Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Rangers leading the Bruins by a 1-0 score after the first 20 minutes of action at TD Garden.
1) Rick Nash is nasty. How nasty? So nasty that his pass from one knee while carrying defenders to the Boston net to set up Carl Hagelins goal took place at the exact time the Columbus Blue Jackets fired GM Scott Howson. The timing was eerie, but the Rangers power forward has impressed a couple of times this season with his ability to carry defenders on his back while playing strong on the puck. He did that again before finding Hagelin for the score, and showed the full package of his skills in the process. Hes going to be tough to stop when hes motivated to make a play.
2) Tyler Seguin looks involved tonight, but theres been a little bit good and a little bit bad in the first 20 minutes. He fired off a one-timer from the left face-off circle on a give-and-go play with Brad Marchand that Henrik Lundqvist was forced to make a good save on, but he also took a hooking penalty in the offensive zone with the Bruins on the PP. He was trying to make a play on the puck, but thats a mistake the Bruins cant make on an already shaky man advantage.
3) Tough shift for Andrew Ference leading to Rangers goal. The Bruins defenseman couldnt clear the puck on a couple of chances during the shift and then got bull-rushed by Rick Nash on his way to the net before feeding to Carl Hagelin for the goal.
4) Four registered hits in 5:21 of ice time for Rangers rookie J.T. Miller tonight. Thats bringing the intensity just like the three hits apiece for Johnny Boychuk and Shawn Thornton in the first period. Best hit had to be Adam McQuaid lining up Darroll Powe behind the net as the force of the impact snapped Powes stick in half. Then Powe went across the ice on his next shift to blast Chris Bourque and get a little payback.
5) Eleven saves for Henrik Lundqvist in the first period including a good glove hand stop on David Krejci from the slot in the first minute of the game, and the sponge job on Tyler Seguins one-timer from the left circle. This is the best King Henrik has looked in any of the three games against the Bruins this season, and it seems pretty clear now he just wasnt ready to start the season.
BRIGHTON -- The Bruins took Wednesday off and returned Thursday with assurances they weren’t thinking about history repeating itself for a third straight season.
The easy parallels are there, of course.
The Bruins lost 9 of their final 14 games and missed the playoffs by a point two years ago. Last season they went a pathetic 3-8-1 in the final 12 games and once again missed the postseason by a single point.
So their recent three-game losing streak has set off some warning bells and whistles, as has the fact that the Toronto Maple Leafs have passed them and pushed the B’s into the second wild-card position. Boston holds a slim two-point lead over the New York Islanders for that final playoff position, and is facing huge games against the Tampa Bay Lightning (tonight) and the Isles (Saturday).
So with all that in mind, has interim coach Bruce Cassidy’s message changed at all to his players?
“These are teams [close to the Bruins to the standings, so the games] get more magnified and rightfully so,” said Cassidy. “We accept that and we know what’s at stake. The last two didn’t go the way we wanted them to, but the things we do well, we need to keep doing well. We’ve created some looks at the net. We’re generating some offense. We need to finish a little better, and those pockets of the game that get away from us . . . we need to minimize those. We had a few too many of those [moments] against Ottawa.
“We’re aware of it. We know who won and who lost last night. But we need to take care of our business. If we do, we’ll be fine. We really will. If we take of our business, it doesn’t matter what this team does or what that team does.
"That’s a fact. That’s the message. It’s quite simple. If we take care of business, we’ll be fine. If we don’t, then we’re hoping.”
Clearly taking care of their business includes dispatching both the Lightning and the Islanders. Hoping is what the Bruins ended up doing in each of the previous two seasons, and it left them fully out of luck once the music stopped.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while having never said “break a leg” for good luck to fellow Stoneham, Mass., native Nancy Kerrigan on social media, or otherwise.
*A brief video history of Sidney Crosby spearing, or otherwise targeting, opponents in the crotches prepared with care and thought by the Puck Daddy himself, Greg Wyshynski.
*Elliotte Friedman has his 30 thoughts for the week and a few of them centered around new Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy.
*Could the NBA’s star-resting phenomenon reach into the NHL when it comes to getting in-season time off for the superstars?
*Give the Leafs credit because they picked up coach Mike Babcock when he made a rare screw-up against the Blue Jackets.
*Check out the sick USA/Russia skating kicks on Alex Ovechkin, who had them custom made for a charity event.
*Speaking of Ovechkin, could T.J. Oshie and not Ovechkin actually lead the Capitals in scoring this season?
*For something completely different: Hide the women and children, the Scorpions and Megadeath are going on a North American tour together.