-to-back games.
The Rangers entered TD Garden coming off of a, 4-2, loss to the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night in a physical battle that featured six fights after the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety failed to suspend Tom Wilson for his actions in Monday night’s, 6-3, loss to Washington.
Wilson was fined $5,000 for his actions against Pavel Buchnevich, but New York’s owner, James Dolan, thought that wasn’t enough as the Capitals forward received no punishment for his takedown of Rangers star forward, Artemiy Panarin, immediately thereafter.
A statement released by the team in a tweet that alleged “…a dereliction of duty by NHL head of player safety, George Parros…” and went on to exclaim that “[the Rangers] believe he is unfit to continue in his current role,” ended up costing Dolan a $250,000 fine from the league.
Anyway, Libor Hajek caught DeBrusk with a high stick at 7:43 of the first period on Thursday night and presented the Bruins with the game’s first power play.
Boston did not convert on the ensuing skater advantage, but got a second chance at 5-on-4 action when Ryan Strome tripped DeBrusk at 16:44.
This time, however, the B’s capitalized on the power play late in the skater advantage when Charlie McAvoy (5) blasted a shot from the point past Shesterkin on the blocker side.
McAvoy’s power-play goal was assisted by Marchand (38) and David Pastrnak (27) and gave Boston a, 2-0, lead at 18:35 of the first period.
Entering the first intermission, the Bruins led, 2-0, on the scoreboard and, 9-4, in shots on goal.
New York held the advantage in blocked shots (7-2), giveaways (2-0), hits (9-6) and faceoff win percentage (73-37), while both teams amassed four takeaways aside after one period.
The Rangers had yet to see any time on the power play, while the Bruins were 1/2 on the skater advantage heading into the middle frame.
There were no penalties called in the second period, but David Krejci setup DeBrusk (5) for a nifty breakaway goal on an indirect pass off the boards, leading DeBrusk into the attacking zone for the shot off of Shesterkin’s blocker and into the twine.
Krejci (31) and Taylor Hall (23) had the assists as the Bruins extended their lead to three-goals at 14:01 of the second period.
Through 40 minutes of play, Boston led, 3-0, on the scoreboard and, 28-7, in shots on goal– including a, 19-3, advantage in the second period alone.
The B’s also led in takeaways (11-4), while the Rangers led in blocked shots (10-3), giveaways (9-5) and hits (16-9).
Both teams were 50-50 in faceoff win% as New York remained 0/0 and Boston was 1/2 on the power play heading into the final frame.
Brandon Carlo (3) sent an errant puck from the goal line off of Shesterkin’s skate and over the goal line through the Rangers netminder’s five-hole– giving Boston a four-goal lead at 1:07 of the third period.
Krejci (32) had the only assist on Carlo’s goal and the Bruins led, 4-0.
Late in the period, Carlo delivered a swift cross check to Phil Di Giuseppe behind the net in Boston’s own zone and cut a rut to the penalty box at 18:06 of the third period, yielding a power play to New York for the first time of the night in the waning minutes of the action.
The Rangers did not convert on the skater advantage as the clock ticked down to the final horn.
The Bruins secured a, 4-0, shutout victory and finished the night leading in shots on goal, 34-15, despite New York outshooting the B’s, 8-6, in the third period alone.
New York wrapped up Thursday night’s action leading in blocked shots (11-6), giveaways (14-9) and hits (22-17), while Boston led the night in faceoff win% (57-43).
The Blueshirts finished 0/1 and the B’s went 1/2 on the power play.
Boston improved to 24-5-3 (12-0-2 at home) when scoring the game’s first goal, 19-0-2 (11-0-1 at home) when leading after one period and 23-0-3 (14-0-2 at home) when leading after two periods this season.
New York fell to 6-16-4 (3-6-2 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 5-12-4 (3-6-2 on the road) when trailing after the first period and 1-16-0 (0-9-0 on the road) when trailing after the second period in 2020-21.
The Bruins finish their regular season series against the Rangers on Saturday afternoon before hosting the New York Islanders for their final home game of the regular season on Monday, May 10th.
Boston concludes the 2020-21 regular season on the road against the Washington Capitals on May 11th.