Brendan Smith Rangers Bruins
(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers score first again, but the rest of the game turns into a dumpster fire as the Bruins roll to an easy win. 

Once again, the difference between a playoff team and team flailing in the wind was more than apparent on Wednesday evening at Madison Square Garden. Even though the New York Rangers came out with much more jump than in recent weeks, it was clear they were simply outmatched.

Although the Bruins were able to dictate play in the first period early, it was the Rangers who struck first, much like they did the other night against the Dallas Stars.

Hot trade commodity Rick Nash struck on a nice individual effort. Nash chipped the puck past Zdeno Chara and swooped in on his off wing and fired a nice shot past Anton Khudobin on the blocker side.

It’s these types of plays that should have Cup contenders lining up for his services come the trade deadline. Some may consider it a lucky bounce, but chipping the puck and getting up ice in a hurry is a playoff-type move. Ranger fans need to thank Rick Nash if he is dealt who’s raising his price with his play in the last month or so.

But the Bruins didn’t waste time in flipping the switch and brought the heat for the remainder of the first frame. Brendan Smith failed to make a simple play along the wall and turned the puck over at the tops of offensive zone circle. This lead to a Bruin three on one. Henrik Lundqvist made the initial stop but David Backes corralled the loose puck and patiently slid a pass to the other Nash, Riley in front of the net who tapped it in.

A poor play initially by Smith, plus some slow awareness by Anthony DeAngelo in front of the net, were at the forefront of the issues here. DeAngelo, who made contact with Lundqvist outside of the crease, failed to pick up Nash in front of the net and allowed Nash to just tap it in.

Bruins back up Anton Khudobin who was brilliant all night long, kept things even in the first which seemed to frustrate the Blueshirts. Mika Zibanejad had a golden opportunity in front of the net off a beauty of a pass from Mats Zuccarello, but Khudobin was equal to the task.

The Bruins second goal came off a shift that was a puck protection clinic. Youngster Jake DeBrusk absorbed multiple hits in the corner but continually maintained possession of the puck. The Rangers, who were at the end of a long shift, couldn’t prevent a pass from DeBrusk to Chara in the high slot and the big guy ripped a snap shot high blocker side on Lundqvist who was well screened.

The wheels really started to come off the wagon at the start of the second period. Three minutes into the period, Patrice Bergeron got things started with a wrister from just inside the blue line. A wobbly puck that Hank maybe should’ve had, and thus the Bruins party began.

Fourth liner Tim Schaller joined the offensive party with a beauty of a move on Anthony DeAngelo. Schaller just absolutes walks DeAngelo with a nice toe drag move and beats Lundqvist high blocker side.

DeAngelo for whatever reason was two zones behind the play allowing Schaller to leave the zone uncontested, skate through the neutral zone with speed, and turn DeAngelo into a pretzel. DeAngelo, who stopped moving his feet while waiting for Schaller to reach him, was forced to turn and skate forward too soon, lost containment on the wall and Schaller walked right in.

It was this goal that saw Henrik Lundqvist get pulled, the third time in five games for him. Again, not entirely his fault, although he will probably want that third goal back.

Three minutes after the DeAngelo debacle, after having earned a power play, the Rangers gave way to Bergeron again, who continues his stellar season. Brad Marchand forced a turnover on the penalty kill and came waltzing down. J.T. Miller decided not to back check and puck watch, while Bergeron slipped in front of him for a tap in. Believe it was Joe Micheletti who pointed it out, the Rangers were in position to eliminate sticks and bodies, but failed to engage contact.

Things didn’t go much better in the third period as seven minutes in, fourth liner Sean Kuraly found the back of the net of a two on one. The Rangers, who were obviously trying to make something happen and were pinching and being aggressive, turned it over yet again and off to the races the Bruins went.

Unfortunately Ranger fans, things will not get any easier in the remaining 29 games. With the trade deadline looming, there is something to look forward to so fingers crossed Jeff Gorton and Co. make some good decisions. The Rangers return to the ice Friday night at the Garden against the Flames. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.

Neal Purcell has a tremendous passion for New York Rangers hockey and the sport of hockey in general. A graduate of SUNY Cortland in Upstate NY, Purcell coaches both a high school hockey team and a travel team in the winter. Purcell is also a part of a small family business in the Central New York Region.