Not Much Bruin: Rangers Fall To League-Leading Boston Bruins 3-1 at MSG

Perhaps it’s too strong to say the Rangers failed their test against the league-leading Boston Bruins, but they certainly learned the lesson that they have work to do if they wish to defeat them. It resulted in a matter-of-fact 3-1 loss to Boston in a game in which the Rangers didn’t play badly but not up to the level they needed to be. So let’s break it down.



Honestly, I don’t even love the category title. The days of treating this Rangers team as a “little engine that could” underdog story need to end. They are coming off a conference finals run and have a team with abundant talent, including an award-winning goalie and defenseman.

That being said, what the Boston Bruins are doing this year is historical, so there is no shame in losing a hard-fought game to them. Granted, once Boston scored their third goal mere seconds into the third period, the lead felt (and was) insurmountable, but that doesn’t mean the Rangers were ineffective all game.

After another sluggish start in the first period, where they allowed an early deflection goal by Pavel Zacha, the Rangers actually created a flurry of chances against Swayman and the Bruins. Unfortunately (as we’ll touch on below), the Blueshirts couldn’t capitalize on any of these chances, whether because of some solid saves by Swayman or this team’s inaccuracy and inability to finish in general.

Still, if you wanted to be a glass-half-full fan and look at this game objectively, the Rangers were not overmatched. The Bruins just played every aspect of the game just a bit better than the Rangers, including the most important one, being opportunistic with their scoring chances.

That doesn’t help us in the standings, but at least it provides hope that they are close enough to compete with this team down the road.


While special teams, in general, are something this team needs to focus on improving, last night’s penalty kill went above and beyond to prevent this game from getting away early.

The Rangers committed back-to-back penalties late in the first period to give the Bruins a five-on-three power play for one minute and forty seconds. Somewhat miraculously, they were able to keep this talented Boston unit off the scoreboard any further, leaving the deficit at only 1-0. At the time, it seemed like it could be a galvanizing effort to spur the Rangers to seize momentum in the game, but it was not to be.

Still, an encouraging sequence for the PK unit on a night they held Boston scoreless on their four power plays.



If only this squad were as inspiring on the other side of special teams. It’s become a broken record at this point, but it’s not too harsh to say that the level of ineptitude with this team’s power play is embarrassing, especially with the level of talent on the ice.

The whole unit needs more creativity and confidence, and Gallant and this staff seem hesitant to shake things up truly. There’s some value in trusting your players that have had a history of success, but there is also foolishness in not trying to tweak things here and there.

Gallant changes lines on a whim, as if he needs to reach a quota each game. Indeed, he can find a combination that provides a new look, even short term.  

This team isn’t proficient enough on even strength to overcome the power play, not chipping in goals here and there. Even worse, we will often get a man advantage during a sequence when we are humming on five-on-five. When that happens, all an ineffective power play does is ruin any rhythm we had, and it proves to be counterproductive to our overall game.


Speaking of broken records, the aspect of this team that is probably the most frustrating is not being able to finish our chances. It’s one thing when we used to lament the lack of finishing skills of a Gauthier (a little better this year) or a Chytil (MUCH better this year), but now it has spread beyond just our secondary lines.

Panarin has recently become wildly inaccurate, missing the net several times. Even Mika’s one-timer has been inconsistent this year, which is also a reason why our power play has lost its luster.

All this can be encompassed by our bewildering lack of success on breakaways this year, especially lately. Not counting shootouts, our success rate on them has been insanely poor, including a chance by Bread last night where Swayman denied him five-hole. (That drives me nuts too. All the goals were elevated high-side last night, and it’s maddening that the Rangers don’t try it more often. It’s the most surefire way to beat a solid goaltender)

The main problem with this issue is there’s no proper way to fix it. The cliche answer (and it’s not wrong) is the Rangers still need to be more aggressive with their shooting. There are way too many times they pass up a point-blank shot for a deflected pass or a successful pass to someone who doesn’t have any angle to shoot.

I’m tired of typing the same things repeatedly, so if they stop doing it repeatedly, the team and I can mutually help each other solve this conundrum. 


  • Ben Harpur, of all players! Good for him. I think now we need to get Lindy a goal (but he’s been great otherwise.). This more so exacerbates the fact that Blais still doesn’t have one as a Ranger. Oh, what a celebration that will be when (if?) he does.
  • I didn’t love one of the goals, but Igor was not the issue last night. He did what he had to do.
  • Lafreniere was definitely more noticeable last night, but you can see his tentativeness in spots again. He passed up a point-blank shot for a pass that had zero chance. He also took a penalty, but he did have the assist on Harpur’s goal, so hopefully, getting on the stat sheet, even in a losing effort, lets him take a deep breath.
  • The next game is on Monday at home against Florida. The Panthers are a team we match up well with and one that gives up a lot of scoring opportunities. No excuse not to light the lamp with authority.

Marc Panzer

NYR Fan living in Long Island

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