That deals a big blow to any hopes of moving up any higher than the third seed in the East. More importantly, it has to be a damaging blow to the Bruins' confidence heading into the playoffs with the memory of last year's postseason collapse still fresh in many memories.
It could also add some doubt if the Bruins end up matched up with the Rangers in the first round, which is now a very real possibility with the Rangers pulling even with Montreal with 91 points.
The Bruins have three games left to try to put this one behind them and get back on track for the playoffs, starting back home at the Garden against the Islanders on Wednesday.
Third Period, 19:07, Rangers 5-3: The Rangers finish this one off as Derek Stepan scores an empty-net goal from outside the blue line in the final minute.
Third Period, 17:03, Rangers 4-3: The collapse is complete as the Rangers take take their first lead of the night.
Michael Sauer pinches in on the right side and sends a shot through Thomas that just trickles over the goal line.
Third Period, 16:12, 3-3: The Rangers come all the way back and pull even as Brandon Dubinsky ties it at 3-3.
Dubinsky was left alone down low behind the defense and beat Thomas with a backhand move at the top of the crease.
Third Period, 14:55, Bruins 3-2: The Bruins have settled things down here in the third and regained a bit of control, but the Rangers remain just one shot away from tying this one.
Third Period, 11:15, Bruins 3-2: Prospal nearly completed the hat trick as he picks Peverley's pocket, but Seidenberg makes the shot block after sending the pass to Peverley that led to Prospal's steal.
Third Period, 9:24, Bruins 3-2: The Bruins were hemmed in their own zone for the first time in a while there with the third pairing of Ference and McQuaid on the ice, but managed to clear the puck with no damage this time.
Third Period, 5:10, Bruins 3-2: Good shift by the Bruins' top line, which created a couple good chances to turned the momentum a bit back toward Boston.
Third Period, 2:53, Bruins 3-2: The Bruins with a huge kill there capped with a big save by Thomas as the penalty expired.
Third Period, 0:53, Bruins 3-2: The Bruins will be shorthanded early in the third as Dennis Seidenberg is sent off for tripping. That came seconds after he fell down and gave Ruslan Fedotenko a scoring chance at the left post.
Third Period, 0:00, Bruins 3-2: The final frame is under way, with the Bruins looking to hold on to a lead that's been cut to just one goal.
Second Intermission Notes: The Bruins had a chance to put this one away after jumping out to a 3-0 lead midway through the second period, but they let the Rangers get back into the game with a pair of goals and now will have another nail-biter against New York.
After outshooting the Rangers 19-5 in the first, the Bruins managed just four shots in the second while New York had nine. The Bruins are still leading 20-11 in hits, which could help wear down the Rangers, who played Philadelphia on Sunday. The Bruins also lead 14-11 in blocked shots, quite a turnaround from the clubs' last meeting.
Rough night so far for Adam McQuaid in his return to the lineup after sitting out Saturday. He's a minus-2 in 9:32, though he does have two hits and two blocked shots.
End Second Period, Bruins 3-2: Once again, a three-goal lead doesn't bode well for the Bruins, who were in command up 3-0 midway through the game. But the Rangers score two late in the period to pull within one and this one will be a fight to the finish in New York.
Second Period, 18:26, Bruins 3-2: The Rangers pull within one as Prosal and Wolski combine again.
This time Wolski sends a backhand pass out from behind the net to Prospal, who scores his second of the night from the top of the crease.
Second Period, 14:28, Bruins 3-1: The Bruins kill that penalty off and will now try to regain some control of this one and stall New York's momentum.
Second Period, 12:28, Bruins 3-1: The Rangers now go on the power play with a chance to cut the lead to one as Krejci picks up another penalty, this time for slashing.
Second Period, 11:34, Bruins 3-1: The Rangers get on the board as Vinny Prospal taps in a rebound behind Thomas after the Bruins' netminder stopped the initial one-timer from the right circle by Wojtek Wolski.
Second Period, 10:32, Bruins 3-0: The Bruins add another as Chris Kelly scores his first as Bruin with a drive down the left wing.
