The Boston Bruins finally came back down to earth on Saturday night, when their four-game win streak was snapped with a 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers at TD Garden. Here are some quick thoughts on the team's first defeat since a 5-2 loss to the Coyotes in Prague on Oct. 9.
Flat start: For the first time since the season opener in Prague, the Bruins had a very flat start. They had only four shots 7 minutes, 30 seconds into the first period and couldn’t generate many chances. They weren’t skating like they had been during their win streak and their transition game was non-existent. The Rangers really weren’t that much better but they drove to the net more, created traffic, and it led to an early 2-0 lead. Boston's skating never really picked up to where it needed to be throughout the game, and that early jump the Bruins seemed to have lately wasn’t there. Every team is allowed a mulligan when they’re playing as good as the Bruins have been playing, but it’s worth keeping an eye on in the next few games. You don’t want to always be playing from behind.
Rask returns: Tuukka Rask started his first game since the Bruins’ season-opening 5-2 loss to the Coyotes in Prague. Rask made 26 saves Saturday, and while he can’t blamed for any of the goals, he still doesn’t look like the Rask who stole plenty of games last season -- or the Tim Thomas we’ve seen so far this season. But again, it would help him if the team in front of him picked it up a notch.
Power-play struggles: On Wednesday, Bruins coach Claude Julien dedicated practice to getting the power play -- the team was 1-for-15 at the time. The practice worked, as the Bruins went 3-for-4 on the man advantage Thursday night in a 4-1 win over the Capitals. But the power-play success was short-lived, as the Bruins went 1-for-6 Saturday and scored only one goal on two 5-on-3 advantages. Once again, Boston was seemingly looking for the pretty goal instead of taking the openings that presented themselves. Give credit to the Rangers penalty kill, though, for limiting those openings.
Penalty kill success continues: While the Bruins’ power play struggled, the penalty kill continued to get the job done. The Bruins continue to suffocate opposing power plays on Saturday, killing 5 of 6 Rangers power plays. Rookie Jordan Caron looked great again on the PK, making smart plays, anticipating breakdowns and generating chances the other way.
Horton rolls on: If he keeps up at this rate, Nathan Horton could prove to be Peter Chiarelli’s best acquisition. Horton had a goal and an assist Saturday and has now registered at least a point in each of his first six games as a Bruin. This matches the longest point-streak of his career.
Chara unleashing his shot: Zdeno Chara scored a power-play goal for the second straight game as he continues to unleash the fury of his shot. Chara’s goal came on his fifth shot of the period, and it appears that while some around him are still looking for the perfect play or pass, Chara has decided it’s best to just let her rip. He finished with a team- and game-high eight shots.
Injury bug may have finally hit: Following the Bruins 4-1 win over the Capitals Thursday night, Julien credited health as a reason the Bruins got off to such a good start. He even knocked on wood as he did so. Well, the superstitious move may have failed because defenseman Johnny Boychuk took a Brandon Dubinsky slash in the first period and left the game with an undisclosed injury. Boychuk returned and tried to battle through the pain, but couldn’t do it and missed the final two periods.
Fight night in the first period: While the overall play on the ice was flat in the first period, the Bruins and Rangers entertained the crowd with three solid bouts. The first came when Sean Avery jumped Mark Stuart after Stuart laid a thunderous hit on Ruslan Fedotenko. Stuart obliged, though, and took care of Avery. The second fight was a heavyweight bout between Shawn Thornton and Derek Boogaard. This one ended in a draw, as both enforcers never really got solid shots in. The final fight involved Milan Lucic and Brandon Prust doing the tango, and just as the fight seemed to get going, the referees jumped in to break it up. That seemed to be the case with the Thornton-Boogaard fight, as well.