By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Not even the conclusion of the Black and Gold’s fifth back-to-back in just over a month’s time could stop the Bruins on Sunday, as the Bruins got goals from three different scorers en route to a 3-1 win over the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
For the B’s, their second win in as many days was kickstarted by a fortunate bounce that gave Charlie McAvoy his second straight game with a goal, as the New York’s native shot went up and over Rangers netminder Alexandar Georgiev at the 19:18 mark of the first period. (The goal originally looked like to be Chris Wagner’s, but was changed to McAvoy during the intermission after replay appeared to show the puck bounce off the Rangers’ Mika Zibanejad on its way through.)
It woudn’t be the only time the Bruins scored late in a period, either, as Boston got their second goal of the evening on a Charlie Coyle shorthanded breakaway that beat Georgiev with just 1:18 remaining in the middle frame. And like McAvoy’s strike did for the Boston defender, the tally gave Coyle two goals in as many games, and gave the B’s a 2-0 lead through 40.
But the Rangers would finally respond with a power-play goal — New York finished this game with a staggering 8:34 of power-play time but finished a woeful 1-for-5 with five shots (and allowed four shots and a shorthanded goal) — in the third period off the stick of Zibanejad and had Jaroslav Halak and the Bruins suddenly sweating out a tight finish in Manhattan.
That was until Patrice Bergeron scored an empty-net tally with just 13 seconds left to seal the deal on a Boston victory.
For the Bruins, this win truly came on the back of their penalty kill, which came through with successful kills on four of their trips to the penalty box while the game-winner came from Coyle and with the Bruins down a man.
“PK was outstanding, they seemed to be on it half the night,” B’s head coach Bruce Cassidy remarked after the win. “That taxes your team a little bit. But we did a good job with our clears and had fresh legs out there. On a back-to-back, you always want to make sure you stay in the game early on, try to be on your toes as much as possible.”
With the win, the Bruins completed their first season series sweep over the Rangers since the 2013-14 season. It also gave the B’s consecutive wins at Madison Square Garden (a house of horrors for this franchise in recent seasons) for the first time since that 2013-14 season sweep, and for just the third time since 2002.
The Bruins will get a two-day breather before returning to action in Edmonton on Wednesday night.