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Marchand, Swayman, lead Bruins over Capitals, 4-2

Brad Marchand scored his 30th career shorthanded goal, while Jeremy Swayman picked up his second career National Hockey League win in as many consecutive games played in the Boston Bruins’, 4-2, victory over the Washington Capitals Thursday night at Capital One Arena.

Swayman (2-0-0, 2.02 goals-against average, .947 save percentage in two games played) made 31 saves on 33 shots faced in the win for Boston.

Washington netminder, Ilya Samsonov (9-3-1, 2.97 goals-against average, .894 save percentage in 14 games played), stopped 28 out of 32 shots on goal in the loss.

The Bruins improved to 21-10-6 (48 points) on the season and remain in 4th place in the MassMutual NHL East Division– four points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for 3rd place.

Meanwhile, the Capitals fell to 25-11-4 (54 points) overall and fell to 2nd place in the same division as a result of the New York Islanders’, 3-2, shootout victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday.

Boston is now 3-0-2 against Washington this season.

The B’s were without Ondrej Kase (upper body), Tuukka Rask (upper body), John Moore (hip), Brandon Carlo (upper body), Charlie McAvoy (upper body), Trent Frederic (non-COVID protocol related illness) and Jaroslav Halak (COVID protocol) on Thursday.

McAvoy is out until Sunday at least, according to Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, as told to reporters via Zoom ahead of Thursday night’s action in Washington, D.C.

Rask is still day-to-day and traveled with the team for their three-game road trip.

With Frederic out due to an illness, Anton Blidh took over his role on the fourth line left wing. Cassidy made no other changes to his lineup, despite Jack Ahcan and Callum Booth rejoining Boston’s taxi squad.

Anders Bjork was scratched for his third consecutive game, while Frederic, Zach Senyshyn, Carlo, Moore, Kase, Rask, Halak, Ahcan, Booth, McAvoy and Jarred Tinordi rounded out the list of healthy scratches, taxi squad members and/or injured players against the Capitals.

Less than a minute into the action, Jeremy Lauzon (1) fired a shot from the point that had eyes and worked its way through Samsonov’s five-hole before trickling over the goal line to give Boston a, 1-0, lead 37 seconds into the first period.

Marchand (28) and Craig Smith (12) tallied the assists on Lauzon’s first goal of the season and the Bruins were off to a fast start at Capital One Arena.

Moments later, Tom Wilson tripped Jakub Zboril and was sent to the penalty box, presenting the B’s with the night’s first power play.

Boston’s special teams could not convert on their first skater advantage of the night, however.

Midway through the opening frame, Brenden Dillon cross checked Bruins captain, Patrice Bergeron, and cut a rut to the sin bin at 13:27.

The B’s capitalized on the vulnerable minute after a power play when Capitals defender, Justin Schultz, tried to bounce the puck off the endboards behind the net to his teammate, Zdeno Chara, except the rubber biscuit took an odd bounce and rebounded to the side of the Washington net– right where Blidh was standing.

Blidh (1) tapped in the gift from The Hockey Gods on the short side while Samsonov was caught not expecting the unexpected (but then again, who was?) and the Bruins had a two-goal lead as a result at 16:02.

About 30 seconds later, Charlie Coyle, hooked Washington forward, Daniel Carr, at 16:31, but the Caps didn’t score on the resulting power play.

In the dying minute of the first period, Nick Ritchie and Garnet Hathaway exchanged pleasantries– leading to the exchange of fisticuffs at 19:01.

Both players received a five-minute major for fighting, while Ritchie picked up an extra minor for slashing that was served by Karson Kuhlman and would carry over into the middle frame.

It was the ninth fight of the season for Boston and Ritchie’s second of the season– the first fight for Boston since Tinordi fought Wilson on March 5th in Boston’s, 5-1, win against Washington and the first fight for Ritchie since he fought then New York Rangers forward, Brendan Lemieux, in Boston’s, 4-1, win at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 28th.

Through 20 minutes of play on Thursday night, the Bruins led the Capitals, 2-0, on the scoreboard at Capital One Arena.

The B’s also held the advantage in shots on goal (17-9), blocked shots (5-4), takeaways (2-1), hits (10-7) and faceoff win percentage (64-36), while the Caps led in giveaways (5-0).

Both teams were 0/2 on the power play heading into the middle frame.

Zboril tripped Conor Sheary to kick off the second period with a power play for the Capitals at 2:44.

The Bruins’ penalty kill, however, dominated the ensuing special teams action, featuring Marchand’s toe drag around Schultz while the Caps defender dove– sliding backwards toward the boards before Marchand (19) performed another quick move with the puck to his backhand for a shot over Samsonov’s glove and his second shorthanded goal of the season.

Marchand’s individual effort was unassisted and the Bruins led, 3-0, at 4:09 of the second period.

Moments later, Blidh was penalized for slashing and roughing against Lars Eller at 8:39, yielding an extended 5-on-4 advantage for Washington in the process.

The Capitals went on a 5-on-3 advantage for two minutes when Zboril interfered with Sheary at 10:04.

This time, however, Washington made quick work of their skater advantage.

Alex Ovechkin (20) blasted a one-timer from his usual spot above the faceoff dot for his 266th career power-play goal– surpassing Brett Hull for sole possession of the second-most power-play goals in NHL history in the process.

John Carlson (23) and T.J. Oshie (17) had the assists on Ovechkin’s goal and the Capitals trailed, 3-1, at 10:08.

Less than 20 seconds later, Oshie (12) rocketed another power-play goal past Swayman to cut Boston’s lead to one-goal.

Carlson (24) and Nicklas Backstrom (27) tabbed the assists on Oshie’s goal at 10:27 and the Capitals trailed, 3-2.

Moments later, Oshie bumped Matt Grzelcyk with a borderline cross check, which resulted in Grzelcyk catching Eller with a stick up high.

Eller fell to the ice and drew blood– stopping play while the puck was in Boston’s attacking zone at the other end of the rink– however no penalty was called on the play as Grzelcyk’s stick catching Eller’s face had been a result of Oshie’s initial shove.

Moments after Eller spilled blood on the ice, Bruins defender, Steven Kampfer, leaked his own red bodily fluids in about the same area when he and Carl Hagelin went awkwardly into the boards.

This time, however, despite Kampfer losing an edge, Hagelin had gone a step too far in remaining in contact with the Boston skater and drove him into the boards, yielding a boarding infraction at 14:45.

Washington killed off Hagelin’s minor penalty, however, and despite bleeding, Kampfer was fine to continue the rest of the night (as was Eller).

After two periods of play, the B’s led the Caps, 3-2, on the scoreboard, as well as in shots on goal, 24-23, despite trailing Washington, 14-7, in shots on goal in the second period alone.

Boston had the advantage in blocked shots (10-6), takeaways (8-4) and faceoff win% (57-43), while Washington led in giveaways (5-1) and hits (21-17).

The Capitals were 2/6 on the power play, while the Bruins were 0/3 heading into the final frame.

Hathaway and Marchand drew matching unsportsmanlike minors at 6:43 of the third period, yielding two minutes of 4-on-4 play, but both clubs escaped without issue as 5-on-5 full strength resumed afterward.

Late in the third period, Carr hooked Sean Kuraly at 15:20.

About 90 seconds into resulting the power play, Smith (7) picked up a loose puck that had deflected off of Chara’s skate and sent a shot over Samsonov’s blocker side to give Boston a two-goal lead once again at 16:55.

Coyle (7) and Zboril (8) tallied the assists on Smith’s power-play goal and the Bruins led, 4-2.

With about 2:15 remaining in the game, Capitals head coach, Peter Laviolette, pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker, but it was to no avail, even after Washington used their timeout with 1:45 left in the action to drum up a game-tying, if not game-winning plan.

Despite Marchand’s tripping minor at 19:55, the Capitals were empty handed as the Bruins emerged victorious at the final horn.

Boston defeated Washington, 4-2, on the final scoreboard, despite trailing the Caps in total shots on goal, 33-32, including a, 10-8, advantage for Washington in the third period alone.

The Bruins finished the night leading in blocked shots (18-9) and faceoff win% (58-42), while the Capitals wrapped up Thursday’s action leading in giveaways (6-2) and hits (26-19).

The Caps went 2/7 and the B’s went 1/4 on the power play on Thursday as Boston picked up back-to-back wins for the second time in their last 24 games.

The Bruins also improved to 14-3-3 (8-3-1 on the road) when scoring the game’s first goal, 11-0-2 (6-0-1 on the road) when leading after the first period and 12-0-2 (5-0-0 on the road) when leading after two periods this season.

Washington, meanwhile, fell to 9-6-2 (5-3-1 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal, 4-7-1 (3-3-1 at home) when trailing after the first period and 2-7-0 (2-3-0 at home) when trailing after two periods in 2020-21.

Boston finishes their three-game road trip (2-0-0) with a return to Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon to take on the Flyers before heading home to begin a five-game homestand and host the Capitals on Sunday.

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Crosby, Jarry and Pens takedown Bruins, 4-1

A late first period comeback with Sidney Crosby’s eventual game-winning goal on top of Tristan Jarry’s 42-save performance led the Pittsburgh Penguins to a, 4-1, victory over the Boston Bruins on Monday night at PPG Paints Arena.

Jarry (12-7-1, 2.90 goals-against average, .906 save percentage in 20 games played) turned aside 42 out of 43 shots faced for a .977 save percentage in the win for Pittsburgh.

Boston goaltender, Jaroslav Halak (6-4-2, 2.15 goals-against average, .918 save percentage in 12 games played) made 22 saves on 25 shots against for an .880 save percentage in the loss.

