Bruins left wing Tyler Bertuzzi, left, and center Trent Frederic react after a goal by center Charlie Coyle (not pictured) during the first period of Saturday’s game against the New York Rangers at TD Garden.
Maybe the star-studded New York Rangers will get it together between now and the end of the regular season.
But the highly skilled Broadway Blueshirts could not hang with the Bruins for three periods on Saturday at TD Garden. The Bruins wore the Rangers down in the third period, scoring a couple of goals to pull away for a 4-2 victory for their 10th straight victory.
The Rangers were missing K’Andre Miller (suspension) and Ryan Lindgren (shoulder) and, because of their cap situation, they were forced to play with 16 skaters (11 forwards, five defensemen). The Rangers’ skill was evident at times, but they could not make enough plays against the league-leading Bruins.
The Bruins took a 2-1 lead into the third and, after they failed to extend the lead on two early power plays in the third, Patrice Bergeron made it 3-1 with 7:04 left in regulation. Brad Marchand carried the puck to the net with Adam Fox on his hip before dishing to Bergeron for his familiar snap shot for the captain’s 23rd.
Then David Pastrnak just about ended it with his 44th goal of the season with 3:20 left.
Alexis Lafreniere added his second of the game with 1:26 left but that was as close as the Rangers could get.
The Bruins took a 1-0 lead in an entertaining first period that had a little extra buzz, given all the major moves both teams made amid lofty aspirations.
The air got even more charged when, on a delayed Rangers penalty, Jacob Trouba stepped up and made one of his trademark opportunistic hits on Tomas Nosek. The clubs gathered in the middle of the ice for some spirited pushing and shoving before Derek Forbort squared off in a bout with Jimmy Vesey.
The Bruins were outshot 10-6 in the first, but the period was territorially even, with the Bruins missing the net seven times.
Boston took the lead at 18:07 on a play that was beautiful in its simplicity. Tyler Bertuzzi, making his Bruins debut, flipped the puck into the right corner from just outside the left point and Trent Frederic went to fetch. After protecting it in the corner, Frederic dished it back to Bertuzzi behind the net and the former Red Wing made a pretty pass out front to Charlie Coyle for the goal. It was Coyle’s 12th of the year and first in 13 games.
The Bruins started on the penalty kill after Bertuzzi took a slashing call late in the first, but Boston’s PK tandem of Coyle and Nosek pushed it to 2-0. After the Bruins’ first attack was turned away, Nosek forced a turnover from Fox, pushing the puck up to Coyle along the right boards. Coyle returned the puck to Nosek, who made a nifty backhand-forehand-backhand move for his fifth of the year.
But the Rangers got one back when Marchand was called for interference off an offensive zone faceoff. The Bruins were doing a solid job of killing this one off, too, but with the time winding down, Trouba’s shot was deflected by Lafreniere and off the post and in at 7:03.
That’s how it stayed though 40 minutes, but the Rangers’ skill started to rise to the surface as the second period wore on. The Blueshirts held a 23-15 shot advantage in the second, with Linus Ullmark (24 saves) making a couple of excellent saves.