Bruins steal a point in shootout loss to Rangers


Bruins steal a point in shootout loss to Rangers

BOSTON -- The Bruins tried to bail out Tuukka Rask by scoring a pair of goals with him pulled and an extra skater on the ice, in the final minutes of Tuesday night's game against the New York Rangers at the TD Garden.

But Rangers forward Ryan Callahan made sure the Rangers were the ones getting two points on this night, as he wristed a puck top-left in the fourth round of the shootout to give New York a 4-3 win.

Still, the B's picked up a point that looked nearly impossible after the Rangers took a 3-0 lead in the opening minutes of the third period, as Anton Stralman put a shot under Rask's blocker from the low-right circle, which trickled over the goal line.

It was a puck that Rask -- on a normal night -- would usually have. But unfortunately for the Bruins, Rask didn't make those normal saves on Tuesday night.

The first Rangers goal was set up nicely by Rick Nash as he was falling to the ice in the slot. Nash sent an unexpected pass to his left, where Carl Hagelin put it into the open net for the 1-0 lead midway through the first period.

That's how the score stayed until 8:17 into the second, when Derek Stepan's snap shot from the left circle just got under Rask's glove -- another puck that Rask should have stopped -- for the 2-0 Rangers lead.

After the Rangers made it 3-0 in the opening minutes of the third, the Bruins fought back and scored three unanswered goals -- two coming in the final 1:31, from Nathan Horton and Brad Marchand, all with the goalie pulled.

It was New York, though, which left the TD Garden with the win, in shootout fashion, on a night that Rask probably wishes he could have back.

Backes: Bruins are back to playing 'winning hockey'

Backes: Bruins are back to playing 'winning hockey'

BOSTON -- It felt very much like a welcome return to the good parts of the Bruce Cassidy Era on Tuesday night.

The Bruins jumped out to a strong, early lead, utilized strong, disciplined defense and good goaltending and closed things out strongly in the third period in a 4-1 victory over the Nashville Predators at TD Garden. The win really allows last weekend’s big two points against the Islanders to be a turning point, and gives the Black and Gold a three-point cushion for a playoff spot over a Tampa Bay Lightning group that just doesn’t seem to be going away.

The victory also improved the Bruins to 8-3 in 11 games at home under Cassidy, and that’s a big key knowing that they’ll be playing 5-of-6 games at the Garden to close out this season’s playoff push.

“We had a couple of boo-boos there in front of our net where we probably got going a little too quick, but at the end of the day, [it was] more positives than negatives, and that’s kind of how we want to play everywhere, but particularly in this building,” said Cassidy. “Let’s establish the energy level, be on our toes, be ready to play, and again, that was something we weren’t pleased with the last game in here. I addressed that, and that was one of the most satisfying responses from [Tuesday’s] home game.”

So it looks and sounds safe at this point to say the Bruins are out of their mini-tailspin and this won’t be the same kind of epic collapse that doomed the Black and Gold in each of the last couple of seasons. The Bruins blocked 24 shots, they put four goals on the board and they never trailed in a game against a Western Conference playoff team.

Sure, they might still miss the cut when it’s all said and done. But they’ve got a 70.3 percent chance of making the playoffs with just six games remaining in the season, so that’s about as good a position as they could hope for at this point.

“It was certainly a vindication of how we were playing on the Island [New York], and it wasn’t highlight reel or pretty – maybe Pasta [David Pastrnak] had a couple nice moves coming down the wall,” said David Backes. “But we made a lot of hard plays, blocked a lot of hard shots when we needed it, and that’s winning hockey. It showed up tonight in droves from a lot of different guys. It’s no secret that’s how you win games this time of year. It was awesome to see from all the guys.”

Now the Bruins need to simply bottle up the compete level and execution they showed on Tuesday night, and repeat it six more times while looking to snap the two year spell that’s had Boston out of the Stanley Cup playoffs. 

Sweeney: McAvoy will sign ATO, play in Providence

Sweeney: McAvoy will sign ATO, play in Providence

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney told reporters Wednesday that Charlie McAvoy will join the Providence Bruins on an amateur tryout. 

The move ends McAvoy’s college career after two seasons at Boston University. The B’s draft McAvoy, a right shot defenseman, with the 14th overall pick in last year’s draft. 

McAvoy may not play in Boston this season, for if he signs an entry level contract and plays even one game, the first year of the three-year contract will be burned. That would make him a restricted free agent (due for a bigger contract) after the 2018-19 season rather than after the 2019-20 season. 

The best example of a college player to take McAvoy’s current path is Zach Werenski, who signed an ATO with the Lake Erie Monsters last spring after his sophomore year at Michigan. Werenski, now in the first year of his entry level deal with the Blue Jackets, is one of the more promising young NHL defensemen. 

In two seasons at BU, McAvoy totaled eight goals and 43 assists for 51 points.