Here are the Talking Points from the Boston Bruins 2-1 shootout loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night.
GOLD STAR: Igor Shesterkin finished with 31 saves, including 12 alone in the third period and stopped each and every Bruins shooter after Jake DeBrusk and Charlie Coyle first scored against him amongst the opening three shooters. He stopped Taylor Hall on a backhanded breakaway bid in the third period and stuffed David Pastrnak in overtime as well among the most notable stops but was very solid for the Blueshirts after allowing a goal to Charlie Coyle early in the first period after bobbling a puck with his glove hand. Things got interesting in overtime when Shesterkin was pulled from the game by the concussion spotter with 40 seconds to go after flopping in the crease, and then pitched a fit as he was removed from the Madison Square Garden ice. Somehow, he was back between the pipes for the shootout just a couple of minutes later, and well short of the 10-15 minutes that a player is typically required to do concussion testing and sit in the quiet room. That will be something the Rangers will need to answer for, but Shesterkin was brilliant in the winning Rangers effort.
BLACK EYE: Zero shots on net for Mike Reilly, Brandon Carlo and Connor Clifton as the Boston Bruins are really struggling with some of the play on their back end. Reilly was barely noticeable despite playing more than 21 minutes of ice time in the shootout loss, Carlo had an error on a wrap around the boards that landed directly on a Rangers stick that required a Jeremy Swayman save to keep Artemi Panarin and the Rangers off the board. Clifton had some very lackadaisical plays with the puck on his stick and was part of the trio of D-men that had very forgettable evenings for a Boston team simply holding on to get the shootout point. Reilly was put in a big spot with Charlie McAvoy on the top blue line pairing but didn’t do anything to do distinguish himself during the game.
TURNING POINT: The turning point was most definitely in overtime after a play where Craig Smith attempted to push the puck in the net with his gloved hand after crashing the New York net hard in the OT session. Igor Shesterkin flopped on the play in a way that drew three Rangers players to attack Smith and forced the concussion spotter to remove the Rangers goalie from the game with just 40 seconds left on the clock. Shesterkin was angry about the spotter’s removal from the game, but probably shouldn’t have been given that he was right back in the mix for the shootout less than 10 minutes later. In fact, the Rangers may have some questions to answer with the league given how quickly a player suspected to be concussion was able to quickly re-enter the game.
HONORABLE MENTION: Charlie Coyle scored the only goal of the game for the Bruins and centered Boston’s best line with Trent Frederic and Craig Smith flanking him on the wings. It was Coyle that stole a loose puck, fed it to Smith in the high slot and then buried the rebound chance after Smith’s initial shot on Igor Shesterkin. Coyle finished with three shot attempts, a takeaway and a blocked shot in 16:20 of ice time that he sandwiched around getting stitches on his hand after being cut by Jeremy Swayman’s skate blade in the second period. Coyle also scored in the shootout at a clutch moment that kept the shootout going for the Bruins and gave six of his teammates a chance to win it before they ultimately fell to the Rangers. Bruce Cassidy said postgame that Frederic-Coyle-Smith was his best forward line on Tuesday night.
BY THE NUMBERS: 1-1-1 – the Boston Bruins record in the three games without Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand as the B’s prepare for No. 37 to potentially come back for Thursday’s game against the Islanders.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “Both goalies were very good tonight. That’s why it ended up 1-1, probably, with a lot of good stops.” –Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy on a goaltender’s duel between Igor Shesterkin and Jeremy Swayman that went all the way to the shootout.