The New York Rangers played their first game since Feb. 1. Despite living in what has been called a “COVID hotbed” they went through the first half of the season without having too many games postponed so they had more time off than other teams during the allotted Olympic break. The game against the Boston Bruins was eventful if not surprising. Here’s why.
Marchand and Bergeron Out
The Bruins were depleted coming into Madison Square Garden (MSG) Tuesday night. They didn’t have their top two forwards who’ve both been mainstays in just about every situation the Bruins have had over the last decade.
Brad Marchand is out because of a suspension he received during a Feb. 8 game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Bruins leading scorer was suspended for six games because of an incident in a scrum, not completely unlike the Tom Wilson, Artemi Panarin event last season.
However, Marchand decided to take on a goalie. He punched Tristan Jarry and then skated around a bit and poked his stick at Jarry’s mask. I’m guessing Brian Boyle wasn’t on the ice. And Marchand was extremely lucky former Penguins’ enforcer Dave Schultz wasn’t.
Marchand had this to say about it after receiving the six-game suspension, “it was a situation that arose, and I reacted very poorly. It really doesn’t matter what started it. In that situation, I obviously have to be much better controlling my emotions and not reacting that way,” he also said, “Yeah, was it stupid? Of course, it was stupid. I’m not denying that. I absolutely should not have done it. But suspension-worthy? I don’t think so. “That’s where in the moment, if I would’ve thought I’d get suspended, I wouldn’t have done it, especially if I thought I was gonna get six games. That’s part of it that gets tough sometimes, to know where the line is when it changes for each player and each night.”
Patrice Bergeron didn’t play against the Rangers Tuesday because he’s nursing a “head injury.” The Bruin’s top center practiced with the team before they left for New York and hopes to join the team soon. The Rangers were heavy favorites heading into the game with the two Bruins’ stars out. However. they needed a shootout that went nine rounds to get the two points and the 2-1 win.
Shesterkin Forced to Leave in 3rd
Bruins forward Craig Smith ran into Igor Shesterkin with 2:38 left in overtime. Alexei Lafreniere jumped on Smith and received a roughing penalty while Smith received one for goaltender interference. Shesterkin was shaken up a bit on the play but remained in the game. However, during the next stoppage with 40.5 seconds left the concussion spotter came down and told the Rangers’ netminder he had to leave the game to get checked for concussion symptoms. The Blueshirts No. 1 goalie slammed his stick against the glass as he left the ice.
Alexandar Georgiev came in to try and hold off a potential late surge by the Bruins. However, the Rangers were able to control the play for the last 40 seconds not allowing any shots on Georgiev, and the game went to a shootout. Before the shootout began, Shesterkin emerged from the locker room to help secure the win. Shesterkin only allowed two goals on nine attempts before K-Andre Miller deked Jeremy Swayman for the winner on his first-ever shootout attempt. Shesterkin was named the game’s first star and greeted with “Igor” “Igor” chants throughout.
A Weird Win, First Star and Unlikely Hero
Heading into the game against the Bruins, nobody was figuring a 2-1 shootout win. With the two Bruins stars out of the game, the Rangers figured to get a fairly easy “W.” However, it’s the NHL and that’s not always how things work. Shesterkin took a quick break but came back to cement the win and the game’s first star, while K’Andre Miller scored his first-ever shootout goal.
Scott Blair is an author and journalist from Los Angeles, CA, by way of Detroit, MI. Uniquely diverse experiences have shaped Scott’s life in both of those places he calls home. He is now traveling the world, learning and growing as a human and a writer. He was a professional hockey player and then turned to the arts, becoming an actor for about 15 years. His passions turned to poetry, prose, politics, and journalism when he got tired of the Hollywood machine and what it represents. Scott is available for interviews and welcomes questions and topic ideas.