The Bruins fell to 14-8-4 (32 points) and remained in 4th place in the MassMutual NHL East Division, while the Penguins improved to 18-9-1 (37 points) and in control of 3rd place in the division.

The B’s also dropped to 2-1-0 against the Pens this season.

Jake DeBrusk returned to the lineup for Boston after missing last Saturday’s, 4-0, loss to the New York Rangers due to COVID protocol in what turned out to be a false positive test.

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, re-inserted DeBrusk in his usual role on the second line left wing and made a few other adjustments to his forward lines.

Craig Smith joined DeBrusk as David Krejci’s wings on the second line, while Nick Ritchie and Anders Bjork suited up on the left and right side of Charlie Coyle, respectively.

Sean Kuraly centered the fourth line with Trent Frederic at left wing and Karson Kuhlman at right wing.

On defense, Cassidy replaced Urho Vaakanainen on the third pairing with Steven Kampfer for a night alongside Jarred Tinordi.

The Bruins were without the services of Ondrej Kase (upper body), Kevan Miller (right knee), Jeremy Lauzon (fractured left hand), Brandon Carlo (upper body), Tuukka Rask (lower body) and Zach Senyshyn (upper body) on Monday night.

Rask traveled with the team and skated with the taxi squad members, but won’t be ready for Tuesday night’s rematch with the Penguins, which means Dan Vladar or Jeremy Swayman will make their National Hockey League regular season debut in Pittsburgh.

Vladar made his postseason debut in relief of Halak in Game 3 of Boston’s 2020 Second Round matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning, but has yet to start an NHL game in the regular season.

He has a 2-2-1 record in five games with the Providence Bruins (AHL) so far this season with a 2.01 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage in that span, as well as one shutout.

Swayman, meanwhile, is in his first professional season since leaving the University of Maine (2017-20) and has a 7-0-0 record in seven games with Providence this season, as well as a 1.57 goals-against average, a .942 save percentage and one shutout so far.

Jack Ahcan, Kuhlman and Oskar Steen were recalled from the P-Bruins to Boston’s taxi squad ahead of the game on Monday.

Chris Wagner, Senyshyn, Carlo, John Moore, Kase, Rask, Lauzon, Vaakanainen, Miller, Ahcan, Steen, Swayman and Greg McKegg were all out of the lineup due to being listed as a healthy scratch, injured or a taxi squad member for Boston.

Anton Blidh was sent to Providence on Sunday.

Bryan Rust slashed Brad Marchand and presented Boston with their first power play of the night at 6:17 of the first period.

Matt Grzelcyk (1) sent a wrist shot from the point past Jarry while Ritchie screened the Penguins netminder and gave the B’s a, 1-0, lead.

Marchand (20) and David Pastrnak (11) had the assists on Grzelcyk’s power-play goal at 6:47 of the opening frame.

Late in the period, Pittsburgh’s Evan Rodrigues (2) fired a wrist shot off of Halak’s glove before the puck bounced through the Boston goaltender’s five-hole, tying the game, 1-1, in the process at 16:51.

Kasperi Kapanen (12) and Evgeni Malkin (16) tallied the assists on Rodrigues’ first goal since Jan. 17th (he played in nine games between then).

Less than two minutes later, Crosby (11) sent the rubber biscuit to Jake Guentzel as the pair of Penguins forwards entered the zone prior to Guentzel giving it back to the Pens captain for a one-timer off of Halak’s pad– between the Bruins goaltender’s pad and the post– and into the twine.

Pittsburgh took their first lead of the night, 2-1, while Guentzel (15) and Brian Dumoulin (4) picked up the assists on Crosby’s goal at 18:34.

Entering the first intermission, the Penguins led, 2-1, on the scoreboard despite trailing the Bruins, 20-10, in shots on goal.

Boston held the advantage in blocked shots (6-5), takeaways (3-2), hits (19-8) and faceoff win percentage (64-36), while Pittsburgh led in giveaways (4-1) after 20 minutes.

The Penguins had yet to see any action on the skater advantage, while the Bruins were 1/1 on the power play heading into the middle frame.

Pastrnak opened up the second period with an interference infraction 28 seconds into the middle frame. Pittsburgh did not score on the ensuing power play.

Moments later, Marcus Pettersson sent the puck over the glass and out of play, yielding an automatic delay of game minor at 6:59 of the second period.

Boston did not convert on the resulting skater advantage.

Past the midpoint in the action, Connor Clifton tripped Rodrigues and was sent to the penalty box at 10:31.

A little more than a minute later, Malkin (8) flipped a shot over Halak’s glove side from the slot to yield his 1,100th career NHL point in his 935th career game.

Crosby (17) and Kris Letang (15) had the assists on Malkin’s power-play goal and the Pens led, 3-1, at 11:40 of the second period.

Clifton cut another rut to the sin bin at 12:13 on a roughing minor after getting tangled up with Colton Sceviour after a whistle. The Penguins did not score on the resulting power play.

Through 40 minutes of action in Pittsburgh, the Pens led, 3-1, on the scoreboard, despite trailing the Bruins, 33-18, in shots on goal, including a, 13-8, advantage for Boston in the second period alone.

The B’s held an advantage in blocked shots (10-5), hits (30-18) and faceoff win% (54-46), while the Penguins led in giveaways (6-4).

Both teams had five takeaways aside, while Pittsburgh was 1/3 and Boston was 1/2 on the power play heading into the second intermission.

Early in the final frame of the game, Crosby tripped Patrice Bergeron and cut a rut to the sin bin at 2:40 of the third period, but Boston did not score on the resulting 5-on-4 advantage.

Midway through the third, Teddy Blueger hooked Pastrnak and presented the Bruins with another power play at 13:12, but the B’s were powerless on the power play once more.

Jakub Zboril tripped Crosby at 16:24, but Pittsburgh’s power play was no match for Boston’s penalty kill.

With one minute left in the game, Cassidy pulled his netminder for an extra attacker, but at 19:44, Guentzel (11) pocketed the puck in the empty twine to give the Penguins a three-goal advantage.

Rust (11) and Crosby (18) notched the assists on Guentzel’s empty net goal as Pittsburgh won, 4-1, at the final horn.

Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 43-26, including a, 10-8, advantage in the third period alone.

The Bruins also wrapped up Monday night’s action leading in blocked shots (15-11), hits (38-26) and faceoff win% (57-43), while both teams finished the action with seven giveaways aside and were 1/4 on the power play.

Pittsburgh extended their winning streak to six games, while Boston fell to 6-5-2 in their last 13 games.

The B’s also fell to 10-3-2 (4-3-1 on the road) when scoring the game’s first goal this season, while the Pens improved to 10-6-1 (8-1-0 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal in 2020-21.

The Penguins also improved to 8-2-0 (6-1-0 at home) when leading after one period and 8-1-0 (6-1-0 at home) when leading after two periods this season, while the Bruins dropped to 2-5-2 (2-4-2 on the road) when trailing after the first period and 2-4-1 (1-2-1 on the road) when trailing through 40 minutes in 2020-21.

The last time Boston won in Pittsburgh was in a, 6-2, victory back on Dec. 18, 2015.

The Bruins continue their four-game road trip (0-1-0) with another game against the Penguins on Tuesday before venturing north to take on the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday and Saturday.

Boston’s next home game on March 23rd against the New York Islanders will be their first to feature fans at TD Garden since the pandemic began last year.

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Kinkaid’s first shutout with Rangers tops Bruins, 4-0

The Boston Bruins may have worn their Reverse Retro jerseys on Saturday, but it was a “reverse retro” scoreboard as the New York Rangers shutout the Bruins, 4-0, Saturday afternoon at TD Garden after having been shutout by Boston, 4-0, on Thursday night.

New York netminder, Keith Kinkaid (2-0-1, 1.53 goals-against average, .933 save percentage in four games played), stopped all 18 shots that he faced en route to his first shutout of the season (the eighth overall shutout of his National Hockey League career).

B’s goaltender, Jaroslav Halak (6-3-2, 2.07 GAA, .922 SV% in 11 games played) turned aside 29 out of 33 shots against for an .879 SV% in the loss.

The Bruins dropped to 14-7-4 (32 points) on the season, but remained in 4th place in the MassMutual NHL East Division, while the Rangers improved to 11-12-3 (25 points) and remain in command of 6th place in the division.

Boston also fell to 4-2-0 against New York this season as a result of the loss.

The Bruins were without the services of Ondrej Kase (upper body), Kevan Miller (right knee), Jeremy Lauzon (fractured left hand), Brandon Carlo (upper body), Tuukka Rask (lower body), Zach Senyshyn (upper body) and Jake DeBrusk (COVID protocol) on Saturday.

Miller began skating this week and is likely to travel with the club on their upcoming four-game road trip, while Carlo is “coming around” according to B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, but unsure if he’ll travel.

Senyshyn made his season debut with Boston on Thursday, sustained an injury against the Rangers and is expected to miss some time.

Meanwhile, DeBrusk became just the third Bruin to enter COVID protocol this season on Saturday and missed the afternoon’s action as a result. He may travel on the team’s road trip.

Jeremy Swayman, Greg McKegg and Anton Blidh were recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL) and assigned to the taxi squad in the meantime.

As a result of Boston’s long list of injuries, Cassidy made a few adjustments to his lineup, notably returning Nick Ritchie to the left side of David Krejci on the second line with DeBrusk out of the lineup, while moving Charlie Coyle to Krejci’s right wing.

Jack Studnicka took over Coyle’s role as the third line center with Anders Bjork rejoining the lineup as the left wing and Craig Smith as the third line right wing.

Meanwhile, Trent Frederic centered the fourth line with Sean Kuraly at his left and Chris Wagner at his right side.

