Regrouped Bruins too much for depleted Rangers lineup to overcome, fall 4-1

new york rangers vs bruins
Feb 28, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Mika Zibanejad #93, Jonny Brodzinski #76, Phillip Di Giuseppe #33, and Brett Howden #21 of the New York Rangers react after their loss during the third period against the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Sarah Stier/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers split with the division leading Bruins after a 4-1 matinee loss at MSG. On Friday, the Blueshirts had the winds to their backs and the fans for some extra energy as they pummeled a tired Boston team 6-2. The B’s played the Islanders the night before and looked like they were out of gas by the second period.

Without Artemi Panarin, Kaapo Kakko, Jacob Trouba, and Filip Chytil it’s going to be difficult to succeed in the rough East division. Their absence was very noticeable today.

Bruins ratchet up the physical play and close defensive gaps for the win

Alexandar Georgiev took a beating early when Nick Ritchie landed on his head in the opening few minutes of the first. There was a visible gash to his eye and he gave up a goal right after getting repairs.

Soon after the goal, the NHL’s concussion protocol team called for Georgiev to be looked at. Coach Quinn said head trainer Jim Ramsay indicated he was fine and let him stay after the collision and then for the second and third periods once examined in the quiet room.

alexandar georgiev
Sarah Stier/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

The Bruins dominated all three zone in this contest and it showed. From the opening draw to the closing whistle they controlled the neutral zone. That led to the Rangers struggling to not only gain the blue-line but to do anything once they did.

Time and time again, the Rangers skaters were met by a wall of Bruins whenever they attempted to get in close to Tuukka Rask. Even with the Blueshirts being clearly outshot and outmatched in this one, they had a golden opportunity to make this one interesting.

NY got a PP late in the third and pulled Alexandar Georgiev for a 2-man advantage. Charlie Coyle ended it for the Bruins with a shorthanded empty-netter.

Mika Zibanejad struggles are a cause for serious concern

The Ranger most lethal goal scorer’s struggles are now at DEFCON 2. It’s getting hard to not see Mika Zibanejad’s difficulty handling and passing the puck. He was credited with three shots today, but they were from the circle and with no traffic in front. And when it counted most on the late PP, he missed the net twice.

At this point, David Quinn has his hands full. What do you do with a your top goal scoring threat when at this point it looks purely mental. Almost everything Mika’s doing appears to be overthinking and squeezing the stick too tightly.

With two goals on the season (one into an empty net) and just 6 points does he demote him when Filip Chytil comes back? I mean, he could give him a game off as a scratch, but will that really help his psyche? This is not an easy choice for a coach who is still missing some of his best players.

Alexis Lafreniere picks up another assist

Nineteen year-old rookie, Alexis Lafrenière provided the lone bright spot with a nice zone entry and drop pass for Colin Blackwell. Thanks to a heads up play by Blackwell to recognize the defensive breakdown and go straight to the net, Lafrenière got his second assist in as many games.

That’s back-to-back games with a point for the prized prospect. Lafrenière’s confidence with the puck seems to be growing with each game now and continues to show flashes of where the Rangers want him to eventually get to.

Post Game Notes

  • The Blueshirts were 1-for-1 (0:13) on the penalty kill in today’s game and did not allow a shot on goal during the Bruins’ only power play opportunity.
  • Colin Blackwell tallied a goal, established a single-game career-high with five shots on goal (which led the Rangers and was tied for the game-high), and was credited with three hits. He extended his point streak to three games (two goals, one assist over the span).
  • Alexis Lafrenière notched an assist in today’s contest. He has recorded an assist/point in each of the last two games (two assists) and has recorded a point in three of the last four games (one goal, two assists).
  • K’Andre Miller tallied an assist in 20:29 of ice time. He has logged at least 19:58 of ice time in each of his last 10 games.
  • Alexandar Georgiev stopped 31 of 33 shots he faced, including all 16 shots he faced in the third period. Igor Shesterkin took the loss allowing Boston’s second goal late in the first in relief while Georgiev was being looked at for a concussion.

New York will hold practice tomorrow, 12:00 p.m. at MSG Training Center
Next Game: Tuesday, Mar. 2 vs. Buffalo (7:00 p.m. ET – TV: MSG+).

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Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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