He caps his stellar night by stoning David Krejci on a partial break in the final minute and finished with 42 saves for the shutout.
The Bruins are now nine points behind the Rangers in the conference standings. Their hold on the Northeast Division lead is still solid. Ottawa is only four points back after beating Tampa Bay, but the Bruins have five games in hand on the Senators.
The Bruins now hit the road for a crucial six-game trip starting Wednesday in Montreal. The season-long trip could be just what the Bruins need to try to break out of this funk as they're now just 6-7-1 in their last 14 games.
Third Period, 18:10, Rangers 3-0: It took more than 58 minutes, but the Bruins finally get their first power play of the night as Steve Eminger goes off for tripping Ference.
Third Period, 15:21, Rangers 3-0: Scary sight as Brandon Dubinsky takes a puck in the face on an Andrew Ference dump in. He heads straight to the locker room after being down on the ice for several moments.
Third Period, 14:10, Rangers 3-0: The Bruins continue to press, and now have a 32-19 edge in shots, but have yet to beat Lundqvist as time is quickly running out on any comeback hopes.
Third Period, 10:01, Rangers 3-0: The Bruins appeared to have finally gotten one past Lundqvist with a Seidenberg blast from the blue line. But after initially being called a goal on the ice, it was waved off following a review as the puck actually went wide of the net and got stuck in the side of the cage, never actually crossing the goal line.
Third Period, 8:38, Rangers 3-0: Some friendly fire strikes the Bruins, as Tyler Seguin is in pain after being hit by a Chara blast in front.
Third Period, 5:36, Rangers 3-0: The Bruins continue to press, but Lundqvist remains perfect, stopping Dennis Seidenberg's point shot and Tyler Seguin's rebound in front.
Third Period, 2:53, Rangers 3-0: The Rangers add another as Artem Anisimov may have just put this one out of reach.
Anisimov came in on a 2 on 1 with defenseman Michael Del Zotto joining the attack on the left wing. Anisimov took the shot himself, beating Thomas from the right circle.
Third Period, 1:04, Rangers 2-0: Milan Lucic continues to show his frustration as he gets into it verbally with Brandon Dubinsky. That brings Brandon Prust over and they both go for two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct. It will be 4 on 4 again for the next two minutes.
Third Period, 0:00, Rangers 2-0: The final frame is under way here at the Garden, where the Bruins will need a big rally to pull this one out and avoid falling further behind the Rangers in the race for the top spot in the East.
Second Intermission Notes: The Bruins did everything but score in the second, but that's little consolation as they still trail 2-0 with just one period to play.
Boston outshot the Rangers 14-6 in the second and lead 24-17 overall, but Henrik Lundqvist has been perfect so far. The frustration of the Bruins trying to beat him with controlling play for long stretches is evident, and they'll have to stay disciplined in the third if they want to make a comeback in this one.
The Bruins got more physical in the second, as reflected in a 14-9 edge in hits (25-25 overall) and that helped them generate some momentum. They'll need to do more of that in the third, but stay out of the box in the process. Milan Lucic has been particularly aggressive so far with four hits.
Newly re-signed Johnny Boychuk leads the way with five hits. He also has a shot and a blocked shot, but is minus-1 in 16:05.
End Second Period, Rangers 2-0: The second period ends with the Bruins still trailing by two despite dominating much of that frame. Henrik Lundqvist has been the difference, stopping all 14 shots he faced in the period and all 24 overall.
Second Period, 17:40, Rangers 2-0: Things get a little nasty with a running battle between Milan Lucic and Marc Staal that shift. Staal dumps Lucic after the whistle, leading to a scrum, with Rich Peverley going after Staal. Staal and Peverley each get two minutes for roughing and the sides will skate 4 on 4.
Second Period, 15:32, Rangers 2-0: The Bruins beginning to press a bit now, which is going to create some chances for the Rangers to counterattack. New York gets one such opportunity here, but Brad Richards' shot is deflected up into the netting by Thomas as Richards elects to take the shot himself on a 2 on 1.
Second Period, 12:25, Rangers 2-0: The Bruins with even more chances, crashing the net in a wild scramble in front. Lundqvist lost his stick and had to play with a defenseman's, but the Bruins still can't put one home.
Second Period, 10:15, Rangers 2-0: The Bruins create some solid chances with the Bergeron line, but miss the net on a series of shots and can't cash in on the opportunities. The momentum is starting to swing a bit back toward the Bruins though.
Second Period, 8:05, Rangers 2-0: The Rangers answer back, but Thomas keeps the Bruins within striking range with back-to-back saves on Brandon Dubinsky from the left slot and Ryan Callahan on the rebound in front.
Second Period, 6:53, Rangers 2-0: The Bruins are showing more life now. Tyler Seguin with a chance in front, then Patrice Bergeron has a bid on the rebound but can't quite collect the puck in the right slot.
Second Period, 4:46, Rangers 2-0: The Bruins turn to the fourth line for a lift and the Merlot Line responds. Best shift since early in the first as Campbell, Paille and Thornton keep the Rangers hemmed in their zone and create several chances before Lundqvist finally ties it up for a whistle.
Second Period, 2:14, Rangers 2-0: The Rangers are winning the bulk of the battles in this one. They seem a step ahead of most of the Bruins so far.
Second Period, 0:00, Rangers 2-0: The middle frame is under way here at the Garden, where the Bruins will look to climb out of the hole they dug for themselves in the opening period.
First Intermission Notes: The Bruins started strong but faded over the course of the first period, and now face a 2-0 deficit as a result.