Cassidy made no changes to his defensive pairings, while Senyshyn, Carlo, John Moore, Kase, Rask, Lauzon, Miller, Swayman, McKegg, Steven Kampfer and Blidh were all out of the lineup due to being injured and/or being a healthy scratch/taxi squad member.

Artemi Panarin returned to the lineup for New York for the first time since his personal leave of absence.

Early in the action, K’Andre Miller (2) wired a wrist shot from the point after a faceoff in the attacking zone over Halak’s blocker side, off the post and into the twine to give the Rangers a, 1-0, lead at 3:06 of the first period.

Pavel Buchnevich (14) and Mika Zibanejad (7) had the assists on Miller’s goal.

Moments later, Brendan Smith was penalized for holding and presented Boston with their first power play opportunity of the afternoon at 7:41.

The Bruins did not convert on the ensuing skater advantage.

Shortly after making the kill, New York went on the power play thanks to Bjork catching Kevin Rooney with a high stick at 11:16, but the Blue Shirts failed to convert on the resulting advantage.

Late in the period, Jakub Zboril tripped Chris Kreider at 14:09 and the Rangers went back on the power play, but it was short lived since Alexis Lafrenière hooked Urho Vaakanainen at 15:24.

The two clubs went at it 4-on-4 for 46 seconds before Boston had an abbreviated 5-on-4 power play, but neither team could muster anything on the special teams play.

Entering the first intermission, New York led, 1-0, on the scoreboard and, 10-6, in shots on goal.

The Rangers also held the advantage in takeaways (3-0) and giveaways (6-2), while the Bruins led in blocked shots (4-3) and hits (8-7).

Both teams were 50-50 in faceoff win percentage and 0/2 on the power play.

Less than a minute into the middle frame, Brendan Lemieux checked Frederic from behind by the bench, whereby Boston’s bench door swung open and Frederic went awkwardly into the boards in the open doorway.

Lemieux received a minor for boarding 53 seconds into the second period, but the Bruins weren’t able to capitalize on their early skater advantage on a fresh sheet of ice.

About five minutes later, Kreider (14) was unguarded as he recevied a pass from Zibanejad through the low slot and riffled a one-timer past Halak’s blocker on the short side to give New York a two-goal lead.

Zibanejad (8) and Jacob Trouba (5) recorded the assists on Kreider’s goal as the Rangers led, 2-0, at 5:42 of the second period– snapping Boston’s streak of allowing one goal or fewer in their previous six games in the process.

About a minute later, Brad Marchand caught Lafrenière with a high-stick and received a minor infraction as a result at 6:47.

The Blue Shirts were not able to capitalize on the scoreboard while one of Boston’s best penalty killers was in the box.

Midway through the period, Rangers defender, Adam Fox, hooked Bruins forward, David Pastrnak and was sent to the sin bin at 10:19.

Boston did not score on the resulting power play.

Through 40 minutes of action on Saturday afternoon, the Rangers led, 2-0, on the scoreboard and, 21-11, in shots on goal, including an, 11-5, advantage in the second period alone.

New York held the advantage in takeaways (5-3) and giveaways (8-3), while Boston led in blocked shots (10-6), hits (20-14) and faceoff win% (56-44).

The Rangers were 0/3 and the Bruins were 0/4 on the power play heading into the second intermission.

Shortly after puck drop on the third period, Ryan Lindgren was penalized for holding after he tried to clothesline Marchand with an outstretched arm nine seconds into the third period.

Once again, however, the Bruins did not muster anything on the resulting power play.

Patrice Bergeron tangled up with Zibanejad behind Boston’s own net and was assessed an interference minor at 4:25, but the Rangers couldn’t get anything going on the ensuing skater advantage.

Almost midway through the final frame, Ryan Strome (10) received a tape-to-tape pass from Panarin through the low slot for a one-timer goal while bending on one knee.

Panarin (14) and Colin Blackwell (4) notched the assists as New York took a, 3-0, lead at 8:03 of the third period.

Moments later, while frustrated with a lack of effort all afternoon, Marchand slashed Miller and was sent to the box at 12:30.

Though the Rangers didn’t score on the ensuing advantage, New York capitalized on their utter dominance of the Bruins moments later as Buchnevich (8) flipped a shot under Halak’s glove on a loose puck sent forth into the slot by Kreider to his Rangers teammate.

Kreider (5) tallied the only assist on Buchnevich’s goal as the Blue Shirts took a commanding, 4-0, lead over the B’s at 16:12.

Frederic and Lemieux had one more exchange at 18:47, after the two players originally exchanged words during the warmup prior to any action on Saturday. Both skaters were sent off to the showers with an early exit and misconducts.

At the final horn, the Rangers completed their, 4-0, shutout over Boston and finished the game leading in shots on goal, 33-18, including a, 12-7, advantage in the third period alone.

Saturday’s effort marked the fewest shots on goal for the Bruins this season, while New York finished the afternoon leading in giveaways (10-5) and Boston held the advantage in blocked shots (15-13), hits (24-23) and faceoff win% (58-42).

Both teams finished 0/5 on the power play.

The B’s fell to 4-5-2 (1-3-0 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal this season, while the Rangers improved to 8-4-1 (4-4-0 on the road) when scoring the game’s first goal in 2020-21.

Boston also fell to 2-4-2 (0-1-0 at home) when trailing after one period and 2-3-1 (1-2-0 at home) when trailing after two periods this season, while New York improved to 7-2-1 (3-2-0 on the road) when leading after the first period and 9-1-2 (5-1-1 on the road) when leading after 40 minutes this season.

The Bruins begin a four-game road trip with a pair of matchups against the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 15th and 16th before venturing north to face the Buffalo Sabres on March 18th and 20th. 

Boston’s next home game will be on March 23rd against the New York Islanders and will be the first time this season that TD Garden will host fans (12% capacity), as well as the first men’s North American professional sport in Massachusetts to feature fans during the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.

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Halak picks up 2nd shutout this season as Bruins top Rangers, 4-0

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.

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Islanders down Bruins, 2-1, in shootout

For the fourth time this season the New York Islanders beat the Boston Bruins at Nassau Live at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, but for the first time this season it was in a shootout.

David Pastrnak opened the game’s scoring in the first period and Brock Nelson tied things up in the second period before the Isles beat the Bruins, 2-1, in a shootout.

Semyon Varlamov (12-4-3, 2.03 goals against average, .929 save percentage in 19 games played) made 32 saves on 33 shots faced for a .970 SV% in the shootout win for New York.

Boston goaltender, Jaroslav Halak (5-2-2, 2.08 GAA, .919 SV% in nine games played) stopped 26 out of 27 shots against (.963 SV%) in the shootout loss.

The B’s fell to 13-6-4 (30 points) and dropped to 4th place in the MassMutual NHL East Division, while the Islanders improved to 16-6-4 (36 points) and remained in command of the division lead.

New York head coach, Barry Trotz, managed his 1,700th career regular season game from behind the bench on Tuesday.

He served as the head coach for the Nashville Predators in 1,196 games from 1998-2014 before leading the Washington Capitals in 328 from 2014-18– winning the Stanley Cup in 2018– and joining the Islanders that summer, where he has been from 2018-present in 176 games and counting.

The Bruins were once again without the services of Ondrej Kase (upper body), Kevan Miller (knee), Jeremy Lauzon (fractured left hand) and Brandon Carlo (upper body) on Tuesday night as Tuukka Rask was also unavailable and did not make the trip to Long Island with the team.

Rask re-aggravated a lower body injury from earlier in the season in Sunday’s, 1-0, loss against the New Jersey Devils and was scheduled to have Tuesday night off anyway, so he didn’t travel with the club for their one-game excursion on the road before returning home on Thursday.

Instead, Dan Vladar served as Halak’s backup in New York.

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, indicated that Rask’s absence was only “a little maintenance for him” and told reporters that “[h]e’s feeling better, but we just felt why mix in a couple of plane rides when not necessary?” before Tuesday night’s game.

Cassidy left his defensive pairings alone and made two changes among his forward lines against the Islanders, scratching Jake DeBrusk and replacing him with Jack Studnicka on the right side of the second line while re-inserting Sean Kuraly at center on the fourth line.

Carlo, John Moore, Kase, Rask, Lauzon, DeBrusk, Miller, Greg McKegg, Steven Kampfer and Callum Booth were all out of the lineup due to injury, being a healthy scratch or being a member of the taxi squad.

Late in the opening frame, Anders Lee tripped Charlie Coyle and yielded the game’s first power play to Boston at 18:49 of the first period.

Less than a minute later, Pastrnak (11) blasted a one-timer low past Varlamov’s right pad to give the Bruins a, 1-0, lead.

Brad Marchand (16) and Matt Grzelcyk (5) tallied the assists on Pastrnak’s power-play goal at 19:32 as the B’s brought their longest power play drought since Feb. 2018, to an end.

The goal also marked the 400th career point for Pastrnak, becoming the fourth-fastest Bruin in franchise history to reach 400 points with the club in 406 games.

Bobby Orr amassed 400 points as a Bruin in 333 games, while Barry Pederson did so in 335 games and Ray Bourque completed the feat in 391 games.

After one period of play at Nassau Coliseum, Boston led New York, 1-0, on the scoreboard and, 12-8, in shots on goal.

The Bruins also held the advantage in giveaways (5-1), hits (11-7) and faceoff win percentage (59-41), while both teams had five blocked shots and two takeaways each entering the first intermission.

The Islanders had yet to see any action on the power play while the B’s were 1/1 on the skater advantage.

Early in the middle frame, Coyle tripped Mathew Barzal and was assessed a minor infraction at 2:51 of the second period.

New York did not convert on the ensuing power play.

