Rangers receive reality check in series-breaking loss to Bruins

BOSTON — Rangers haven’t faced many playoff clubs in recent games, and Saturday afternoon’s encounter with the Bruins was a harsh reminder of what the postseason will be like.

In their final away game of the regular season, the Rangers lost 3-1 to the Bruins, posting a four-game winning streak and allowing the Hurricanes to take first place in the Metropolitan Division on their own, having previously defeated the Devils Day.

Boston presented a much greater challenge than Rangers had faced in the previous two and a half weeks. In fact, the Bruins were the first playoff team the Rangers had played against the Hurricanes since April 12.

Rangers had won seven of their last 10 games, had victories (including three straight shutouts) in their last four games and took advantage of some underdog opponents.

Trent Frederic celebrates after scoring the third half goal.
Trent Frederic celebrates after scoring the third half goal.
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The Bruins, who were beaten in four of their previous six games, had star winger David Pastrnak, Hampus Lindholm, who was signed after the close, and goalkeeper Linus Ullmark back from injury-related absences just in time to take on Rangers.

Ullmark ended his 24th win of the season with 30 saves, but the Sweden keeper made almost every good shot Rangers could muster while gloved, including robberies on Mika Zibanejad and Frank Vatrano in the second half.

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Pastrnak was also effective in his first return game with a goal and an assist. The Bruins right winger opened the scoring in the closing seconds of the first period to keep Rangers on their heels and the visitors stayed there for the rest of the game.

Rangers fell into a 2-0 hole barely a minute into the second half after a pass from Adam Fox, intended for Artemi Panarin, was canceled and the Bruins’ Erik Haula sent Taylor Hall the other way to the breakaway . Hall went glove-sided on Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin, who is usually borderline impenetrable on breakaways.

The game became more and more crisp and later culminated in a nasty fight in the second. After Fox was knocked down in the corner by fellow Long Islander and pal Charlie McAvoy, Dryden Hunt and Ryan Strome angrily charged at the Bruins defender.

Patrik Nemeth (12) fights for the puck during the Ranges' loss to the Bruins.
Patrik Nemeth (12) fights for the puck during the Ranges’ loss to the Bruins.
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Zibanejad reduced the deficit to one with a power-play goal at 2:58 of the third period, on a late penalty that would have given Rangers a 5-for-3 advantage. But Bruins winger Trent Frederic hit a dagger at 9:37 of the third.

The Rangers and Bruins played power play tags throughout the first half, but neither club was able to capitalize on it. Boston continued to struggle with the man advantage and now has not scored in their last 32 chances.

However, with 34.1 seconds remaining in the opening frame, Pastrnak completed an excellent passing sequence to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead. Rangers receive reality check in series-breaking loss to Bruins


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