March 2, 2014

After flat start, Bruins roll past Rangers

By Jesse Connolly

Greg Campbell, Dan Paille and Shawn Thornton can only laugh at how absurdly dominant they are against the New York Rangers. (Getty Images)

Final: Boston 6, New York 3

Recap: The B's defense was again looking diastrous early on at Madison Square Garden, with the Blueshirts jumping out to a 14-1 edge in shots and a 1-0 lead when J.T. Miller came in alone on Tuukka Rask and faked out the Boston netminder. But the Bruins responded by playing much sharper and got the game tied up at two on a nice feed from David Krejci to Jarome Iginla with 1:53 left in the opening frame.

In the second, goals from Dougie Hamilton and Carl Soderberg gave the Black and Gold a 3-1 lead at the midway point of the contest, but Brad Richards was able to get open down low and roof a shot past Rask with 3:07 to go until the second intermission.

Boston upped their lead to three thanks to a pair of goals from fourth-line pivot Greg Campbell in the first 13:26 of the third. The Blueshirts made it a two-goal game again with 4:42 left in the game, via a power-play goal by defenseman Ryan McDonagh. Milan Lucic closed out the scoring, tipping a shot from Matt Bartkowski past Henrik Lundqvist with 1:36 left.

Records: Boston (38-17-5, 81 points); New York (33-26-3, 69 points)

Key Play of the Game: Early in the third, Boston was shorthanded and their one-goal lead was in jeopardy. Loui Eriksson gathered the puck in the offensive zone and found an open Campbell, as Rangers defenders lost sight of the center. Eriksson hit him with a perfect pass right in front, and No. 11 buried a backhander to put Boston back up by two. The goal proved to be the game-winner.

Connolly's Commendations: The fourth line just loves feasting on the Blueshirts, especially at Madison Square Garden, where they also scored the game-winner the last time the B's were on Broadway. Campbell had two goals on three shots, Dan Paille picked up an assist and, along with linemate Shawn Thornton, had another really solid effort. Campbell won seven of his 10 faceoffs as well.

It was a huge game for Dougie Hamilton. We lauded the second-year Bruin for his aggression Saturday against Washington, and it paid off again Sunday. Hamilton had a goal and two assists. He also tied for the team lead with three blocked shots.

Boston never would've been in this game if it weren't for Rask in the early going. No. 40 stopped 19-of-20 shots in the opening frame. 

Connolly's Critiques: The B's still have some work to do defensively. Sleepwalking through the first 10 minutes didn't help matters, but Rask shouldn't be facing 42 shots, especially against a middle-of-the-road offense like New York's.

Notes: Matt Bartkowski had a game-high plus-4 rating. ... The B's swept their season series with the Blueshirts for the first time since 1982-83. ... Boston hadn't scored six goals in a game against the Rangers since Dec. 9, 2000. 

Final Thoughts: As mentioned in the critiques section above, the Bruins weren't perfect in the neutral and defensive zones, and they certainly had stretches in which they turned the puck over too frequently, but their overall performance was undoubtedly better than the ones they had in their first two post-Olympic tilts. 

Next: The B's will play host to the Panthers on Tuesday night.

Twitter: @JesseNEHJ