Bruins lose first of the season to Rangers in OT, 4-3

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Bruins lose first of the season to Rangers in OT, 4-3

NEW YORK The Rangers were challenged to show some desperation and mental toughness in their rematch against the Bruins, and they did just that in another hotly contested, tight game between the two Eastern Conference titans.
The Bruins dropped back early after allowing a pair of goals in the first period, and never truly had a grasp in a contest they eventually dropped by a 4-3 overtime score at Madison Square Garden for their first loss of the season.
Nathan Horton had fired home a third period goal to tie things at 3-3 and push it into overtime, but a Marian Gaborik breakaway happened in the opening seconds of overtime when Andrew Ference couldnt handle a bouncing puck at the blue line. Gaborik snapped home the rebound after Tuukka Rask made initial save, and finished with a hat trick in the victory.
Early on, New Yorks super forward line of Marian Gaborik, Rick Nash and Brad Richards did all the damage for the Rangers: a designed play by New York led to a Nash and Gaborik two-on-1 where the smaller, skilled Gaborik buried a shot under the crossbar. Rangers head coach John Tortorella then double-shifted that line to get them on the ice without Zdeno Chara, and Gaborik managed to snap in a rebound goal with Dougie Hamilton far out of defensive position away from the net.
The Bruins fought back with a Hamilton-to-Brad Marchand connection on the power play that snapped an 0-for-11 streak to start the season. The Hamilton assist was the first point of his NHL career. Milan Lucic followed with a beastly score after he kept attacking rebounds in front of the New York net, and finally backhanded one home to tie things up at 2-2.
The deadlock lasted less than a minute before the Rangers once again grabbed the one-goal lead on a Taylor Pyatt strike, and it stayed that way until Hortons third period strike.
GOLD STAR: The rare plaudit for a non-Bruins player, but Marian Gaborik deserved plenty of credit for the overtime win against the Bruins. He capped off the hat trick with the overtime game-winner and, along with Rick Nash, had a game-high six shots on net in the victory. His game-breaking speed led to the first goal to open the game and put the Bruins on their heels, and the overtime game-winner when Andrew Ference couldnt handle a bouncing puck at the blue line. The ridiculously talented line of Marian GaborikRick NashBrad Richards certainly made their best case to stick together for a while after John Tortorella put them together for tonights big tilt.BLACK EYE: The fourth line give and the fourth line take away. After playing a big role in the opening night win over the Rangers, the Bruins energy line had a tough night against the Blueshirts. Gregory Campbell did manage to pick up an assist on Nathan Hortons goal, but Shawn Thornton finished with 4:13 of ice time and didnt play another shift after a failed clearing attempt led to Taylor Pyatts goal in the second period. Along with providing energy, the fourth line has to keep the puck out of the back of the net when theyre on the ice in order to effective.HONORABLE MENTION: Tuukka Rask gave up four goals, but actually might have been one of the best Bruins on the ice in a pretty entertaining, quality game. The first two goals allowed by the Bruins goaltender were pretty clear defensive breakdowns one of them a nice designed play with a good chip from Brad Richards and the Finnish netminder came up with a one-two combo save on Rick Nash and Marian Gaborik in the last minute of regulation that preserved the overtime point. Those are the kinds of saves that a No. 1 goaltender makes, and Rask has been up to the task early in the season.TURNING POINT: For the Bruins it arrived in the first period after theyd already taken the best few punches at the Rangers could deliver, and were down by a 1-0 score. With less than three minutes to go in the period where the Bruins had looked shaky and maybe even a little rattled, Adam McQuaid lost it when Brian Boyle shot a puck at his legs after the Rangers center had been whistled off-sides. So McQuaid went right after Boyle and landed a few heavy rights to his face as the former Boston College forward tried to hold the rugged defense away from him. The Bs defensemans teammates credited that with helping spark the comeback that ensued in the following two periods.BY THE NUMBERS: 1 the number of career NHL points for 19-year-old defenseman Dougie Hamilton after he collected his first assist on Brad Marchands power play goal in the second period. There will be many more of those to come.QUOTE TO NOTE: We thought we were ready to play but I guess we werent. But we came back and showed that we can come back. It was a really good game by us after the first period. Nathan Horton, on the Bs willingness to scratch back after being down 2-0 early to the Rangers in their barn.

After knee injury, Beleskey set to return for Bruins vs. Blackhawks

After knee injury, Beleskey set to return for Bruins vs. Blackhawks

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins, looking for a spark after terrible, back-to-back losses to the New York Islanders and Detroit Red Wings, are hoping the return of Matt Beleskey from a knee injury can help provide the inspiration. 

The blue-collar left winger has missed the past 23 games with a torn MCL in his right knee suffered in early December against the Buffalo Sabres, but now he’s easing back into the lineup on the fourth line in Friday night’s showdown with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Beleskey was skating with Dominic Moore and Austin Czarnik on the fourth line at morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena and should be expected to throw a few hard hits and play with some intensity in his return.

“I’m ready to go and excited to get back out there,” said Beleskey, who has been skating with the team for roughly a week after giving the knee sufficient time to heal. “I’ve just got to keep it simple and do what I do well: Be hard on pucks, take the body and just try and find your groove. You don’t want to expect too much in your first game back, but you just want to be able to contribute.

“’I’ve been saving [the pent-up energy] for a while, so I’m ready to get back out there and hopefully provide a spark for us.”

The Beleskey return also provides the player with a bit of a reset button after a slow start to the season that saw him with two goals and five points along with a minus-6 rating in 24 games played for the Black and Gold prior to his injury. Here are the projected line combos and D-pairs against the Blackhawks based on morning skate today:

Marchand-Bergeron-Vatrano

Schaller-Krejci-Pastrnak

Spooner-Nash-Backes/Hayes

Beleskey/Blidh-Moore-Czarnik

 

Chara-Carlo

Krug-McQuaid

Morrow-Liles

 

Rask

Friday, Jan. 20: Canes’ Bickell tries to carry on after MS diagnosis

Friday, Jan. 20: Canes’ Bickell tries to carry on after MS diagnosis

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while simply skating my lane today.

*A terrific piece on Carolina Hurricanes forward Bryan Bickell getting on with his life after an MS diagnosis, and pushing to see if he can return to the ice.

*If the New York Islanders botch the hirings for people guiding the franchise, then John Tavares could be one of the next figures gone from Brooklyn.

*It’s been a rough go of it for St. Louis Blues goaltender Jake Allen over the past few weeks and that continued on Thursday night.

*Top NHL Draft prospect Nolan Patrick’s value comes from his two-way play, and that’s what teams are focused on rather than the injury issues.

*Mike Babcock talks a wide range of subjects with James Duthie during a 1-on-1 with the Toronto Maple Leafs head coach.

*In his never-ending odyssey on the fringes of the NHL, Seth Griffith has been claimed by the Maple Leafs on waivers for the second time.

*Veteran forward Clarke MacArthur won’t be playing this season for the Ottawa Senators amid his concussion issues.

*For something completely different: Bill Belichick just being Bill Belichick at his press conference on Friday and that’s something we can all be reassured about.