Zdeno Chara capped a Gordie Howe hat-trick with a slap shot from the point to break a 2-2 tie Friday as the Bruins outlasted the Rangers with a 3-2 win at TD Garden.
Brad Marchand got the Bruins on the board first when Chara sent a cross-ice pass to him in the first period that he one-timed past Henrik Lundqvist for his fourth goal of the season. The Rangers answered back with goals from Rick Nash and Ryan McDonagh, but the Bruins were able to tie it on a Patrice Bergeron shot that went off Lundvist, then Dan Girardi in front and into the net.
Chara fought BC product Brian Boyle in the second period, winning decidedly after landing a number of rights.
Tuukka Rask made 17 saves for the Bruins as he kept the Rangers off the board over the final two periods.
Dennis Seidenberg returned to the Bruins’ lineup after missing the previous three games with a lower-body injury. Seidenberg skated on a pairing with Dougie Hamilton, while Matt Bartkowski was a healthy scratch after playing the previous nine games for the B’s.
The Bruins will play the second game of a back-to-back Saturday when they host the Blue Jackets at TD Garden.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- It’s nice to see Patrice Bergeron’s line get a couple of goals. Eriksson continues to put up points, as he now has 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in his last 12 games despite having no points in four of those contests.
Meanwhile, Marchand had his first multi-point game of the season with a goal and an assist.
- The Bruins picked up their play in the second period, particularly in the case of David Krejci‘s line. The trio was silent in the first but had multiple scoring opportunities in the second, with Lundqvist leaving a rebound off a Milan Lucic shot in front for the taking, but Jarome Iginla couldn’t get to it. Iginla also missed the net on a slapshot glove-side from the high slot.
- Further proof that when Zdeno Chara asks you to fight, you politely decline. Chara stomped Rangers giant Brian Boyle after a scrum in front of Henrik Lundqvist’s net in the second period. The two were in one another’s faces with Chara repeatedly saying “Wanna go?” Even though he’s 6-foot-7, Boyle probably should have said no.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- The Rangers’ two-goal first period meant the Bruins allowed nine five-on-five goals against over a six-period span dating back to James Neal’s goals in Monday’s win over the Penguins. That’s a bit of a departure from how things normally operate with Claude Julien‘s club. For the sake of comparison, the Bruins allowed just two five-on-five goals in the six periods prior.
- Speaking of five-on-five goals, Nash’s goal marked at least the fourth five-on-five goal scored against Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara this season. They were on the ice together for just one five-on-five goal over last season’s 48-game schedule, but this season they have been on the ice for a pair of Henrik Zetterberg goals, a Tuomo Ruutu goal earlier this month and Nash’s first-period goal Friday.
- Lundqvist got some help from the iron surrounding him, as a couple of Bruins chances hit the post. First, a Chara bid in front off a pass from Bergeron beat Lundqvist high glove side but clanked off the post. In the second perod, a Torey Krug shot from the point with Kelly in front appeared to grab some iron as well.
- Not a banner day for Reilly Smith, as he whiffed on a puck in the crease in the first period and was a bit out of position on McDonagh’s goal. Smith left the slot to chase the puck down low, but once he took a step the puck was fed high to McDonagh, who had space and a lane to fire a shot past Rask.