BOSTON — The Bruins ended their 6-game losing skid Saturday afternoon with a 4-2 win over the New York Rangers at TD Garden.
Three first-period goals and quality goaltending helped Boston secure two much-needed points in the playoff race. The B’s have moved two points ahead of the Ottawa Senators for the second wild-card playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Ottawa plays the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre on Saturday night.
The Bruins return to game action Sunday against the Carolina Hurricanes in the second matchup of their weekend back-to-back.
Here are three takeaways from Bruins-Rangers:
1. Bruins Take 3-0 Lead In One-Sided First Period
The Bruins took an early lead 1:41 into the game when Milan Lucic scored his 16th goal of the season, snapping a 6-game goalless drought for the veteran winger.
Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist stopped Patrice Bergeron’s shot from the half wall, but the rebound went into the slot, off Lucic’s skate and into the net. The play immediately was ruled “no goal” by the referee behind the net, but a formal review conducted by the situation room in Toronto ruled the puck crossed the goal line in a legal fashion.
Bergeron’s assist on the goal extended his point streak to five games.
Lucic doubled Boston’s lead with another goal at the 9:26 mark. David Pastrnak made a good play along the wall in the defensive zone to start the rush up ice, and Lucic finished the play with a snap shot that beat Lundqvist five-hole.
Soderberg finished a dominant period for Boston with an unassisted goal, his 12th of the season.
2. Tuukka Rask Leaves In Second Period
Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask left the ice just 10 seconds into the second period for undisclosed reasons. Replays showed him talking to one of the referees before leaving the crease. He seemed to skate without any trouble to the bench and talked to B’s head coach Claude Julien before heading down the tunnel.
Rask stopped all 14 shots he faced in 20:10 of ice time. The team announced during the third period that Rask was “unlikely” to return, but did not specify further. Bruins head coach Claude Julien said Rask is “fine” and it might have been a case of dehydration.
Backup goalie Niklas Svedberg entered the game to replace Rask and made 16 saves on 18 shots. Svedberg hadn’t played since March 22 against the Buffalo Sabres.
3. Henrik Lundqvist Returns To Lineup
Lundqvist returned to the crease Saturday after missing more than a month with a throat injury.
He struggled mightily in the first period and gave up three goals on 14 shots. Lundqvist finished with four goals against and 26 saves. The damage could have been worse if he hadn’t stopped Brad Marchand and Loui Eriksson breakaways in the second period. The Swedish netminder had given up four or more goals twice in his previous 20 games.
In Lundqvist’s defense, his teammates in front of him didn’t play well defensively with careless turnovers, weak resistance in the slot and lackluster breakouts.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images