Bruins Wrap: Boston Rallies Late To Stun Rangers In Black Friday Thriller


BOSTON — The Bruins and New York Rangers treated fans to a post-Thanksgiving thriller Friday at TD Garden.

Boston scored twice in the final four minutes to stun the Metropolitan Division leaders 4-3 in a game that featured three lead changes, three ties and a hearty helping of controversy.

Ryan Spooner scored on the power play to tie the game with 3:46 to play, and David Krejci potted the game-winner 2:03 later to extend Boston’s win streak to five games.

Bruins coach Claude Julien reworked his line combinations before the game, elevating rookie Frank Vatrano to the first line and dropping Jimmy Hayes to the fourth.

Hayes, who enjoyed modest success on Boston’s third line earlier this season, had been a non-factor since being placed with top-liners Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron and had gone without a point in nine games dating back to Nov. 5. Vatrano, meanwhile, was coming off a game in which he scored two goals, including an overtime game-winner.

You’d never have known from watching the first period that these teams were playing at 1 p.m. on the day after Thanksgiving. The opening 20 minutes featured chances galore for both sides, with Patrice Bergeron turning one of his into the game’s first goal.

The goaltenders were the stars of the frame, however, with New York’s Henrik Lundqvist looking especially sharp. Lundqvist, apparently eager to put Wednesday’s 5-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens behind him, foiled grade-A bids by Joonas Kemppainen, Loui Eriksson, Matt Beleskey and Vatrano in an 11-save first period.

The second period again proved problematic for the Bruins, who surrendered two goals in the first 5:15 to fall behind. Oscar Lindberg and Rick Nash both took advantage of defensive lapses to light the lamp for the Rangers.

Including Friday, Boston has allowed seven second-period goals in its last three games.

The momentum shifted back in the Bruins’ favor, after an incident involving Matt Beleskey, Derek Stepan and Dylan McIlrath midway through the period. Beleskey leveled Stepan after the Rangers center had released the puck, and McIlrath retaliated by accosting Beleskey along the side boards.

McIlrath got the best of Beleskey in a quick fight, but the resulting discipline benefited the Bruins. Beleskey was given five minutes for fighting, but McIlrath was slapped with a two-minute instigator penalty and a 10-minute misconduct on top of his fighting major, putting Boston on the power play.

Brett Connolly capitalized on the ensuing man advantage, putting one past Lundqvist for his first goal since Halloween and the Bruins’ first power-play tally in four games.


Colin Miller and Hayes assisted on the goal, snapping the latter’s point-less streak. Stepan, meanwhile, did not return to the bench for the third period.

Another controversial sequence came with the score tied midway through the third period, when a questionable goaltender interference call on Marchand gave the Rangers a power play.

Replays clearly showed Marchand making contact with the New York netminder, but they also showed Lundvist pausing for a moment before whipping his head back, prompting the Garden crowd to loudly petition for an embellishment call.

No such call came, and the Rangers took a late lead with Marchand in the penalty box. Keith Yandle’s wrist shot rang the right post but deflected off the back of Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask and into the net.

Get ready for some late nights, Bruins fans. Boston’s next three games will come on the road against Pacific Division opponents, beginning Wednesday against the Edmonton Oilers. Puck drop for that one is set for 9:30 p.m. ET.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via New York Rangers center J.T. Miller (10) shoots against Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask.
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