Bruins winger David Pastrnak scored 10 seconds into the team’s win , but the Bruins still lost, 5-2 to the Rangers. (Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports)
On their fourth goaltender in as many games, the Boston Bruins needed a quick start against Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. They got one, too, as David Pastrnak scored just 10 seconds into the game. The Bruins even carried a 2-0 lead into the first intermission behind Austin Czarnik’s first NHL goal, scored 14:44 into the first.
The strong start marked the first time that the Black and Gold scored first in any of their seven games this season, and put them in a position of strength through a solid first period against a strong Rangers club.
But like it has throughout this losing streak, a trainwreck of a second period proved to be the B’s downfall, as their misery was extended to three straight losses in a 5-2 final against the Rangers.
In a second period in which the Rangers outshot the B’s 14-to-10, the Blueshirts took over this game with a dominant, 10-minute stretch that featured three goals against rookie netminder Zane McIntyre. Veteran Rick Nash opened New York’s scoring after a Torey Krug turnover left No. 61 all alone in front of the B’s net for not one but two chances on the 24-year-old McIntyre. Kevin Hayes then banked a puck off McIntyre and in at the 16:35 mark of the period, while Brandon Pirri finally put the Rangers on top with a goal scored with just 36 seconds left in the period.
The Bruins have been outscored 9-0 in the middle period of their last three games.
With the air taken out of the Bruins long before the second intermission even came, the Rangers found putaway goals just three minutes into the third period, the first on Pirri’s second of the night, while Jimmy Vesey beat every Bruin to the front of the net for an easy goal at 3:06.
McIntyre, in his first NHL start, gave the Bruins a chance to win this game for more than half of this game and that’s really all you could ask of the team’s fourth goaltender.
But the Bruins were still the team they were the night before and could not play well without the puck, and even when they did have the puck, it didn’t take long for the Rangers to take it away.
The loss dropped the Bruins to 3-4-0 on the year.
Here are four other things we learned in yet another ugly loss.
Krug’s struggles continue
Bruins defenseman Torey Krug is his biggest critic. He was on Saturday night, and he will be after Wednesday’s showing against the Rangers, too. The turnover that led to the first Rangers goal of the night was 100% on Krug. An inexperienced penalty killer, Krug attempted a behind the net clearing attempt that simply did not get enough height to clear over Kevin Hayes, and Hayes made Krug and the Bruins pay with a sequence that found Nash all alone in front of the net.
The 25-year-old Krug, who had offseason shoulder surgery and signed a four-year, $21 million dollar contract, is still searching for his first point of the season.
Czarnik shines in unusual spot
In his first NHL game since the second game of the season, Austin Czarnik returned back to the Big B’s with a bang on Wednesday night, even if it was not in his usual spot.
A center throughout his entire tenure with the organization, Czarnik skated as the right wing on the David Krejci line, and actually found ways to hack it as an offensive playmaker on the wing.
Still, you can’t help but feel as if Czarnik would be better utilized at center, especially with the number of struggling wingers currently on the B’s roster.
Bruins simply don’t have enough skill on their third line
The Bruins are a one-line team right now. If not for the trio of center Patrice Bergeron and wingers Brad Marchand and Pastrnak, the Bruins may honestly be winless.
The fourth line of Dominic Moore between Noel Acciari and Tim Schaller has performed well, but that’s not a group you expect to score on a regular basis. The Krejci line has had a revolving door of wingers, which hasn’t helped their overall production, but it’s the Boston third line that continues to give the Bruins nothing night after night. And honestly, it’s just not skilled enough.
That’s why the decision to plug Czarnik, who played with Matt Beleskey and Jimmy Hayes throughout the preseason, on the wing opposite Ryan Spooner (who played Tuesday’s game at center before being moved back to the wing tonight) for this one seemed so bizarre.
Point blank: the Bruins need more, and they have players on their roster that could give that lift, but they are — for some reason — not in a position (their natural positions) to do so right now.
Tuukka Rask may be close to a return
Before Wednesday’s game, and with the team in a dangerous spot just seven games into the season, Bruins coach Claude Julien noted that the team is hopeful that goaltender Tuukka Rask, who has not played (or even skated) since last Thursday, could rejoin the team on the ice soon, and may even be ready to play for the Black and Gold this weekend. Words cannot express how badly the team needs Rask, 3-0-0 with a .947 save percentage this year, to return to the ice.
The Bruins will look to snap their three-game skid with a Saturday trip to Joe Louis Arena to take on the Detroit Red Wings.