Almost midway through the period, Oliver Wahlstrom checked Jarred Tinordi behind Boston’s net and was charged with a boarding minor at 9:16.

The B’s did not score on the resulting power play.

Moments later, Wahlstrom caught Connor Clifton in a vulnerable position and was assessed another boarding infraction, though not before Marchand jumped on top of Wahlstrom in defense of his teammate without seeing that Clifton had, perhaps, lost an edge leading to his fall before Wahlstrom completed his check.

Regardless, Marchand earned two roughing minors and presented the Isles with a power play at 14:32 of the second period.

Craig Smith served Marchand’s minor while Boston was on the penalty kill.

Almost two minutes later, Nelson (10) buried a one-timer on a “tic-toc-goal” from Barzal to Jean-Gabriel Pageau to Nelson to tie the game, 1-1, at 16:18 of the second period.

Pageau (8) and Barzal (14) tabbed the assists on the goal.

Through 40 minutes of play, the Bruins and Islanders were tied, 1-1, on the scoreboard, despite Boston leading in shots on goal, 24-16, after two periods of play– including a, 12-8, advantage in the second period alone.

The Isles led in blocked shots (11-10) and takeaways (4-2), while the B’s held the advantage in giveaways (9-6) and faceoff win% (54-46).

Both teams had 15 hits aside and were 1/2 on the power play entering the second intermission.

There were no penalties and no goals scored in the third period as the two clubs swapped chances, resulting in a, 1-1, score after regulation– necessitating overtime.

The Bruins led in shots on goal, 28-25, after 60 minutes, despite being outshot, 9-4, by the Islanders in the third period alone.

Boston also held the advantage in blocked shots (17-16), giveaways (13-8), hits (28-26) and faceoff win% (55-45), while New York led in takeaways (6-3) after three periods.

As there were no more penalties called in the game, the two teams finished 1/2 on the power play.

Trotz trotted out Nelson, Nick Leddy and Anthony Beauvillier to start overtime, while Cassidy countered with Patrice Bergeron, Marchand and Charlie McAvoy.

Neither team could score after five-minutes of blistering fury at 3-on-3.

After the extra frame, the Bruins finished the night leading in shots on goal, 33-27, including a, 5-2, advantage in the overtime period alone.

Boston wrapped up Tuesday night’s action leading in blocked shots (17-16), giveaways (13-10), hits (29-27) and faceoff win% (54-47) as the two teams entered the shootout tied, 1-1, on the scoreboard.

Jordan Eberle used his quick hands to deke and shoot over Halak’s glove side, giving New York a, 1-0 advantage before Pastrnak responded with a shot over Varlamov’s glove that hit the back of the twine, tying the shootout, 1-1, after one round.

Barzal’s attempt was denied by Halak with a blocker save after the Islanders forward tried to replicate Eberle’s attempt up high– only on the other side.

Coyle countered with an attempt at beating Varlamov’s five-hole, but the Isles goaltender stopped the shot.

In the third round of the shootout, Beauvillier put the Islanders ahead after he pulled a deke that left Halak attempting a split while Beauvillier roofed the puck top-shelf on a backhand shot.

All Varlamov had to do was stop Marchand’s attempt and New York would win.

He did just that as Marchand went five-hole, but the Islanders goaltender stood tall and turned the shot aside.

New York took home the, 2-1, victory in both the shootout and final score as Boston fell to 0-3-1 against the Islanders this season.

The Isles improved to 1-1 in shootouts this season and 1-4 past regulation overall, while the B’s fell to 2-2 in shootouts and 5-4 overall past 60 minutes.

Boston fell to 9-2-2 (4-2-1 on the road) when scoring the game’s first goal this season, while New York improved to 5-5-2 (5-0-0 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal in 2020-21.

The Bruins also fell to 7-0-1 (3-0-1 on the road) when leading after the first period and 3-4-3 (3-3-2 on the road) when tied after two periods this season, while the Islanders improved to 3-3-2 (3-0-0 at home) when trailing after one and 8-2-2 (6-0-1 at home) when tied after two periods in 2020-21.

Boston returns home to finish this week off with a two-game homestand against New York Rangers on Thursday and Saturday.

The B’s begin a four-game road trip next week with a pair of games in Pittsburgh and Buffalo.

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Wedgewood stops 40 for New Jersey in, 1-0, shutout over Bruins

Smithtown, New York native, Kyle Palmieri had the game’s only goal in a, 1-0, shutout win for the New Jersey Devils over the Boston Bruins at TD Garden as USA Hockey and NBC Sports Group celebrated “Hockey Day in America” on Sunday.

Scott Wedgewood (2-3-1, 2.33 goals against average, .923 save percentage in six games played) made 40 saves for his second shutout of the season for the Devils.

Bruins goaltender, Tuukka Rask (8-4-2, 2.46 GAA, .906 SV% in 14 games played) stopped 24 out of 25 shots faced for a .960 SV% in the loss.

New Jersey improved to 6-2-1 on the road this season with the win, while Boston fell to 6-2-1 at home in 2020-21, as well as 1-2-1 against New Jersey this season.

The Bruins fell to 13-6-3 (29 points) and remained in 3rd place in the MassMutual NHL East Division, while the Devils improved to 8-11-2 (18 points) and stagnant in 7th place in the division.

Brandon Carlo (upper body) joined Ondrej Kase (upper body), Kevan Miller (knee) and Jeremy Lauzon (fractured left hand) on Boston’s list of injured players that were out of the lineup on Sunday.

Carlo was released from the hospital early Saturday morning and is feeling better, but likely going to be out of the lineup for a while.

Washington Capitals forward, Tom Wilson, was suspended seven games late Saturday night as a result of his in-person hearing via Zoom for his high hit on Carlo in Friday night’s game.

The National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety’s key points in their ruling mentioned that Wilson’s hit was an example of boarding, resulted in an injury and by a player with a suspension history (Wilson has now been suspended five times in his NHL career).

There was no penalty called on the play.

On Sunday, Wilson’s agent announced that Wilson and the National Hockey League Players’ Association would not appeal the suspension, citing a review of “all the pros and cons of an appeal and ultimately decid[ing] not to.”

Meanwhile, Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy left his foward lines the same as they were on Friday night.

He did, however, jumble his defensive pairings, placing Matt Grzelcyk with Charlie McAvoy on the top pairing, Jakub Zboril with Connor Clifton on the second pairing and Jarred Tinordi with Urho Vaakanainen on his opposite hand.

John Moore, Sean Kuraly, Greg McKegg, Steven Kampfer and Callum Booth served as Boston’s healthy scratches and/or taxi squad members on Sunday.

Almost midway through the opening frame, Vaakanainen caught Janne Kuokkanen with a high stick and was sent to the penalty box at 7:19 of the first period.

New Jersey did not convert on the ensuing power play.

Moments later, Chris Wagner tripped Mikhail Maltsev at 13:34. Once again, the Devils were not successful on the resulting skater advantage.

After one period of play in Boston, the game remained tied, 0-0, with the Bruins leading in shots on goal, 12-10.

New Jersey, meanwhile, held the advantage in blocked shots (4-1), giveaways (4-3) and faceoff win percentage (58-42). Both teams had five takeaways and nine hits aside entering the first intermission.

The Devils were 0/2 on the power play and the B’s had yet to see any time on the skater advantage.

The middle frame brought more of the same.

Jake DeBrusk caught Travis Zajac with a high stick and was assessed a minor infraction at 9:14 of the second period, but New Jersey wasn’t able to score on the resulting power play– their third skater advantage of the night.

Late in the period, Jack Hughes settled the puck and whipped a shot past Rask’s glove side, but the goal was immediately waved off due to a hand pass.

Entering the second intermission, the Bruins and Devils were still tied, 0-0, despite Boston holding a, 22-19, advantage in shots on goal, including a, 10-9, advantage in the second period alone.

The B’s also led in blocked shots (7-6), takeaways (13-7) and giveaways (10-8), while New Jersey led in hits (17-14) and faceoff win% (53-47).

The Devils were 0/3 on the skater advantage, while the Bruins had yet to see any action on the power play through 40 minutes.

Early in the final frame of regulation, Dmitry Kulikov hooked Brad Marchand and was sent to the box.

Boston had their first power play of the evening at 5:26 of the third period, but failed to convert on the advantage.

Midway through the third, the Devils were shorthanded once again when Maltsev hooked Anders Bjork at 11:13. The Bruins did not score on the resulting power play.

Late in the third period, Palmieri (4) pocketed a rebound from point blank to give New Jersey the game’s first goal.

Pavel Zacha (10) and P.K. Subban (8) had the assists on the game’s only goal as the Devils took a, 1-0, lead at 15:23.

Cassidy pulled his goaltender with 1:45 remaining in the action, though Rask was holding his lower back and skating gingerly to the bench in pain.

The Bruins used their timeout after a stoppage in play with 1:17 remaining in the game, but could not muster a successful plan to tie the game and force overtime.

At the final horn, the Devils sealed the deal on a, 1-0, shutout.

Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 40-25, including an, 18-6, advantage in the third period alone.

The B’s also wrapped up Sunday’s action leading in giveaways (14-9), hits (22-19) and faceoff win% (54-46), while New Jersey finished the night leading in blocked shots (13-12).

The Devils finished Sunday’s action 0/3 on the skater advantage, while the Bruins went 0/2 on the power play.

Boston fell to 4-3-1 (2-2-1 at home) when tied after the first period and 3-4-2 (0-1-1 at home) when tied after the second period this season, while New Jersey improved to 3-4-1 (3-0-1 on the road) when tied after one period and 3-3-1 (2-0-1 on the road) when tied after two periods this season.

