NEW YORK — You’ve heard it all before: The dreaded two-goal lead — the most dangerous lead in all of hockey.
Yadda yadda yadda.
They might have been just 20 minutes away from capping off their third game in four nights, but the Bruins had just about every right to be confident skating out on the ice at Madison Square Garden — holding steady to a 3-1 lead in the final stanza of Wednesday’s game with the Rangers.
For as hard as wins are to come by in the NHL, the Bruins have managed to draw quite the line in the sand when it comes stymying the opposition over the years during the final period of play.
Boston’s roster has shuffled quite a bit in the past decade, but you can’t argue with stats: Since the 2010-11 season, the Bruins have posted a record of 255-14-20 when leading at the start of the third period.
Based on what transpired in the second period of Wednesday's game, the Rangers — sitting out of the playoff picture with a record of 22-22-8 — seemed to be dead in the water, knocked onto the ropes after Boston unleashed three goals in the span of 3:22.
All in all, it was shaping out to a feel-good win for Bruce Cassidy’s club — a third-straight victory highlighted by a return to form for Jaroslav Halak and a pair of 5v5 tallies from a forward corps completely turned on its head.
For once, it wasn’t going to be another one-goal nailbiter for Boston — with an overloaded top line of Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand forced to handle all of the heavy lifting.
Perhaps it was only a pipe dream to expect two points to come so easily, but it didn’t take long for it all to devolve into a nightmare.
In the minutes after the B’s limped off the ice after five cardiac-punishing minutes of overtime and seven frustrating rounds of a shootout, Patrice Bergeron was blunt in his assessment of Boston’s 4-3 shootout loss.
At this point, any silver linings to come out of the game — whether it be another point in the standings or solid returns from three news lines — have to fall upon deaf ears.