The Boston Bruins started off red hot in the first period of their game against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night, but it didn’t last very long.
A string of five unanswered Rangers goals against fourth-string goalie Zane McIntyre ultimately spelled defeat for the B’s, who lost 5-2 on the road.
Here’s a look at how it happened.
The Boston Bruins hadn’t scored the first goal in any game this season, and that six-game stretch was the longest the team has gone without doing so since 2012.
That changed very quickly Wednesday night, when David Pastrnak raced into the zone off the opening faceoff, played a little give-and-go with Brad Marchand, and pushed a puck past Henrik Lundqvist just 10 seconds into the game.
Marchand and Zdeno Chara earned assists on the play. Marchand’s apple tied him with Auston Matthews for the most points in the league (10).
Rookie Austin Czarnik got his name into the books for the first time as well, scoring the first goal of his career to give Boston a 2-0 lead at 14:44. David Krejci earned the assist.
After 20 minutes of play, Boston led 2-0.
OFF THE RICHTER
Making the first start of his NHL career, McIntyre looked pretty damn good under the Madison Square Garden lights. Until he didn’t.
McIntyre, who had about 10 people in attendance for the milestone achievement, including his parents, was the 2014-15 recipient of the Mike Richter Award, which goes to the best goalie in college hockey. He looked every bit the part for the first 35 minutes of the game, stopping 18 of 19 shots he faced, including a scoreless first period (nine shots).
Then Boston got sloppy and took four lazy penalties in the second period, and the Rangers capitalized by scoring on two of them. New York scored five unanswered goals overall (three in the second period, two in the third) and McIntyre quickly unraveled.
His final line: 26 saves on 31 shots against.
Of the six penalties Boston took in the first two periods, the average age of the skater headed to the box was 24.5 years old. While these youngsters have certainly provided a bit of a spark (and some salary cap relief) in the early goings, they’ve had their fair share of miscues — and they finally paid for them.
Boston entered the night tied for the 10th-most penalty minutes (71) on the season, but was only 18th in power-play goals allowed (three), good for a 87.5 penalty kill percentage. Something had to give, and it did: New York scored twice in seven chances on the man advantage.
So while it’s fair to say McIntyre could’ve been better, working shorthanded for 14 total minutes and having the defenders in front of him that much more tired certainly didn’t help.
Both Kevin Hayes and Jimmy Vesey, who grew up in Massachusetts, scored against the Bruins in the win.
Hayes, who grew up in Dorchester and is the younger brother of current Bruin Jimmy, scored the game-tying goal in the second period. Vesey, who grew up in North Reading and won the Hobey Baker Award as the best player in college last season, put the nail in the coffin with New York’s fifth goal. Both were rumored to be in contract discussions with Boston when they were unrestricted free agents in the summers of 2014 and ’16, respectively, and both spurned their hometown team to sign with the Rangers.
Rick Nash and Brandon Pirri (twice) scored the other three New York goals.
The Bruins travel to Joe Louis Arena on Saturday night for a divisional matchup with the Detroit Red Wings, who currently sit in third place in the division through two weeks. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports Images