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  • What we learned: Bruins get character win over Rangers

    Post Game

    What we learned: Bruins get character win over Rangers

    Tim Rosenthal November 27, 2015

    During their two-game road trip, the character wins the Bruins got against the Maple Leafs and Red Wings were due in large part to the goaltending performances from Tuukka Rask and Jonas Gustavsson. The two netminders bailed out the Black and Gold after they were outplayed in both games.

    Against the Rangers, the Bruins needed a better effort. They got it, but they still needed to overcome some second period woes and a questionable interference call on Brad Marchand in their Friday afternoon “Thanksgiving Showdown” at TD Garden. They did just that and sent the crowd home on a high note after a thrilling 4-3 victory over the Blueshirts.

    “I think we knew it was going to be a tough game, but I thought we came to play this afternoon,” head coach Claude Julien said about his team’s ‘character win’ on “Black Friday.” “Back and forth, the momentum just switched around, but, you know we stuck with it. Of course when we go down 3-2, the way we battled back and the way [we won] certainly makes it a character win.”

    Bruins bounce back from second period blues

    The Bruins’ Achilles heel over the last couple of seasons — or at least it seems — has been their second period. During their trips to Toronto and Detroit, the B’s were outplayed and outhustled against the Maple Leafs and Red Wings and played most of the middle 20 defending their end of the ice. They were outscored over that span, 5-1.

    Those second period blues continued against the Rangers when defensive breakdowns by the Dennis Seidenberg-Colin Miller pairing led to a pair of Rangers goals by Oscar Lindberg and Rick Nash 3:05 apart. As time progressed in the middle 20, however, the B’s played better and tied things up on a Brett Connolly power play goal at 9:34 breaking a streak of three straight games where they didn’t score on the man advantage.

    “You’re always going to have some tough shifts and maybe [allow] some bad goals,” said David Krejci. “But you know, it’s always about how you respond, and the second power play unit did a really good job getting that second goal.”

    That was not the only time the Bruins needed to respond to adversity…

    …Bruins respond again after Lundqvist’s embellishment

    Some of the calls made by the officials were certainly questionable to say the least. Connolly’s goal came shortly after a Dylan McIlrath fight with Matt Beleskey. The bout began after Beleskey delivered a late hit on Derek Stepan, who only skated a couple of shifts after that and suffered broken ribs according to Rangers coach Alain Vigneault.

    One period later, the Rangers benefitted from a Brad Marchand interference call. Henrik Lundqvist sold the call on Marchand in an acting job that was worthy of an Academy Award. New York took a 3-2 lead on J.T. Miller’s fourth of the year after Tuukka Rask had difficulty handling a shot from the point by Keith Yandle.

    “I know he does some acting on the side, but I don’t think it needs to be on the ice,” Julien said in response to Lundqvist’s actions.

    The interference call and Miller’s goal didn’t demoralize the Bruins bench, however. They bounced back and got that character win with Ryan Spooner’s tying goal (on the power play) and David Krejci’s game-winner coming 2:03 apart.

    “It was definitely a huge win for us,” Spooner said afterwards. “For us as a group now I think we just need to talk about maintaining how we’re playing right now. I feel that this game that we just played was probably our best in the last five. So we just need to be positive with it and just go with it like that.”

    Vatrano earns spot with Bergeron and Marchand

    Rangers at Bruins

    Following a two-goal performance against the Red Wings, Frank Vatrano was promoted by Claude Julien to skate with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand against the Rangers. (Photo by Joe Makarski, Bruins Daily)

    Continuing to impress since his call up from Providence, East Longmeadow’s own Frank Vatrano earned a spot in the lineup with Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. In his first game with the Bergeron/Marchand duo, the 21-year old had a tall task of facing the Rangers’ top line of Derick Brassard, Rick Nash and Mats Zuccarello.

    The former UMass Minuteman logged a career high 14:39 of time on ice. In 22 shifts, he was a plus-1, fired two shots and held his own on the defensive end and in the neutral zone; important traits when playing with Bergeron and Marchand.

    “I think we played a strong game. We were good in all three zones,” Vatrano said about playing with Marchand and Bergeron. “You know, we were good at creating opportunities, and I think we were good on the defensive side of the puck. For the first time playing together, I think we played really well and the game a lot easier for me.”

    Droughts snapped

    With numerous friends and family in attendance, Dorchester’s Jimmy Hayes tallied his first point in nine games in his fourth career NHL matchup with his brother, Kevin. The elder Hayes assisted on Connolly’s power play goal to break his skid.

    Speaking of Connolly, he broke an 11-game goal drought with his fifth of the season. His last goal came on Halloween against his former team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, that capped off a stretch of four goals in five games at the end of October. Perhaps similar performances are in order when Connolly and the rest of the Black and Gold embark on a three-game trip to Western Canada starting in Edmonton on Wednesday night.

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    Tim Rosenthal

    Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.


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