The Associated PressNEW YORK (AP) — The Boston Bruins have been winning every conceivable way recently. Against the sagging New York Rangers, they used stellar goaltending early and six straight goals to do the job.
Riley Nash and Zdeno Chara scored first-period goals and Patrice Bergeron added two in the second to help the surging Bruins swamp the Rangers 6-1 on Wednesday night.
The Bruins won for the 18th time in their last 23 games, getting 21 saves from backup netminder Anton Khudobin. The Bruins (33-11-8) are just a point behind Atlantic Division-leading Tampa Bay.
“In the first period, our goaltender was terrific,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “He was the difference tonight. We got a lead going into the second and once that happened, our group thought we would be in good shape.”
Tim Schaller’s goal that made it 4-1 at 7:25 of the second period chased Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and brought boos from the crowd at Madison Square Garden. Lundqvist was replaced by Ondrej Pavelec.
“After they scored two in the first, instead of staying aggressive the way I need to be, I became passive,” said Lundqvist, who hasn’t won since Jan. 18. “When you lose a lot, obviously it’s going to affect you.”
The Rangers had won seven straight over the Bruins, including both meetings this season. But New York was no match for the Boston attack on Wednesday.
After Rick Nash gave the Rangers an early lead with his 16th goal five minutes into the first period, the Bruins began their relentless barrage. Riley Nash tied it with his eighth of the season at 7:54 with assists to David Backes and Danton Heinen.
Lundqvist initially stopped a shot by Backes. But the Bruins forward recovered his rebound, then sent the puck in front to Nash as Rangers defenseman Tony DeAngelo was caught out of position.
Chara, the 40-year-old defenseman playing his 20th NHL season, put Boston ahead at 16:09 of the first with his fifth goal of the season and the 193rd of his career.