BSJ Game Report: Rangers 4, Bruins 3 – New lines mesh, but Rangers rally back for shootout win

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NEW YORK — Everything you need to know from the Bruins’ 4-3 shootout loss to the Rangers in quickie form, with BSJ insight and analysis...



Another lead slips away: Boston might have been on the second leg of a back-to-back slate, but the Bruins' tendency to relinquish leads continues to be a troubling trend following Wednesday's 4-3 shootout loss to New York. The B’s seemed poised for a feel-good win at Madison Square Garden, with a pair of reshuffled lines tallying goals and giving Boston hope of more secondary-scoring production down the road. And then, it quickly became undone in the third period.

A horrid backchecking effort allowed Kevin Hayes to cut the Blueshirts' deficit to one at 9:24 in the third, while a brutal boarding penalty taken by Charlie McAvoy allowed Filip Chytil to tie things up at 12:41 — with the game finally decided in the seventh round of the shootout. Even with the point, Boston is now 6-6-2 against clubs outside of the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference. These points — or lack thereof — are going to haunt this club come late March.

New lines mesh: After a sluggish showing during 5v5 play through the first 30 minutes of regulation, Bruce Cassidy once again put his lines in a blender at Madison Square Garden. The fourth line of Noel Accari, Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner was the only trio left untouched — as Danton Heinen was placed on the top line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak was slotted down to the second line with Peter Cehlarik and David Krejci, while a slumping Jake DeBrusk was demoted to the third line with Joakim Nordstrom and Trent Frederic.

Here’s a look at Boston’s full revised lineup chart:

This latest concoction might have been Cassidy’s most drastic reshuffling yet, but it didn’t take long for the results to manifest. Heinen, making his first appearance since Jan. 31, opened the scoring for Boston at 10:37 — tipping a point blast from Matt Grzelcyk past Alexander Georgiev to tie things up at 1-1. Just 1:12 later, another revamped Boston line struck during 5v5 play, as Krejci fed the biscuit out to Pastrnak down low for the winger’s 31st goal of the season.

It remains to be seen if these lines stick going forward, but if Boston can keep Krejci rolling with a winger like Pastrnak to work with, the secondary-scoring woes that have plagued the B’s all season long suddenly become a bit easier to bear.