The closed-door meeting lasted only two minutes. There wasn’t really much to say. The Bruins knew they had played poorly against Detroit on Wednesday. They knew they needed to bounce back against the Rangers. So coach Claude Julien didn’t need to yell at them after practice on Thursday, didn’t need to keep them long.
As he said, “That last game didn’t sit well with us, and instead of getting upset, we were going to get determined.”
And the Bruins followed through, taking a 3-2 victory over the Rangers on Friday afternoon at TD Garden.
“I thought we played probably one of the best games of the year today,” said goalie Tuukka Rask. “We wanted to bounce back after a pretty embarrassing loss there, and we did.”
The Bruins had been through ugly defeats before and generally have been able to respond. They did again on Friday, coming back from a one-goal deficit in the third period against a tough goaltender in Henrik Lundqvist.
“We’ve been through a lot,” said Rask, who made 17 saves. “We’ve had tough losses before. We don’t want to let any bad habits creep into your game. You’ve just got to realize it was a bad game for everybody [on Wednesday]. We lost it, and move on. Do the right things next game. Today we really just kept it simple and did the right things. And at the end of the day, the Rangers didn’t really have a chance.”
In fact, the Bruins accomplished something that hadn’t been done in more than three years — beat the Rangers after New York held the lead going into the third period. The last time that had happened was Feb. 4, 2010, against Washington. Since then, the Rangers had gone 95-0-6 when ahead after two.
So it showed something that the Bruins could do that 36 hours after what Julien called a “disastrous” 6-1 loss to the Red Wings.
“I think it’s important to step up and also let everyone know that we all need to do that,” said Patrice Bergeron, who ended a six-game scoreless stretch by tying the game at 2 at 1:35 of the third period. “You can’t just turn the page, you’ve got to learn from it and realize that we got embarrassed and if we don’t play and work the way that we should work, we’re not going to get the result.
“We’re not the type of team that can play like that, so we’ve got to be going every night, and I think today was an important game to be back at it.”
The Bruins were led by their leaders, by Bergeron, some tough work from Milan Lucic (four shots, four hits), and especially by captain Zdeno Chara, who earned himself a Gordie Howe hat trick.
Chara scored the winner at 11:05 of the third, blasting home a shot from the high slot one period after he had sparked the team with a rare fight, dropping the gloves with 6-foot-7-inch Brian Boyle.
The goal was the result of some hard work from the first line, with serious pressure coming from Lucic and Jarome Iginla that allowed the Bruins to create the chance for Chara.
The Bruins started the scoring on a goal from Brad Marchand, his first since Nov. 15 against Ottawa. It was a one-timer from the right circle off a cross-ice pass from Chara at 11:42 of the first.
But the Bruins allowed the Rangers to draw even at 13:04, with Rick Nash beating Bergeron and Chara with an off-balance wrister that displayed his strength. That was followed just 1:22 later by a Ryan McDonagh score. The Bruins were down by a goal.
“I think we all stayed with it and stayed calm and we told ourselves that we needed to go back and keep putting pressure because the game was definitely not over,” Bergeron said.
Boston proved that in the third, first with Bergeron’s goal and then with Chara’s.
“I just told our guys to keep doing what they were doing,” Julien said. “I thought we were playing with lots of energy. I thought we had lots of chances.
“You get beat the way you did [Wednesday], you want to come back and certainly buy yourself back,” Julien said. “I thought today we just played a good, solid game all around — lots of physical play, lots of emotion and scoring chances, we had lots of them. We hit some posts and everything else, but I think today I can honestly say I felt like it was a good game but we were the better team, and that’s what I wanted our team to be.”