The B’s also fell to 4-4-2 (1-2-0 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal this season.

The Devils improved to 7-4-0 (5-1-0 on the road) when scoring the game’s first goal in 2020-21.

The Bruins travel to Long Island for a matchup with the New York Islanders on Tuesday night before returning home for a two-game homestand against the New York Rangers on Thursday and Saturday.

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Bruins rout Caps, 5-1, lose Carlo to head injury

The Boston Bruins beat the Washington Capitals, 5-1, Friday night at TD Garden after Capitals forward, Tom Wilson, delivered an unpenalized hit to the head of Bruins defender, Brandon Carlo, sparking an electric response on the scoreboard for Boston.

Jarred Tinordi and Trent Frederic each had a scrap with Wilson in a bout of “vigilante justice” because of one player that showed a lack of respect for “the code” and has once again threatened the career of another player with what is likely a head injury.

Bruins forward, Brad Marchand, had some strong words regarding Wilson’s hit during the first intermission, leading the New England Sports Network (NESN) to have to utilize a couple of drops to avoid facing scrutiny from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

NESN aired Marchand’s interview in full after coming back from a break in the second period after the production truck had enough time to mute a pair of expletives.

Meanwhile, Jarsolav Halak (5-2-1, 2.24 goals against average, .913 save percentage in eight games played) made 31 saves on 32 shots against for a .969 SV% in the win for the B’s.

Capitals goaltender, Vitek Vanecek (10-5-3, 2.83 GAA, .906 SV% in 19 games played) stopped 14 out of 18 shots faced for a .778 SV% in 35:43 time on ice before being replaced by Ilya Samsonov (2-0-1, 2.87 GAA, .877 SV% in four games played) made six saves on seven shots against (.857 SV%) for no decision in relief of Vanecek.

The Bruins improved to 13-5-3 (29 points) and moved into 3rd place in the MassMutual NHL East Division, while the Caps fell to 13-6-4 (30 points) and 2nd place in the division.

Boston was without the services of Ondrej Kase (upper body), Kevan Miller (lower body) and Jeremy Lauzon (fractured left hand) on Friday.

Charlie Coyle, however, made his return from COVID protocol and as a result was reunited on the third line with Frederic on his left wing and Craig Smith on his right wing.

Jake DeBrusk was promoted to the right side of the second line, while Anders Bjork, Jack Studnicka and Chris Wagner made up the fourth line.

Sean Kuraly joined John Moore as a healthy scratch, while Greg McKegg, Steven Kampfer, Urho Vaakanainen and Callum Booth were listed on the taxi squad.

Bruce Cassidy made no changes to his defense.

Early in the opening frame, Charlie McAvoy tried to hit Garnet Hathaway, but bounced off the Washington forward as Hathaway anticipated and met McAvoy with an equal and opposing force.

McAvoy slammed against he boards by the bench and smacked the ice, yielding a quick trip down the tunnel for a cut above his right eye likely caused by his visor.

Late in the period, Marchand (11) snuck into the low slot and received a pass from Patrice Bergeron before sending a backhand shot over Vanecek’s glove to give Boston the game’s first goal.

Bergeron (13) and McAvoy (13) had the assists as the Bruins took a, 1-0, lead at 14:21 of the first period.

Less than a minute later, Coyle yielded the first power play of the game to the Capitals after he caught Dmitry Orlov with a slash at 14:42.

Washington was not able to convert on their first skater advantage of the night.

Moments later, Wilson made a couple of runs at Frederic, catching the ire of the young Bruins forward.

Then Wilson caught Carlo up high in the corner to Rask’s right side behind the goal line with enough force to bash Carlo’s head off the glass before Jakub Vrana delivered a shift cross check above the shoulders while Carlo immediately clutched the sides of his head and collapsed in a heap.

Wagner grabbed Wilson as every remaining skater one the ice paired up.

There was no penalty on the call, which left Cassidy visibly irate on the bench and others on Boston’s bench audibly displeased.

Wilson was a free man and the threshold– as well as potential for more chaos– was established. In simple terms, it was the most glaring example of what not to do as an on-ice official.

It might not have been charging, but it could’ve been boarding.

It might not have been immediately clear that there was head contact or that Carlo was in a vulnerable position– let alone that Wilson had plenty of time and space to deliver and proper body check, but instead the refs made no call and implied that, in return, Wilson was free game.

Not only was player safety compromised for Carlo, but it would be compromised for Wilson too in the eyes of retribution if it had reared its head.

Let alone the next player Wilson might go on to hit.

Regardless, the Bruins entered the first intermission taking not only a hit to their defense, but a dent in their momentum, despite leading, 1-0, on the scoreboard.

Washington led, 12-8, in shots on goal, as well as in giveaways (5-2) and hits (12-6), while Boston held the advantage in blocked shots (4-3).

Both teams had three takeaways. The two clubs were 50-50 in faceoff win percentage.

The Capitals were 0/1 on the power play heading into the middle frame.

Boston tweeted that Carlo (upper body) would not return to Friday night’s action before the second period began.

Brenden Dillon was penalized for roughing 20 seconds into the second period after a stoppage in play and presented the Bruins with their first power play opportunity of the night.

Boston did not score on the resulting skater advantage.

Moments later, Tinordi squared off in an exchange of fisticuffs with Wilson– marking the first of two fights of the night featuring No. 43 in a Capitals road uniform.

Each player received five-minute fighting majors at 6:12 of the second period.

It was the eighth fight this season for Boston and the first since Nick Ritchie fought Brendan Lemieux at 20:00 of the third period at Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers on Feb. 28th.

While Wilson was in the box, Frederic (3) redirected a shot pass from McAvoy into the open twine as Vanecek was screened by net front traffic.

McAvoy (14) and Smith (5) tallied the assists as the Bruins extended their lead to two-goals, 2-0, at 6:43 of the second period.

Wilson was still in the box as Boston’s first line worked its magic on a “tic-toc-goal” at 9:01, extending their lead to three-goals thanks to Bergeron (9).

David Pastrnak (10) and Marchand (15) notched the assists on Bergeron’s goal as the B’s took a, 3-0, lead.

Late in the period, Marchand (12) added his second goal of the game while on the doorstep of the crease behind the Washington netminder as Vanecek wasn’t able to track another close range shot pass that made it, 4-0, Boston.

Matt Grzelcyk (4) had the only assist on Marchand’s second of the night at 14:58.

Caps head coach, Peter Laviolette, made the decision to replace Vanecek with Samsonov thereafter.

The Bruins went into the second intermission with a four-goal lead and a, 10-8, advantage in shots in the second period alone, despite trailing the Capitals, 20-18, in total shots on goal through 40 minutes.

Boston led in blocked shots (8-6) and faceoff win% (62-38), while Washington held the advantage in takeaways (8-7), giveaways (11-6) and hits (25-18).

Both teams were 0/1 on the power play entering the final frame.

David Krejci found Ritchie (8) for a one-timer goal past Samsonov’s glove to kick things off at 1:05 of the third period, extending Boston’s lead to five-goals.

Krejci (11) and DeBrusk (4) tabbed the assists as the Bruins led, 5-0.

Seconds later, Frederic and Wilson dropped the gloves with the first-year Boston forward wracking up an instigator minor and an automatic 10-minute misconduct to go along with his five-minute fighting major.

Wilson managed to accrue fewer penalty minutes for knocking someone out of the game with a high hit to the head (zero) than he did in his second fight of the night (five).

Smith served Frederic’s instigating minor at 1:12 of the third period and the Capitals did not convert on the ensuing power play.

Wilson and Frederic’s fight marked the ninth fighting major of the season for Boston.

Moments later, T.J. Oshie caught Pastrnak with a high stick at 3:27, but the B’s did not score on the resulting 5-on-4 advantage.

A little past the midpoint of the third period, Vrana (8) sniped a shot from the faceoff dot on a catch and release play past Halak’s blocker side disrupting the shutout in the process.

Nicklas Backstrom (16) and Oshie (10) nabbed the assists as the Capitals trailed, 5-1, at 13:36 of the third period.

Backstrom, meanwhile, earned his 700th career assist with the primary assist on the goal and became the first player in Washington’s franchise history to reach the 700-assist plateau.

No. 19 for the Caps was a first-year player back in 2007-08, and has spent his entire 979-game career with Washington– the team that drafted him 4th overall in the 2006 NHL Draft.

After another scrum that featured current Capitals defender, Zdeno Chara, being restrained by current Bruins captain, Patrice Bergeron, Wagner caught No. 33 for the Caps with a slash at 18:40 in the dying minutes of Friday night’s action.

Wagner cut a rut to the penalty box, while Washington couldn’t muster anything on the ensuing skater advantage to close out the game.

At the final horn, Boston had won, 5-1, despite finishing the night trailing in shots on goal, 32-25, including a, 12-7, advantage in the third period alone for Washington.

The Bruins also wrapped up the night’s action leading in blocked shots (9-7) and faceoff win% (53-47).

The Capitals ended the 60-minute effort leading in giveaways (15-8) and hits (34-22).

Washington went 0/3 and Boston went 0/2 on the power play on Friday as the Bruins handed the Caps their most lopsided loss of the season– snapping the Capitals’ four-game winning streak in the process.

Carlo was taken to a local hospital by ambulance after being hit by Wilson.

After the game, Cassidy offered his thoughts on Wilson’s hit.

“You can see it,” he told reporters via Zoom, “He hits him in the head. [It was a] [p]redatory hit from a player who’s done that before.”

Cassidy continued, “We felt it was completely unnecessary, dirty,” and added that he didn’t know whether Carlo was going to stay overnight in the hospital or even if he had been concussed at that point.

“You can probably make your own call on that one, considering the hit was directly to his head.”

