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Recap: Bruins’ third period breakdown hands them 5-4 loss to Rangers

The Bruins couldn’t bounce back from a wild third period and fell to the Rangers this afternoon.

New York Rangers v Boston Bruins Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

The Boston Bruins failed to play a full 60-minute game, despite two strong periods, and fell to the New York Rangers 5-4 today at the TD Garden.

It was a wild third period, with seven goals between the two clubs. But ultimately, three goals in four minutes from the Rangers gave New York the edge which the Bruins couldn’t bounce back from.

The Bruins came within one goal twice during the final frame, but their third-period breakdown in front of the net handed the Rangers the game, despite outshooting them 39-23.

“It was kind of odd after you have two good periods,” Bruce Cassidy said. “Uncharacteristic from our team.”

The Bruins put pressure early on the Rangers to start the game. Although the Bruins didn’t have a man-advantage opportunity until the end of the period, the first few minutes of 5v5 play felt like a power play. Early shifts by Patrice Bergeron’s and David Krejci’s line had strong puck movement in the offensive zone.

But although they controlled the play, for a majority of the period, the top lines had a hard time getting pucks through to the net. Combined, the first and second line had three shots on goal. The Rangers defense got in the way of at least two scoring potentials from Bergeron and David Pastrnak on the same shift, and came up big to block the shots in the slot.

The Rangers definitely looked like they had more life in them today. They had a few chances, ringing one off the post and a few blasts from the point. But the Bruins had better backchecking to break up opportunities. In particular, Brad Marchand broke up a 2-on-1 as he hustled to jump into the play and get his stick on the puck.

After the first period, the game was scoreless. Shots were 9-7 in favor of the Bruins.

The Bruins continued to carry the momentum into the second period where play was mostly in the offensive zone for the first several shifts. Sean Kuraly and Craig Smith had nice second efforts, picking up rebounds.

Taylor Hall capitalized on a takeaway in the defensive zone, carrying the puck through all three zones for an attempt on Keith Kinkaid that made the goaltender do a double take to make sure he had the save. That shift led to offensive zone puck possession the next shift for Bergeron and co.

But it only takes one shot.

The Rangers opened the scoring at 6:21 of the second period on their first shot of the period.

Off the face-off, Justin Richards picked up the loose puck and sent it back to K’Andre Miller who from the left point, took a long wrist shot that beat Tuukka Rask stick side. 1-0 Rangers.

The Bs kept at it though, seeing a strong effort from the third line. Jake DeBrusk had a chance with a turnover and almost connected on a set-up by Nick Ritchie out front. Their efforts came to fruition before the second period ended to even the score.

The Bruins tied the game at 18:12 of the second period.

DeBrusk got his stick on a blast from Charlie McAvoy, but Kinkaid made the initial save. Ritchie picked up the rebound, that bounced off the back boards and onto his stick, to put a shot over Kinkaid’s right pad. 1-1 game.

The Bruins outshot the Rangers 19-5 in the middle frame.

The third period again got off to a strong start like the previous 40 minutes and the Bruins got on the board early.

The Bruins took the lead 21 seconds into the third period with Pastrnak’s 200th NHL goal.

Marchand found Pastrnak in the slot for a one-timer over Kinkaid’s glove. 2-1 Bruins.

But the game shifted to the Rangers favor, as the Bruins’ defense and goaltending broke down in the final frame. The Rangers netted three goals in four minutes, as the Rangers capitalized on an uncharacteristic period from the Bs.

“Everyone can take their share of responsibility for the way we played in the third period,” Cassidy said.

The Rangers answered back at 5:22 of the third period.

Some tic-tac-toe passing stemming from Ryan Strome to Pavel Buchnevich and then to Mika Zibanejad led Zibanejad in the slot to put one past Rask’s stick. 2-2 game.

The Rangers took the lead at 7:26 of the third period.

Anthony Bitetto found Alexis Lafreniere in the slot where he put a backhander top-shelf over Rask. 3-2 Rangers.

Shesterkin entered the game for the Rangers after Kinkaid exited at 8:50 of the period after making a save on Pastrnak.

The Rangers extended their lead at 9:36 of the third period. Strome found Vitali Kravtsov skating into the slot where he blasted a one-timer top-shelf over Rask’s stick shoulder. 4-2 Rangers.

Even though it was not solely his fault for the third period collapse, Rask didn’t help get the team out of the hole. Through 40 minutes, Rask faced 12 shots, making 11 saves. In the final 20 minutes, he made 7 saves on 11 shots. In that sequence of three goals, Rask only made one save on four shots.

The Bruins bounced back at 14:08 of the third period with a power-play goal.

On a give-and-go, Krejci sent a pass back to Marchand where in the slot, he put a backhander past Shesterkin’s glove. 4-3 game.

The Rangers re-took their two-goal cushion at 18:07 of the third period for Zibanejad’s second goal of the night and his 200th NHL goal.

Buchnevich picked up an attempt by the Bruins’ defense to clear the zone and found Zibanejad in the high slot for a wrister over Rask’s glove. 5-3 Rangers.

The Bruins pulled Rask, and with the extra attacker came within one score at 18:39 of the third period.

Matt Grzelcyk fired a blast on net which Patrice Bergeron got his stick on and redirected the shot over Shesterkin’s glove. Final score: 5-4.

The Bruins return to the TD Garden on Monday for a 7 pm match-up against the New York Islanders.