Tomas Kaberle and Dennis Seidenberg pick up the assists, but Seguin and Peverley deserve credit as well for driving the net to distract Lundqvist.
Second Period, 10:16, Bruins 2-0: The Bruins are spending a lot more time in their zone this period, but the defense is still doing a good job of limiting the Rangers' chances and good looks at the net. New York still with just eight shots all game more than halfway through, though Boston has just one shot this period.
Second Period, 7:02, Bruins 2-0: Excellent work on that PK by the Bruins, who held the Rangers without a shot and maintained the momentum despite being down a man.
Second Period, 5:02, Bruins 2-0: The Bruins will be shorthanded again after a long delayed penalty call. Krejci goes off for hooking as the Bruins face a huge kill here to prevent the Rangers from getting right back into this game.
Second Period, 2:30, Bruins 2-0: The Bruins have continued to press the attack to start the second, and still seem a step ahead of the Rangers.
Second Period, 0:00, Bruins 2-0: The second period is under way, with the Bruins looking to build off a dominant first frame in New York.
First Intermission Notes: The Bruins couldn't have scripted a much better opening period than that. Boston came out hard and took full advantage of a Rangers squad no doubt weary from Sunday's shootout win against Philadelphia.
The Bruins outshot New York 19-5, with the Rangers managing just three shots at even strength and no shots at all for the first 10:44 of the game. The Bruins have also done a better job of getting shots through to Henrik Lundqvist, as the rangers have just a 7-6 edge in blocked shots after blocking 30 in the last meeting.
Boston has gotten some strong play from the fourth line. Daniel Paille had the first goal, which came after nearly scoring on a breakaway set up by Michael Ryder. Ryder did get an assist on Paille's goal and has picked up where he left off after coming alive a bit with Saturday's game-winning penalty shot. Paille also has three shots and a blocked shot in 4:22.
End First Period, Bruins 2-0: Very strong opening period for the Bruins, who head into intermission with a 2-0 lead and a 19-5 advantage in shots.
First Period, 16:53, Bruins 2-0: The Bruins double the lead as Nathan Horton bangs home a rebound of David Krejci bid in front.
Krejci drove hard to the net from the right side and Horton follows up from the top of the crease. Milan Lucic picks up the secondary assist and the Bruins lead in shots 16-5.
First Period, 15:16, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins strike first thanks to some solid work by the fourth line. Michael Ryder sent Daniel Paille in alone behind the defense, but Lundqvist made the save.
The Bruins kept the pressure on and Ryder crossed a pass to Johnny Boychuk pinching in at the right circle, and his shot was tipped in front by Paille.
First Period, 12:15, 0-0: The Bruins kill off that penalty, though the Rangers did get their first shots on goal with several good scoring bids on Thomas.
First Period, 10:15, 0-0: The Bruins will now be shorthanded, with Patrice Bergeron picking up the penalty for tripping Steve Eminger. The Rangers don't have a shot yet, but will get a chance now with the man-advantage.
First Period, 7:55, 0-0: The Bruins can't convert that power play, with the Rangers again getting in the shooting lanes, though Dan Girardi paid for that by blocking a Zdeno Chara blast.
First Period, 5:55, 0-0: The Bruins get the first power-play chance of the night as Marc Staal is called for slashing David Krejci on a drive to the net from the right side.
First Period, 5:02, 0-0: The Bruins with some good jump early. They've already had a couple quality chances on Lundqvist.
First Period, 2:43, 0-0: The two sides of Tyler Seguin on one shift, as he almost gives it away in his own end, regathers the puck and uses his speed to create a chance and put a shot on net at the other end.
First Period, 0:00, 0-0: The final meeting, of the regular season anyway, between the Bruins and Rangers is under way in New York, with Boston looking to continue its roll toward the playoffs and possibly climb up even higher in the Eastern Conference seedings.
7:30 p.m.: The Bruins will start Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi up front, Tomas Kaberle and Dennis Seidenberg on defense and Tim Thomas in goal.
The Rangers counter with Brandon Prust, Brian Boyle and Ruslan Fedotenko up front, Ryan McDonagh and Michael Sauer on the blue line and Henrik Lundqvist in net.