Laviolette offered a different point of view, explaining (neither in defense, nor in terms of throwing his own player under the bus),

“I saw the hit. His feet were on the ice, he stayed down with everything. Just looked like a hard hit in the corner. Not exactly sure what happened, but to me, it looked like just a hit.”

Laviolette also mentioned after the game that he hadn’t received any indication that the league would be wanting to talk to Wilson about the hit on Carlo.

Bruins newcoming defender in just his second game with the club since being claimed off waivers on Sunday, Tinordi called the hit “risky” and added, “You’ve got to hold up there.”

“That’s what I noticed about this team as soon as I got here. The boys are playing for each other night in and night out,” Tinordi observed of his new teammates, remarking on Bergeron’s tap of the glass in front of him after scoring a goal while Tinordi sat in the penalty box having just fought Wilson.

“We did the job and took care of business on the ice,” Marchand told reporters after the game.

“If the refs are able to look at [Wilson’s hit on Carlo on video review], that’s a suspension and he’s gone from the game,” Marchand continued, “We can review if a guy’s foot is half an inch offside, but we can’t review a headshot.”

“I’ve been guilty of it in the past. But it is something you don’t wanna see happen. But he was in a bad spot and Wilson took advantage.”

Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak, meanwhile, have 437-563–1,003 combined totals in the last five years– becoming just one of two trios in the league in that span to collect over 1,000 combined points, joining Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Edmonton Oilers in doing so.

The Bruins improved to 9-2-1 (5-0-1 at home) when scoring the game’s first goal this season, while the Capitals fell to 5-3-2 (2-2-1 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal in 2020-21.

The B’s also improved to 7-0-0 (4-0-0 at home) when leading after the first period and 8-0-0 (5-0-0 at home) when leading after the second period this season.

Washington, meanwhile, fell to 2-4-1 (0-3-0 on the road) when trailing after the first period and 1-4-0 (0-3-0 on the road) when trailing after the second period this season.

Boston finishes up their three-game homestand (1-0-1) on Sunday against the New Jersey Devils before hitting the road for one game on Long Island next Tuesday against the New York Islanders.

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Capitals down Bruins, 2-1, in shootout in Chara’s return

Things got a little crispy in Zdeno Chara’s first game back at TD Garden as a visitor on Wednesday night as the Washington Capitals emerged with a, 2-1, shootout win over the Boston Bruins.

Vitek Vanecek (10-4-3, 2.69 goals against average, .910 save percentage in 18 games played) made 18 saves on 19 shots against for a .947 SV% in the shootout win for Washington.

Boston goaltender, Tuukka Rask (8-3-2, 2.57 GAA, .902 SV% in 13 games played) stopped 27 out of 28 shots faced for a .964 SV% in the shootout loss.

The Bruins fell to 12-5-3 (27 points) on the season and remain in 3rd place in the MassMutual NHL East Division, while the Capitals improved to 13-5-4 (30 points) overall and widened their division standings lead by two points over the New York Islanders.

Matt Grzelcyk returned to the lineup for the first time since being injured at Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers on Feb. 10th.

David Krejci was back in the lineup for Boston too for the first time since sustaining a lower body injury on Feb. 18th against the New Jersey Devils.

As a result, Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made several changes to his lineup, including Grzelcyk and Krejci to their usual roles, as well as shuffling other forwards and defenders.

Cassidy left the first line intact, but slotted Craig Smith on Krejci’s right wing on the second line with Nick Ritchie in his usual role on the left side.

Jack Studnicka remained in the lineup– centering the third line with Trent Frederic and Jake DeBrusk on his wings, while Anders Bjork returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch in Sunday’s, 4-1, win at Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers.

Bjork was back in his left wing role on the fourth line with Sean Kuraly returning to center and Chris Wagner on the right wing.

On defense, Jakub Zboril was paired with Charlie McAvoy on the top pairing, while Grzelcyk was reunited in his return to game action with Brandon Carlo to round out the top-four defenders.

Jarred Tinordi made his Boston debut on the third defensive pairing with Connor Clifton on the right side.

The Bruins claimed Tinordi off waivers from the Nashville Predators on Saturday and he avoided a long time on the league’s COVID protocol list by driving from Nashville to Boston.

He’s also the first player in Bruins history to wear No. 84 and has 11 points (one goal, ten assists) in 88 career National Hockey League games for the Montreal Canadiens, Arizona Coyotes and Predators since making his league debut as a 20-year-old in the 48-game lockout shortened 2012-13 season.

The 6-foot-6, 205-pound Burnsville, Minnesota native will provide added depth to Boston’s blue line– already depleted by injuries throughout the 2020-21 season thus far.

Charlie Coyle was added to the league’s COVID protocol list prior to Wednesday night’s action and missed his first game this season as a result.

Coyle was the first Bruin to miss a game due to COVID protocol since Karson Kuhlman missed the first game of the season in New Jersey on Jan. 14th, due to a testing issue dating back to Jan. 5th, when Cassidy revealed why Kuhlman was “unfit to participate” in the club’s training camp activities.

The B’s were also without the services of Ondrej Kase (upper body), Kevan Miller (knee) and Jeremy Lauzon (fractured left hand) on Wednesday against Washington.

Coyle, John Moore, Greg McKegg, Steven Kampfer, Urho Vaakanainen and Callum Booth were all either in COVID protocol, a healthy scratch and/or taxi squad members for the B’s on Wednesday.

Kuhlman was assigned to the Providence Bruins (AHL) on Tuesday.

Wednesday night’s meeting with the Capitals also marked the first time that Chara returned to Boston as a member of the visiting team since March 16, 2006, when Chara was then a member of the Ottawa Senators defense.

Chara had one shot, two blocked shots and three hits in Ottawa’s, 3-2, shootout loss to the Bruins that night.

Brad Boyes and Patrice Bergeron each had a goal for Boston, while Jason Spezza and Antoine Vermette added goals for the Senators in the third period before Bergeron scored the only goal in the shootout.

The Bruins honored Chara with a tribute video that included well wishes from fans via Zoom.

Boston will not have fans at TD Garden until it is opened to about 12% capacity on March 22nd (with the first game featuring fans being a Bruins vs. Islanders matchup on March 23rd).

Fans will be able to give Chara an in-person standing ovation if everything goes according to plan on April 18th, when Washington returns to Boston after Friday’s game.

Early in the action, McAvoy was penalized for interference and presented the first power play of the night to the Capitals at 2:23 of the first period.

Washington did not convert on the ensuing skater advantage.

Moments later, David Pastrnak rang the post (twice on the same shot attempt) on a breakaway after the Bruins killed off McAvoy’s minor infraction.

Midway through the opening frame, the Caps thought they scored when T.J. Oshie received a pass through the low slot and banked a shot off of Tinordi’s stick past Rask, but the B’s challenged the call on the ice on the basis that they believed Oshie had entered the attacking zone offside.

Video review confirmed that the puck was airborne and not yet over the blue line while Oshie was well past breaking the plane and therefore offside.

The call on the ice was reversed as the Bruins were successful on the coach’s challenge.

The score remained, 0-0.

Moments later, Krejci tripped Alex Ovechkin, but Washington’s power play was powerless on the ensuing advantage at 14:19 of the first period– in part because of Ovechkin’s interference minor at 14:36 that resulted in abbreviated 4-on-4 action before Boston saw a short power play thereafter.

Ovechkin, meanwhile, collided with McAvoy in the neutral zone away from the puck resulting in his trip to the penalty box, but not before catching his breath a moment in light of the awkward collision.

Less than a minute after Ovechkin was in the box, the Bruins recorded their first shot on goal in the game at 15:28.

Late in the period, Richard Panik caught Wagner away from the play and received an interference penalty at 19:49.

Boston’s resulting power play would extend into the second period as both teams entered the first intermission tied, 0-0, on the scoreboard, despite Washington holding a, 7-2, advantage in shots on goal.

The Caps also led in blocked shots (3-2), takeaways (2-1) and faceoff win percentage (61-39), while the B’s held the advantage in giveaways (5-1) and hits (13-12).

Both teams were 0/2 on the power play and would remain as such, despite Ovechkin and Frederic each receiving a minor penalty in the third period (they were matching).

There were no goals and no penalties called in the second period as the two teams remained locked in a, 0-0, tie through 40 minutes of action, despite the Capitals holding an, 11-9, advantage in shots on goal.

Boston actually held a, 7-4, advantage in shots on goal in the second period alone, but Washington dominated in blocked shots (10-4), takeaways (4-3), hits (25-21) and faceoff win% (64-36).

The Bruins, meanwhile, led in giveaways (6-4) heading into the final frame of regulation.

Brad Marchand fed Pastrnak (10) a pass that No. 88 in black and gold redirected through Vanecek’s five-hole to give the Bruins the game’s first goal and lead, 1-0, at 1:19 of the third period.

Marchand (14) had the only assist on Pastrnak’s goal.

Less than five minutes later, the Capitals tied the game, 1-1, after Kuraly turned the puck over in his own zone, whereby Oshie broke up the play and sent a pass to Nick Jensen.

Jensen threw the puck on goal for a rebound that Panik scooped up and flipped to Lars Eller (5) for the surefire odd-angle shot from the side of the net that sneaked between Rask’s leg pad and the post over the goal line.

Panik (5) and Jensen (7) tallied the assists on Eller’s goal at 6:14 of the third period.

Late in the action, after Frederic checked Ovechkin and the two exchanged pleasantries behind Boston’s net– leaving Frederic with his gloves on the ice and ready to fight, Ovechkin and Frederic got tangled up once again near the boards in Boston’s attacking zone.

