Of course, the B's could have been in a much different situation if they only got off to a more auspicious start to begin the season. However, they certainly have made up some ground. Boston posted a 8-1-3 record in the month of January and continue to accumulate points. In fact, the Black and Gold are now within one point of their opponent on Wednesday in the Eastern Conference.
Speaking of the previous statement, the Bruins traveled to New York to challenge the Rangers (one of their eight wins last month). If the B's want to continue to creep up the backs of the competition, they have to handle Ryan McDonagh, Rick Nash, and the rest of the Rangers. New York actually played a game this week already--a 6-3 victory over the Florida Panthers--so the extra rest should have benefited the Bruins.
Boston vs. New York yet again. Here we go.
Tuukka Rask was back in net for Boston as he opposed Cam Talbot. Loui Eriksson (neck) and Milan Lucic (flu) were questionable for this one, but both took the ice.
Who knew that the two questionable Bruins would give the team a great start? Lucic and Patrice Bergeron each popped in a goal to start the game in the first period while Eriksson assisted on Bergeron's goal. Prior to that, the Rangers were having their way with the B's by dominating the boards and using their speed to generate scoring chances. Nash beat Rask for his league-leading 32nd goal--a nifty move that was tough to stop.
What was irritating during the opening 20 minutes is that there was a span where both teams were turning the puck over regularly in the neutral zone. Very rare from these two teams, but it happens.
In the second period, the Bruins controlled the puck possession by winning 77% of face-offs through the first 40 minutes. Unfortunately, those stats mean nothing. The speed of New York finally caught up to Boston. The home team scored two skilled goals to take a 3-2 lead into the third period. It was at that point when both sides were flying up the ice with counter-attacks looking for that defining goal. Nothing/nobody gave in and the Rangers held on to win a solid hockey game.
The Bruins will return home to begin a three-game homestand, starting on Saturday night when they will play the New York Islanders.
Gold Star: Craig Cunningham...He played nearly 10 minutes, his forechecking was intense, and he almost got on the tally sheet with a couple of scoring chances. Overall, a great game for the young winger.
Black Star: Tuukka Rask...After his stellar past performances, he was not sharp here. Three goals allowed is not something we are used to seeing.
Game Fifty-One Box Score