7:25 p.m.: The Bruins have scratched Shawn Thornton, Shane Hnidy and Steven Kampfer as expected.
Kris Newbury and Matt Gilroy are the healthy scratches for New York.
7:15 p.m.: No surprises in the goalie matchup for this one. Tim Thomas gets the call for Boston, Henrik Lundqvist his 24th straight start for the Rangers.
Could be two of this year's Vezina finalists on display at Madison Square Garden.
7:05 p.m.: This is the only Eastern Conference game on Monday's schedule, so all eyes will be on this one.
This is the Bruins' game in hand on Washington and Philadelphia. It's Boston's chance to pull within two points of one of the top two spots in the conference and assure themselves of home ice beyond the first round.
The Rangers are looking to solidify their hold on one of the final playoff spots and can pull even with Montreal with 91 points with a win, but the Habs would remain in sixth place with more non-shootout wins.
6:50 p.m.: There might be too much on the line in this one for things to get too nasty, but don't be surprised if things are a bit chippy between the Bruins and Rangers.
In their first three games, there have been four fights in the first three games between the Original six rivals this year and it was exactly two years ago to the day that Sean Avery chopped the back of Tim Thomas' head during a TV timeout to start a near riot. Thomas had the last laugh with a 31-save shutout in a 1-0 win that day, and the Bruins and Avery have continued to battle ever since. Two of this year's fights have featured the Rangers' agitator, who fought Mark Stuart on Oct. 23 and Greg Campbell on March 26.
6:30 p.m.: The Bruins will take on the Rangers in New York in about an hour in what could be a preview of a first-round playoff matchup.
The Bruins will have pretty close to their postseason lineup in place. Shawn Thornton, who was named the Boston chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association's nomination for the Masterton Trophy on Monday, is expected to remain out recovering from last week's cut to his forehead, but no other regulars are expected to be rested.
Steven Kampfer and Shane Hnidy will be the scratches on defense and Tim Thomas is expected to start in goal after Tuukka Rask got in some extra work at the optional skate in the morning.
8 a.m.: The Bruins clinched the Northeast Division title and no worse than the third seed in the Eastern Conference with Saturday's 3-2 win over Atlanta, but they have a chance to climb even higher than that.
Boston has 99 points, just four back of both Philadelphia and Washington, with a game in hand on both.
They'll play that game Monday night in New York against the Rangers, who have plenty of incentive themselves. New York is battling to hang on to one of the final playoff spots in the East. The Rangers beat Philadelphia 3-2 in a shootout on Sunday but stayed in eighth place with 89 points after Buffalo beat Carolina 2-1 in overtime later on Sunday. The Rangers are two points back of sixth-place Montreal, one behind Buffalo and just two ahead of Carolina.
This final meeting of the regular season between the Bruins and Rangers could be a preview of many more clashes in the playoffs, as they could easily be matched up in the first round.
That won't be an easy matchup for the Bruins by any means. The Rangers have won two of the first three meetings this year, taking both games at the TD Garden with a 3-2 win on Oct. 23 and a 1-0 victory on March 26. The Bruins won 3-2 in the first matchup at Madison Square Garden this year on Nov. 17.
It's no surprise that all three games were each decided by one goal. Since the St. Patrick's Day Massacre, when the Rangers routed the Bruins 7-0 on March 17, 2007, 14 of the last 16 meetings between the Original Six rivals have been decided by one goal, while the other two were each 3-1 decisions. The overall results in that span are extremely close as well, with the Bruins going 7-6-3 in those games.
The Bruins and Rangers keep goals at a premium, with six of those last 16 meetings being 1-0 games. That includes the last matchup, when Henrik Lundqvist blanked the Bruins for his 11th shutout of the year. Lundqvist has started a career-high 23 straight games, but even with the Rangers playing on back-to-back days, don't expect him to rest for this one. The Rangers are without veteran backup Martin Biron (broken collarbone) and Lundqvist is 15-5-2 with a 1.43 GAA, .950 save percentage and five shutouts in 22 career games against Boston.
The puck drops at 7:30 p.m., so check back here throughout the day for updates on all the action.
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