As Seen on NESN – The Boston Bruins fell to the New York Rangers, 1-0, in a shootout Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. Nigel Dawes scored the only marker of the game as the second Rangers shooter in the shootout, and Henrik Lundqvist made 35 saves in regulation and three in the penalty shot contest for the win.
The Bruins had traveled to The Big Apple to take on the Rangers in their first of two road games in three days and hoped to move into sole possesion of sixth place in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
And for much of the game it looked as if the B's, shorthanded and minus Aaron Ward and Zdeno Chara, might take two points with them to Ottawa.
The Rangers earned the first power play of the game when Petteri Nokielainen entered the box at 8:18 for interference. Smart play by the Bruins penalty killers and goalie Alex Auld kept the Rangers from taking the lead.
With 7:20 left, a scrum around the B’s net forced Auld to dive for the puck, which wound up behind him. Some help from Glen Metropolit kept the puck out of the net, and the score remained tied at zero.
A breakaway by Phil Kessel ended in a nice shot by Peter Schaefer after Kessel made a cross-ice pass to his linemate, but Lundqvist stopped the Black & Gold from scoring.
On the other end of the rink, Auld was playing just as well in his net, making a spectacular save on a breakaway shot by Martin Straka at 16:04.
Dennis Wideman was called for hooking at 16:08, and the Rangers gained the man advantage once more, but to no avail, and the game remained scoreless after 20 minutes.
Boston would start the second on the power play, as Christian Backman wound up in the box for interference with 12 seconds left in the first.
Just 35 seconds into the second, Glen Murray joined Backman with a tripping penalty, and a four-on-four game commenced.
A deluge of shots on the Bruins net just before the five-minute mark forced Auld to make save after save, but he kept the cage puck-free.
With about seven minutes remaining, Lundqvist had to do the same in the Rangers end as Marco Sturm, on a breakaway after a pass from Wideman, took a shot, followed by a rebound shot by Chuck Kobasew.
Sean Avery took a hit around center ice from Metropolit at 14:48, but he retaliated with 3:50 remaining, during a pile-up in the Black & Gold net. Avery garnered a roughing penalty and was sent to the box, venting his frustrating by lobbing water bottles.
Jaromir Jager went to the box at 19:00 for high-sticking. The game would remain tied a zero going into the third period, and the B’s would once again enter the next period with the man advantage.
At 2:55, Nokelainen laid out Marek Malik in the Rangers end, earning him a two-minute penalty for charging. Chris Drury took offense to the hit, and he and Nokelainen engaged in a bout, earning both players seven minutes in penalties.
With a little over 15 minutes left, Lundqvist made what one announcer called “the biggest sequence of saves in the game,” bringing the MSG crowd to their feet. Metropolit was responsible for two shots, one of which resulted in a sideways-diving save from the goaltender.
The audience might have thought they were experiencing deja-vu when, about one minute later, David Krejci took another two shots on the New York netminder.
Lundqvist, however, still stood strong.
Avery took a shot on Auld at 8:28, but it bounced right off the crossbar and to the left of the net, and the game still stayed scoreless. Then, Scott Gomez stole the puck from Andrew Ference in the Bruins end of the rink and had a clear shot on Auld, but the B’s goalie made the stop with 6:26 remaining.
Shane Hnidy and Brendan Shanahan started a scuffle next to the Black & Gold net with 6:21 remaining, but the referees broke it up quickly and with under five minutes remaining, after another scrum around the Boston net during which Auld had to dive on the puck once more, the refs had to separate Jagr and Hnidy.
The short tempers continued to boil, and as the regulation-ending horn sounded with the game headed for overtime tied with no score, Avery faced Milan Lucic, but they were separated soon after.
The defensemen and goalies for both teams kept playing hard into overtime, stopping many shots and keeping many more from being taken, and after another scoreless five minutes, the shootout began.
Lundqvist stopped Sturm, Kessel and Krejci, while Auld saved shots from Shanahan and Drury. Dawes’s shot, however, bounced into the goal off the post, giving the Rangers the win.