BOSTON — The Rangers had learned how to win big, lose big, orchestrate dramatic comebacks and lose big leads. But games that are tight throughout are things they are still something with which they are largely unaccustomed.
So after the Blueshirts blew a two-goal lead, they fell in overtime, 3-2, against the Bruins here on Friday afternoon.
The game-winner came on a terrific play from superlative Boston forward David Pastrnak, making a great pass for David Krejci to finish at 1:40 of the 3-on-3 extra period
The Rangers (12-9-3) were starting to get some traction after some major early-season inconsistency, having won three straight while going 9-4-1 over their past 14. Having come up here after practice in Tarrytown on Thursday, the team had a Thanksgiving meal at their hotel, and came in knowing that the Bruins (18-3-5) posed quite the threat.
But by the time the third period started, the Rangers had played a rather buttoned-up game and were leading, 2-1. But they couldn’t stop the scoring machine, Pastrnak, who netted a quick one-timer at 4:27 for his league-leading 24th goal of the season, tying it, 2-2.
The Rangers were then able to kill off a hooking penalty on Brendan Smith, and got a big chance when Smith drew a four-minute high-sticking penalty on Par Lindholm. But they got only three shots on goal, none of them a great chance, and the tie game brought it into overtime.
The Bruins have made it a tradition of having a home game on Black Friday, doing it almost every year for the past 30 years. And they came out rather hard in this one, with Henrik Lundqvist needing to make a couple really good saves in the early going. It was Lundqvist’s 873 career appearance in a regular-season game with the Rangers, tying him with Tony Esposito (Blackhawks) for the second-most regular-season appearances by a goaltender with one franchise.
It enabled his team to get its legs and bounce back, getting a goal from Pavel Buchnevich just moments after a Rangers power play ended at 14:14 of the first, making it 1-0. The lead was extended to 2-0 when Filip Chytil cleaned up a rebound off an odd-man rush, beating goalie Jaroslav Halak at 6:21 of the second.
The Blueshirts continued to hold most of the play, with a little holiday emphasis coming when Brendan Smith popped Long Island’s own, Charlie McAvoy, during a fight midway through the second.
There was a big opportunity for the Rangers to extend their lead again when they got 62 seconds of a 5-on-3 man-advantage late in the second, but they couldn’t convert. When a Bruins icing was then called off after a close foot race, Jake DeBrusk sent a shot to the net that was deflected by Sean Kuraly, hit the post, and then Lundqvist batted it over the goal line when he reached back with his blocker, cutting the Blueshirts lead to 2-1 going into the third period.
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