Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 25: Chris Kreider #20 of the New York Rangers (L) scores powerplay goal at 10:56 of the first period against the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden on November 25, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

An early-season showdown between the top two teams in the Eastern Conference did not deliver.

Not for those in Boston, anyway, and not in the way you would’ve expected entering Saturday afternoon.

On Madison Square Garden ice in what felt like a rare Saturday matinee in New York City, the first Bruins-Rangers showdown of the 2023-24 season saw the league’s top two teams in terms of goaltending prowess going head-to-head. The Bruins and Rangers both ranked around the top five in penalty killing entering this contest, and they both had been two of the best teams in the league when it came to limiting high-danger chances during five-on-five play.

In other words, this was supposed to be a low-scoring day.

Instead, the sides combined for 11 goals over the course of 60 minutes, and with the Rangers dominating for those 60 minutes, with seven goals potted on the Bruins and Linus Ullmark for a blowout victory.

  • With the loss, the Bruins are officially on their first losing streak of the season, while the Rangers jumped the B’s for the top spot in the Eastern Conference for the time being.

    Here are the 98.5 The Sports Hub (dot com) 3 Stars from a beatdown at MSG…

  • No. 3 Star: Charlie Coyle

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 25: Charlie Coyle #13 of the Boston Bruins celebrates his second goal of the game during the third period against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on November 25, 2023 in New York City. The Rangers defeated the Bruins 7-4. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 25: Charlie Coyle #13 of the Boston Bruins celebrates his second goal of the game during the third period against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

  • Not a lot to love from this one from a Black and Gold perspective, sure, but the play of center Charlie Coyle continues to be a gigantic bright spot for this club.

    Out there for 15:42 of time on ice, Coyle accounted for two of Boston’s four goals in the loss, and was actually the only B’s forward to finish this game with a plus rating (plus-1).

    Up to nine goals and 19 points through 20 games, the Weymouth, Mass. native remains on pace for what would be a career year (and by miles), with Coyle’s current production pacing him for what would be a 37-goal, 78-point campaign. Coyle’s career-high in goals is 18 and his career-high in points is 56, both of which were established during Coyle’s 2016-17 campaign with the Minnesota Wild.

  • No. 2 Star: Artemi Panarin

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 25: Artemi Panarin #10 of the New York Rangers is stopped by Linus Ullmark #35 of the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden on November 25, 2023 in New York City. The Rangers defeated the Bruins 7-4. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 25: Artemi Panarin #10 of the New York Rangers is stopped by Linus Ullmark #35 of the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden on November 25, 2023 in New York City. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

  • A gamebreaker talent of the highest order, The Breadman’s oven was firing on all cylinders Saturday, as he scored a goal and added two assists in New York’s big victory over the Bruins.

    Panarin’s success actually broke him out of a personal cold streak of sorts against the Bruins, as the Russian wing came into Saturday’s game without a point in five straight games against the Bruins dating back to Feb. 2022.

  • No. 1 Star: Chris Kreider

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 25: Chris Kreider #20 of the New York Rangers (L) scores powerplay goal at 10:56 of the first period against the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden on November 25, 2023 in New York City. The Rangers defeated the Bruins 7-4. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 25: Chris Kreider #20 of the New York Rangers (L) scores powerplay goal at 10:56 of the first period against the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden on November 25, 2023. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

  • Entering Saturday’s contest with just three goals in 33 career games against the B’s, Rangers winger and Boxford, Mass. native Chris Kreider finally torched his hometown Bruins.

    He didn’t waste any time doing it this time around, either, as Kreider scored New York’s second goal of the game and then added the shorthanded, backbreaking tally that re-established the Rangers’ lead just before the end of the first period.

    In addition to the two goals, Kreider also added a secondary assist on the K’Andre Miller marker that gave the Rangers a two-goal lead just before the second intermission.

    Big time contributions.

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