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RANGERS 2, BRUINS 1

Bruins knew Rangers’ game plan, but couldn’t stop it

The Rangers' Jesper Fast celebrated after deflecting the winning goal past Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask with 1:42 remaining in regulation.Bill Kostroun/Associated Press
Rangers2
Bruins1

NEW YORK — The Bruins had discussed it during intermission. They knew what the Rangers had done in their previous game, scoring three goals in the third period to force overtime against Washington. So the Bruins understood they needed to be prepared for an onslaught.

And yet, they weren’t. Instead, the Bruins overrode a well-played first 40 minutes by allowing the Rangers to get the better of them in the final 20, falling, 2-1, on a late goal by Jesper Fast at Madison Square Garden on Monday night.

“We knew they were going to push,” Max Talbot said. “They’re a team that just did that one of their last games against Washington. They came back in the third. So we talked about that, about coming out as hard in the third as we did in the second.

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“But they had a good shift, their first shift obviously was a momentum swing a little bit, but I thought we worked hard. It’s not like they dominated us in the third period. It’s frustrating because you want to get out of this building with 2 points and you don’t.”

The Bruins had gone into the third ahead by a goal, the result of a Jimmy Hayes wrister from the high slot at 9:04 of the second period, as they set to face what they believed would be the best of the Rangers. They didn’t need to wait long to see it, with New York picking up its first goal just 35 seconds into the period.

The Rangers got their second goal with 1:42 remaining. It would be enough to win.

“I thought we played well in the first 40, did a great job of getting on them,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “The third period we talked about going out there, doing the same thing, but obviously it wasn’t as good as the first two. They seemed a little hungrier and found a way to win.”

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It was all the more frustrating after the Bruins had near-misses and hit posts throughout the game. The list was lengthy: Ryan Spooner, Brett Connolly, Talbot, including a stellar chance by Spooner alone on Henrik Lundqvist with 4:22 left in the first after a Chris Kreider giveaway.

“We had some opportunities here to score and we missed those,” Julien said. “Sometimes they go in for you. Sometimes they don’t. But at the same time you can make an effort to try and get yourself better in those areas because I thought we had some good opportunities there that we didn’t capitalize on.”

And New York did. As Lundqvist (32 saves on 33 shots) said, “After what happened last game, we knew we could come back. We knew we could maybe turn it up a little bit.”

At 18:18 of the third, with overtime seeming likely, Fast deflected a shot by Keith Yandle, sneaking the puck between the post and Rask’s stick for the winner after it had appeared to be going wide.

“One bounce here and there decides the game,” Rask said. “I thought maybe we could have deserved at least a point, but that’s not how the hockey goes all the time. It’s a loss. It is what it is.

“That last goal could easily happen on the other end, too. Those are the plays that happen sometimes. But obviously these are the kind of games that you have to win, you have to learn to win, in order to be a successful team. Today we didn’t.”

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The Bruins had come into this five-game trip hoping for great things, given their results on the road this season. It started well, with a win in New Jersey followed by an overtime loss in Ottawa. They have two more chances on the trip, with games at Philadelphia on Wednesday and Buffalo on Friday.

“We’d like to have more points out of this right now, but that’s why these points, we knew how important this game was to get 2 points,” Talbot said. “It’s frustrating, but we’re not playing bad hockey. If we keep the course and we keep pushing, I think we’ll win more games than lose.”

They just have to figure out exactly how to do that.

“You’ve got to learn to win those tight hockey games, at least get yourself into overtime,” Julien said. “We need a little bit more desperation at the end there that we didn’t have.”


Amalie Benjamin can be reached at abenjamin@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @amaliebenjamin.