Boston Bruins

Not even the second leg of a back-to-back against a rested opponent could slow the Bruins down Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. Instead it was more of the same from the Bruins, who outright refused to give the Blueshirts much of anything at either end of the rink in what finished as a 3-1 win for Jim Montgomery’s squad.

The Bruins’ Jeremy Swayman was the star of the show in this contest, too, with a 31-save performance that saw Swayman come just 4:23 away from what would’ve been his second straight shutout performance.

With the win, the Bruins pushed their win streak to four games, and have now won 36 of their 45 games on the season, and improved to a perfect 14-0-0 against the Metropolitan Division this season.

  • The Bruins didn’t wait long to put themselves on the board against the reigning Vezina Trophy winner Igor Shesterkin, either, as a tip from Bruins winger Pavel Zacha put the Bruins up by one just 1:19 into action.

    The goal continued what’s been a white-hot post-extension run for the 25-year-old Zacha, too, with three goals and two helpers in just three games since signing his four-year, $19 million extension last weekend.

    It also featured what was a sweet shot-pass to Zacha’s stick from Bruins center David Krejci.

  • Up one through 20 minutes of action, the Bruins doubled their lead early in the second frame, and from a Patrice Bergeron ripped through Shesterkin at the 4:42 mark of play.

    The goal, which came complete with a snow-shower screen on the Ranger netminder from Craig Smith, was a nice boost from a player who entered the day as a game-time decision after taking a David Pastrnak shot to the face in the second half of Wednesday’s win on Long Island.

    The goal was good for Bergeron’s 17th of the season, and continued what’s been a recent surge from the Boston captain, with seven goals and 14 points in 15 games over his last calendar month of action.

  • And though Swayman was stopping everything at the other end of the rink, the Bruins were done padding their lead, and added a third goal with a Connor Clifton goal scored just 28 seconds into the third period of play, and with Clifton right out of the penalty box and storming towards the Ranger net.

    Clifton’s goal made it four straight games with a goal from a Bruins defenseman, which had not been done since Dec. 2015. It was also Boston’s 20th goal from a defenseman this season, putting them just 11 tallies from matching last season’s goal-scoring total from the backend.

  • Jan 19, 2023; New York, New York, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman (1) plays the puck against New York Rangers left wing Jimmy Vesey (26) during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports

    Jan 19, 2023; New York, New York, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman (1) plays the puck against New York Rangers left wing Jimmy Vesey (26) during the second period at Madison Square Garden. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

  • In a night that was all Swayman, the Rangers did not beat the 24-year-old B’s netminder until the 55th minute of action, and with a goal from the Rangers’ Ben Harpur. It was Harpur’s first goal of the season, his second goal of his 172-game NHL career, and his first since Dec. 1, 2018.

    Had Swayman slammed the door completely shut on New York, he would’ve become the first Bruins netminder to post back-to-back shutouts in games started since Tuukka Rask accomplished the feat in Apr. 2013.

    The Bruins could not escape this game unscathed, however, as the team lost Brandon Carlo early in the second period on a blocked shot that left Carlo hobbled. The Bruins did not officially rule Carlo out of action — the update from the team called him ‘unlikely to return’ — but the Bruins finished this game with five defensemen.

    The Bruins will return to action Sunday night at home against the Sharks.