Boston had all the momentum until a costly penalty by Zdeno Chara. The rangers converted the power play and controlled most of the period from there.
The Bruins had an 8-3 edge in shots at the time of the penalty, but the Rangers finished the frame up 12-10. New York also outhit the Bruins 16-11 and even had the edge in the faceoff circle 13-10.
The Bruins tried to shake things up by reuniting David Krejci with Milan Lucic and Rich Peverley, while Chris Kelly went down to the third line with Benoit Pouliot and Jordan Caron. Krejci and Peverley each had a pair of shots, but the revamped Kelly line did not have any between them.
End First Period, Rangers 2-0: That was not what the Bruins were looking for in the opening period, as a decent start was erased by a pair of Rangers goals, the second in the closing seconds of the frame.
First Period, 19:48, Rangers 2-0: The Rangers add another in the final minute as Ryan McDonagh scores a huge late goal through traffic in front.
First Period, 14:03, Rangers 1-0: The Bruins have not had a shot since Chara's penalty. They had an 8-3 lead in shots in a scoreless game at that point. It's now 8-7 with the Rangers up by a goal as New York has taken over the momentum in this one.
First Period, 12:56, Rangers 1-0: The Rangers create a chance with some hustle as John Mitchell beats Boychuk to an icing, setting up a point shot that almost handcuffs Thomas before the Bruins netminder is able to tie it up for a faceoff.
First Period, 10:09, Rangers 1-0: The Rangers convert on their only shot of the power play as Ryan Callahan finishes a pretty passing play.
Marian Gaborik began it from the high slot down to Michael Del Zotto at the bottom of the left circle, and Del Zotto quickly dished it over to Callahan at the top of the crease for the easy tap in behind Thomas.
First Period, 9:21, 0-0: The Rangers get the first power play of the game as Zdeno Chara is called for delay of game for closing his hand on the puck deep in the New York zone.
First Period, 8:25, 0-0: Boychuk goes for the big hit on Brandon Dubinsky and just gets a piece, but Paille comes in and nails him dead on as the physical play starts to pick up.
First Period, 6:33, 0-0: It's been a bit of a feeling-out process early in this one, but the Bruins have been doing a better job of getting pucks through to Lundqvist. They have five shots already, though it remains scoreless.
First Period, 1:58, 0-0: Newly extended Johnny Boychuk fires in the first shot of the night for the Bruins with a blast from the right point. It gets through to Lundqvist, but he makes the save.
First Period, 0:00, 0-0: And we're under way here at the Garden, where the top teams teams in the East face off for the second time this season. There could be fireworks early with Ference and McDonagh, as well as tough guys Thornton and Prust, all in the starting lineups.
7 p.m.: The Bruins will open with the fourth line Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton up front, Adam McQuaid and Andrew Ference on defense and Tim Thomas in goal.
The Rangers respond with some toughness of their own with Brandon Prust, Brian Boyle and Brandon Dubinsky up front, Ryan McDonagh and Dan Giradi on defense and Henrik Lundqvist in net.
6:55 p.m.: Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli just wrapped up his session with the media discussing the Johnny Boychuk extension and the Bruins' goal to be active at the trade deadline. Plenty of analysis on the Boychuk deal to come after the game.
As for the game itself, callups Andrew Bodnarchuk and Josh Hennessy are healthy scratches, with Nathan Horton remaining out with a concussion. Ruslan Fedotenko remains out for the Rangers, who will also sit Wojtek Wolski and Jeff Wowitka.
6:30 p.m.: Tim Thomas and Henrik Lundqvist lead the teams out for warm-ups.
That's the goalie matchup for this showdown between the top two teams in the East.
6 p.m.: It's been a busy day at the Garden, where the Bruins are getting ready to take on the East-leading Rangers in about an hour.
They're also looking a little further into the future, signing defenseman Johnny Boychuk to a three-year extension Tuesday afternoon. Boychuk was due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Of more immediate concern, there's the matter of finding a way to get through the Rangers defense and its impressive shot-blocking abilities. If they get through those guys, there's still the issue of beating Henrik Lunqvist, who will be getting the start. On the plus side, neither side expects New York to be seeking revenge for Andrew Ference's hit on Ryan McDonagh in the last meeting that earned the Bruins blueliner a three-game suspension.
8 a.m. ET: The Bruins took a big step toward snapping out of their recent funk with a solid effort in Saturday’s 4-3 shootout win over Western Conference power Nashville.
But on Tuesday they'll face an even bigger challenge in trying to proving that they are truly back on track as East-leading New York pays a visit to TD Garden before the Bruins hit the road for a season-high six-game road trip.
The Rangers prevailed 3-2 on a Marian Gaborik power-play goal with 3.6 seconds remaining in overtime in their last visit to Boston on Jan. 22. That came after a major penalty to Andrew Ference for charging that also led to a three-game suspension for the Bruins defenseman. That was just the latest incident in an always contentious rivalry, with the bad blood likely to continue in this one as there will be no love lost in this Valentine’s Day affair.
The Bruins can't afford to get undisciplined though. They need a victory to stay within striking range of the Rangers (36-13-5, 77 points), who have built a seven-point lead over the Bruins (34-17-2, 70 points) for first place in the conference. The Bruins do have one game in hand and three head-to-head matchups remaining, but they have to make the most of them, starting with Tuesday’s clash, if they hope to reel in the Rangers and gain home ice in the playoffs.
The puck drops at 7 p.m., so check back here for updates on all the action.
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