This time, Frederic delivered a few quick cross checks in rapid succession followed by a swift spear below the belt from Ovechkin to the first-year Bruins forward.

Ovechkin received a roughing minor, while Frederic picked up a cross checking minor infraction at 14:30.

The two teams resumed full even strength after two minutes of 4-on-4 action unscathed.

Three periods was not enough to decide Wednesday night’s action as the Bruins and Capitals were tied, 1-1, heading into overtime.

After 60 minutes of play, the Caps led in shots on goal, 23-18, including a, 12-9, advantage in the third period alone.

Washington also held the advantage in blocked shots (12-9), takeaways (7-3) and hits (28-25), while Boston led in giveaways (7-6). Both teams were 50-50 in faceoff win% and finished the night 0/2 on the power play as no penalties were called in the overtime period.

Caps head coach, Peter Laviolette, started Nicklas Backstrom, Tom Wilson and John Carlson in overtime, while Cassidy countered with Bergeron, Marchand and McAvoy.

Washington dominated play in overtime, while Rask made a pair of great saves that quite literally saved the game for Boston (at least holding the team over until the shootout).

After the five-minute extra frame wasn’t enough with the game still tied, 1-1, and the Capitals leading in shots on goal, 28-19, including a, 5-1, advantage in shots on goal in the overtime period alone– a shootout was required.

Washington finished the night leading in blocked shots (12-9) and hits (28-26), while Boston wrapped up Wednesday night’s action leading in faceoff win% (53-48). Both teams had seven giveaways aside.

DeBrusk kicked off the shootout for Boston, but was denied by Vanecek with a glove save.

Jakub Vrana countered with a deke for the Capitals before pulling the puck around Rask’s right pad and slipping the rubber biscuit between the post and the Bruins netminder’s skate to give Washington the, 1-0, edge after one round of the shootout.

Pastrnak made a nifty move to send a backhanded attempt off of Vanecek’s pad while trying to go five-hole.

Oshie responded with a shot that Rask gloved.

The Capitals held a, 1-0, advantage in the shootout entering the third round. All Marchand had to do when he stepped up for his shot was score to force Rask to make another save and extend the shootout.

Instead, Vanecek denied Marchand with a glove save and the Caps didn’t even need to take their third shot– winning the shootout in three rounds and sealing the deal on a, 2-1, shootout win in Boston.

Washington improved to 2-2 in shootouts this season, while Boston fell to 2-1.

The Bruins are now 5-3 past regulation this season, while the Capitals are 3-4 overall after 60 minutes.

The B’s also fell to 4-2-1 (2-1-1 at home) when tied after the first period and 3-3-2 (0-0-1 at home) when tied after two periods this season.

Meanwhile, Washington improved to 6-0-0 (4-0-0 on the road) when tied after the first period and 3-1-4 (1-0-2 on the road) when tied after two periods this season.

Boston also fell to 8-2-1 (4-0-1 at home) when scoring the game’s first goal, while the Caps improved to 5-2-2 (2-1-1 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal this season.

The Bruins and Capitals go at it again on Friday before Boston finishes up their three-game homestand on Sunday against the New Jersey Devils.

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Coyle nets two in Bruins’, 4-1, win at Rangers

Charlie Coyle scored a pair of goals, while Trent Frederic recorded the eventual game-winning goal as the Boston Bruins defeated the New York Rangers, 4-1, Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.

Tuukka Rask (8-3-1, 2.71 goals against average, .896 save percentage in 12 games played) stopped 20 out of 21 shots faced for a .952 SV% in the win– the 299th of his National Hockey League career.

No Bruins goaltender has ever won 300 games in franchise history.

Rangers goaltender, Alexandar Georgiev (3-2-2, 2.80 GAA, .907 SV% in eight games played) made 31 saves on 33 shots against for a .939 SV% in 45:25 time on ice as he was briefly pulled from the game by a concussion spotter after allowing the game’s first goal after Bruins forward, Nick Ritchie, fell on top of the New York netminder’s head minutes earlier.

Igor Shesterkin (4-7-1, 2.44 GAA, .917 SV% in 13 games played) made one save on two shots against (.500 SV%) and was charged with the loss in 13:19 TOI as Frederic’s eventual game-winner got by Shesterkin while he was in net for Georgiev.

The Bruins improved to 12-5-2 (26 points) on the season and retook command of 1st place in the MassMutual NHL East Division from the Washington Capitals (11-5-4, 26 points) who were in action later in the afternoon on Sunday.

The Rangers fell to 7-9-3 (17 points) overall and remained in 6th place in the division– at least before later games on Sunday.

Boston also picked up their 50th win in 107 games at Madison Square Garden (the fourth edition of New York City’s world famous arena), despite being outscored by New York, 333-325, in that span. The Bruins are 50-46-7-4 all time at the fourth iteration of MSG.

The B’s are now 3-1-0 against the Blue Shirts this season.

After Friday night’s, 6-2, loss to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made several changes to his lineup utilizing members of the club’s taxi squad.

Cassidy slid Sean Kuraly to the left wing of the fourth line while inserting Greg McKegg and Karson Kuhlman back into the lineup at center and on the right wing, respectively.

McKegg, in the process, made his Boston debut on Sunday.

On defense, Cassidy jumbled his pairings, placing Jakub Zboril alongside Charlie McAvoy on the first pairing, while uniting Connor Clifton with Brandon Carlo to round out the top-four defenders.

Urho Vaakanainen was partnered with Steven Kampfer, who made his season debut on Sunday, on the bottom defensive pairing.

Anders Bjork, Chris Wagner and John Moore were healthy scratches for the B’s, while Ondrej Kase (upper body), David Krejci (lower body), Matt Grzelcyk (lower body), Jeremy Lauzon (fractured left hand) and Kevan Miller (knee) remained out of the lineup due to injury.

Callum Booth was the only taxi squad member not listed as a healthy scratch or out due to injury Sunday afternoon in New York.

Early in the opening frame, Ryan Strome cross checked Kuhlman and was sent to the sin bin with a minor infraction at 5:35 of the first period.

Boston’s ensuing power play did not last long, however, as Ritchie and Ryan Lindgren went at it shortly after Ritchie fell on top of Georgiev, resulting in two roughing penalties to Ritchie and one roughing minor for Lindgren at 5:48.

Craig Smith served one of Ritchie’s minors as the two clubs had a little 4-on-4 before the Rangers had an abbreviated power play.

Meanwhile, less than a minute later, Coyle (4) roofed a shot on the far side past the New York netminder to give Boston a, 1-0, lead at 6:41 of the first period.

David Pastrnak (8) and McAvoy (12) tallied the assists on Coyle’s first goal of the afternoon, which led to Shesterkin’s brief relief appearance in the crease.

Six seconds after the B’s went up on the scoreboard, 1-0, Pastrnak caught Alexis Lafrenière with a high stick, yielding a 5-on-3 skater advantage to the Rangers at 6:47.

New York, however, could not muster anything on the power play.

Late in the period, Clifton wristed a shot from the point that Frederic (2) deflected past Shesterkin from the slot to give Boston a two-goal lead.

Clifton (3) and Jack Studnicka (2) notched the assists as the Bruins led, 2-0, at 18:14 of the first period.

Entering the first intermission, the B’s had a, 2-0, lead on the scoreboard despite trailing the Rangers in shots on goal, 9-7.

Boston held the advantage in blocked shots (9-4) and takeaways (2-0), while New York led in giveaways (3-0), hits (21-18) and faceoff win percentage (53-47).

The Rangers were 0/2 and the Bruins were 0/1 on the power play heading into the middle period.

Georgiev was back in net for New York to start the second period.

Midway through the middle frame, after winning an attacking zone faceoff, the B’s worked the puck around the offensive zone, whereby McAvoy ended up sending a pass to Pastrnak across the ice before receiving the rubber biscuit back on the blade of his stick.

McAvoy (3) rocketed a slap shot from the point past Georgiev to make it, 3-0, Boston at 10:20 of the second period.

Pastrnak (9) and Marchand (13) had the assists as the Bruins extended their lead to three goals.

No penalties were called in the second period as the two teams entered the second intermission with the B’s leading, 3-0, on the scoreboard and, 19-15, in shots on goal, including a, 12-6, advantage in the middle period alone.

Boston also held the advantage in takeaways (2-0), hits (32-29) and faceoff win% (56-44), while New York led in giveaways (5-2).

Both teams had 10 blocked shots aside, while the Rangers remained 0/2 and the Bruins remained 0/1 on the power play heading into the final frame.

Colin Blackwell (5) parted the seas, skated into the slot and fired a shot past Rask’s blocker side to pull the Rangers to within two goals at 10:47 of the third period.

He then delivered a quick check– whether it was an accident on a follow through or not, he caught the ire of McKegg, the recipient of Blackwell’s blow– and a scrum ensued while New York was celebrating their goal.

The Rangers trailed, 3-1, as Blackwell went to the box for roughing and McKegg went to the sin bin for slashing at 10:47.

Neither team scored a goal on the resulting 4-on-4 even strength action.

Meanwhile, Lafrenière (2) and K’Andre Miller (4) had the assists on Blackwell’s goal.

Late in the period, Smith received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty at 16:09, but the New York wasn’t able to convert on the resulting power play.

With about two minutes left in regulation, Rangers head coach, David Quinn, pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker to try to even up the score.

Seconds after Georgiev vacated his crease, Coyle (5) flipped the puck just about the length of the rink from his own zone past the faceoff circles into the open twine.

Kuraly (2) had the only assist on Coyle’s empty net goal and the Bruins sealed the deal on their, 4-1, win at 18:05 of the third period.

After a stoppage in play with about two seconds left in the game, the final faceoff commenced, but not before Brendan Lemieux and Ritchie had a little chat that resulted in a fight officially as time expired at 20:00 of the third period.

