By Mike Miccoli, Boston Bruins correspondent
The Boston Bruins were unable to slip any of their 26 shots past Henrik Lundqvist on Saturday as the New York Rangers stole a Saturday matinee, 1-0. Though the game was mostly carried by the Rangers, the Bruins outshot New York 12-1 in the final period. And while Lundqvist earned his league leading 11th shutout of the season, credit the Rangers who blocked 29 shots in front of him.
“We blocked shot after shot,” said Rangers coach John Tortorella. “We gave them squat the first two periods, third period they ramped it up on us and we blocked a lot of shots. Hank [Henrik Lundqvist] made a couple of great saves at key times. We played the right way and that’s what we’re going to have to do if we want to keep competing.”
“Blocking shots was going to be a big part because their defense is very active,” said Lundqvist. “The puck goes back to the blue line a lot, they’re shooting fast. Coming up with those blocks was big.”
Rangers rookie Derek Stepan tipped a Michael Sauer shot past Tuukka Rask early in the first period, enough to be the game winner for the Rangers. Even though Sauer may have stepped offsides as visual evidence may have shown, the goal stood as a tough pill for the B’s to swallow for the loss.
“It’s unfortunate the only goal that was scored maybe was a little bit of a controversial goal,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien during his post-game press conference. “It was a missed offsides.”
It was Dennis Seidenberg and Tyler Seguin with five and four shots apiece that led the Bruins on the offensive front. Boston’s top line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Nathan Horton were held to only two shots total.
“The biggest thing is they were able to block shots and get pucks out, said defenseman Adam McQuaid after the Bruins’ loss. “They really seemed to be chipping pucks out of their own zone and getting out into the neutral zone.”
Bruins’ goaltender Tuukka Rask made 22 stops in the loss and played well in front of a team that was otherwise erratic for the first two periods in front of him.
“It’s disappointing to lose but I thought we put up a really good effort,” said Rask. “Maybe it wasn’t a solid 60-minute game but we definitely came out hard in the third, got our chances and battled hard. Every time I’ve played against them it’s been a one-goal game. I expected a game like this, but it’s too bad that we lost.”
The Bruins were coming off of a 7-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night, a game that was played with a tremendous amount of emotion from the Bruins. Julien put down any notions of the Bruins’ being mentally exhausted after the game, calling it a ‘weak excuse’ for the loss.
“We’re certainly not going to use that as an excuse,” said Julien. This is time of year where you have to make sure that you can be able to push those emotional games aside. There’s going to be a lot of those emotional games coming up in the near future.”
“A 1-0 loss is always tough to take when you don’t score a goal after you score seven,” said Rask.
The Rangers now improve to 41-30-5 and inch past an idle Montreal Canadiens team for the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference due to a tiebreaker. While the Bruins’ loss doesn’t effect their standing, it does give them an opportunity to reflect on a Rangers team that could be another potential playoff opponent.
“They got their goal fairly early in the game and played a good system game,” said McQuaid. “They stuck to their system and didn’t stray from it.”
The Bruins will now travel to Philadelphia to face the top-seeded Eastern Conference team on Sunday night.