Lemieux also received a misconduct in the matter as the both players picked up fighting majors to finish the afternoon.

It was the seventh scrap this season for Boston and the first since Lauzon fought Pavel Buchnevich back on Feb. 12th in a, 1-0, win at the Rangers.

At the final horn, the Bruins had won, 4-1, and finished Sunday afternoon leading in shots on goal, 36-21, including a, 17-6, advantage in the third period alone.

Boston also finished the game leading in blocked shots (16-12), hits (43-37) and faceoff win% (55-45), while New York wrapped up the afternoon’s action leading in giveaways (9-4).

The Rangers finished 0/3 and the B’s went 0/1 on the power play on Sunday.

The Bruins improved to 8-2-0 (4-2-0 on the road) when scoring the game’s first goal this season, while the Rangers fell to 2-7-2 (1-6-1 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal this season.

Boston also improved to 6-0-0 (3-0-0 on the road) when leading after the first period and 7-0-0 (3-0-0 on the road) when leading after the second period this season.

New York dropped to 2-4-2 (1-3-1 at home) when trailing after one period and 0-6-0 (0-4-0 at home) when trailing after two periods this season.

The Bruins went 1-2-0 on their three-game road trip and 7-4-0 in the month of February. The B’s return home to face the Washington Capitals on Wednesday and Friday before squaring off with the New Jersey Devils next Sunday on March 7th.

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Bruins drop four out of five in, 6-2, loss at Rangers

The Boston Bruins have allowed 13 goals in back-to-back nights as a result of their, 6-2, loss to the New York Rangers on Friday at Madison Square Garden.

Alexandar Georgiev (3-2-2, 2.81 goals against average, .901 save percentage in seven games played) made 31 saves on 33 shots faced for a .939 SV% in the win for the Rangers.

Bruins goaltender, Tuukka Rask (7-3-1, 2.87 GAA, .892 SV% in 11 games played) stopped 28 out of 34 shots against for an .824 SV% in the loss.

Boston fell to 11-5-2 (24 points) on the season, but is barely holding onto 1st place in the MassMutual NHL East Division, while New York improved to 7-8-3 (17 points) and jumped to 6th place in the division.

The Bruins are now 1-4-0 in their last five games and 2-1-0 against the Rangers this season.

Ondrej Kase (upper body), Matt Grzelcyk (lower body), David Krejci (lower body), Kevan Miller (knee) and Jeremy Lauzon (fractured left hand) remained out of the lineup Friday night due to injury.

Grzelcyk is targeting a return to the blue line on Sunday afternoon while still in New York.

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, left lineup untouched from Thursday night’s, 7-2, loss on Long Island against the New York Islanders.

Kase, Krejci, Grzelcyk, Lauzon, Karson Kuhlman, Miller, Greg McKegg, Steven Kampfer and Callum Booth made up Boston’s list of injuries, healthy scratches and taxi squad members.

Midway through the opening frame, Julien Gauthier (2) fired a shot from the faceoff dot to Rask’s right side that beat the Bruins netminder on the short side while he was screened by net front traffic.

Ryan Lindgren (6) had the only assist on Gauthier’s goal and the Rangers took the, 1-0, lead at 13:03 of the first period.

Both of Gauthier’s goals this season have come against Boston (and they’re the first and second of his National Hockey League career, respectively).

About a couple minutes later, New York defender, K’Andre Miller, was penalized for holding and sent to the box with a minor infraction at 15:27.

Boston did not convert on the ensuing power play opportunity.

Entering the first intermission, the Rangers led the Bruins, 1-0, on the scoreboard and, 9-6, in shots on goal.

New York also held the advantage in takeaways (2-0), hits (17-8), as well as faceoff win percentage (53-47), while the B’s led in giveaways (4-2).

Both teams had seven blocked shots aside and the Bruins were 0/1 on the power play. The Rangers had yet to see any action on the skater advantage heading into the middle frame.

Shortly after puck drop in the second period, Jack Johnson got a stick up high on Sean Kuraly except Kevin Rooney was sent to the box with the minor infraction for high sticking six seconds into the middle period.

Once more, Boston’s power play was powerless.

Not to be outdone, in the vulnerable minute after special teams action, New York capitalized on Boston’s faults as Alexis Lafrenière worked a pass to Ryan Strome (6) for a catch and release goal over Rask’s glove to give the Rangers a two-goal lead.

Lafrenière (1) and Chris Kreider (2) tallied the assists on Strome’s goal at 2:32 of the second period and the Blue Shirts led, 2-0.

Less than two minutes later, Brad Marchand sent a pass to David Pastrnak who then feigned a shot and setup Patrice Bergeron with a slap pass for Bergeron (8) to redirect one past the Rangers goaltender on the doorstep while Georgiev was expecting a shot from Pastrnak and out of position.

Pastrnak (6) and Marchand (12) had the assists on Bergeron’s goal as the B’s cut New York’s lead in half, 2-1, at 4:02 of the second period.

The goal was Bergeron’s 889th career NHL point, which moved him into sole possession for fifth all-time among Boston’s scorers– surpassing Bobby Orr’s 888 career points in a Bruins uniform and trailing Rick Middleton’s 898 points with Boston for fourth place.

Early in the period, Lindgren hit Bergeron in the neutral zone which caused a bit of a scrum to form.

Marchand, in turn, roughed Lindgren and received a minor infraction at 6:54, though the Rangers did not convert on the ensuing power play.

Moments later, after a stoppage in play, Brendan Lemieux pulled Jake DeBrusk down by the collar and received a roughing infraction at 11:23.

The Bruins remained powerless on the power play, however.

A few minutes after that, Marchand caught Kreider with a high stick and was sent to the sin bin at 14:19. Boston made the kill on the resulting skater disadvantage, however.

Nick Ritchie tripped Brendan Smith and was sent to the penalty box at 18:42.

The Rangers did not waste much time on the ensuing power play opportunity– capitalizing ten seconds into the 5-on-4 advantage after passing the puck around the zone while Boston’s penalty kill just hung around.

Adam Fox fired the initial shot from the point, but Colin Blackwell (4) tipped the rubber biscuit in front of the net to give New York a, 3-1, lead.

Fox (8) and Strome (6) tallied the assists on Blackwell’s power-play goal at 18:52.

The Rangers made it a, 4-1, lead 12 seconds later when Kreider (9) fired the puck off of Charlie McAvoy and in from about the goal line at 19:04.

Strome (7) had the only assist on Kreider’s goal as New York scored a pair of goals in the final 68 seconds of the second period.

In the closing seconds of the middle frame, Trent Frederic retaliated with a slash after Johnson caught the young Bruins forward with a cross check to the head.

Both players received minor infractions (Frederic for slashing, Johnson for cross checking) at 19:51 of the second period, yielding 4-on-4 action into the third period.

Through 40 minutes of action Friday night at Madison Square Garden, the Rangers led the Bruins, 4-1, on the scoreboard and, 24-22, in shots on goal, despite trailing Boston, 16-15, in shots on goal in the second period alone.

The B’s held the advantage in blocked shots (11-10) and giveaways (7-3), while the Blue Shirts led in takeaways (4-2), hits (27-20) and faceoff win% (57-43) after two periods.

New York was 1/3 on the power play, while Boston was 0/3 on the skater advantage heading into the second intermission.

Pavel Buchnevich (5) redirected a puck into the twine from the low slot on a tape-to-tape pass to give the Rangers a, 5-1, lead at 1:45 of the third period.

Fox (9) and Lindgren (7) had the assists on Buchnevich’s goal.

About two minutes later, Jonny Brodzinski (1) received a pass from Rooney before firing the puck off of Rask’s pad and in to make it a five-goal lead for New York.

Rooney (2) and Smith (2) were credited with the primary and secondary assists, respectively, on Brodzinski’s first goal of the season at 3:43 of the final period.

Almost midway through the final frame of regulation, Marchand (10) buried a rebound for the 300th goal of his NHL career. He trails Cam Neely (344 career goals with Boston) for sixth in all time goal scorers in Bruins franchise history.

Pastrnak (7) and Jakub Zboril (4) had the assists on Marchand’s goal and the B’s trailed, 6-2, at 7:51 of the third period.

Late in the period, Zboril was penalized for holding at 15:59, but New York couldn’t muster anything on the resulting skater advantage.

At the final horn, the Bruins had been outscored on back-to-back nights by their opponents by a combined score of, 13-4, losing on Friday to the Rangers, 6-2, in New York.

The Blue Shirts finished the effort leading in shots on goal, 34-33, despite trailing Boston, 11-10, in shots on goal in the third period alone.

New York wrapped up Friday’s win with the advantage in blocked shots (14-12), hits (32-28) and faceoff win% (51-49), while Boston finished the game leading in giveaways (11-4).

The Rangers finished 1/4 on the skater advantage, while the Bruins went 0/3 on the power play on Friday.

Additionally, Boston is now 1-4-0 in their last five games.

The Bruins fell to 4-3-2 (3-2-2 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal this season, while the Rangers improved to 5-2-1 (3-0-1 at home) when scoring the game’s first goal in 2020-21.

The B’s also fell to 2-3-2 (2-3-2 on the road) when trailing after the first period and 2-2-1 (1-1-1 on the road) when trailing after two periods this season.

New York improved to 4-2-1 (3-0-1 at home) when leading after the first period and 5-1-2 (3-0-1 at home) when leading after two periods thi season.

The Bruins close out their three-game road trip (0-2-0) Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers to finish the month of February. The B’s return home to face the Washington Capitals on March 3rd and 5th before squaring off with the New Jersey Devils on March 7th.