"It wasn't like we blew up a five-goal lead," said Zdeno Chara after a 3-2 shootout loss to the Rangers in which the Bruins went up, 2-0, to start the third period at Madison Square Garden. Second-period strikes by Chara and Dennis Wideman put the B's up, but they took the pressure off in the third period. New York's Nigel Dawes and Markus Naslund converted. Chris Drury scored the winning tally in the shootout.
"A two-goal lead is probably the worst lead in hockey. We played pretty well most of the game, and then at the end they we were putting a lot of pressure on us. We could've probably handled it a little bit better," Chara told reporters.
The Bruins will be in Toronto Monday night for a Northeast Division go with the Leafs (7:30 p.m.).
Click below for more from the Globe's Kevin Paul Dupont in New York . . .
The Bruins were outhit by the Rangers, 38-37, but Aaron Ward (8) and Milan Lucic (7) led the individual hit parade. Chara chipped in with six hits, equaling Marc Staal, tops for the Rangers.
Michael Ryder, with three shots, now has gone seven straight games without a goal, and has only one strike since scoring in the season opener. He is working hard, but not necessarily in the areas where goal scorers are expected to score (read: in front of the net).
Other: David Krejci won only three of 10 faceoffs . . . Dennis Wideman's shorthander was the first this season for the Black-and-Gold . . . Old pal Paul Mara got into a brief tussle with Chuck Kobasew, the Bruins forward quick to wrap both arms around Mara rather than face the prospects of getting pasted . . . Play was delayed for about two minutes during the shootout when officials couldn't figure if Nigel Dawes, New York's first shooter, put the puck by Thomas. Thomas collapsed on the puck, and it look as if he might have dragged it across the line, but the replays couldn't get a good picture of the puck. No goal. ''I don't think it was in,'' said a smiling Thomas. ''As Hannu Toivonen would say, I made the famous butt save. I think it was under my legs'' . . . The Bruins were a perfect 6-for-6 killing penalties, and twice killed 5-on-3's in the second period, one of them over 26 seconds and another last 1:13.
New York, Nigel Dawes: Lifted the leg, Ovechkin-style, went five-hole, Thomas smothered. Puck trapped under the bulk of Tim Thomas's pads. After a two-minute review, no goal.
Boston, Blake Wheeler: Tried the same move as he did against Chicago's Nikolai Khabibulin, but puck rolls off his blade on the forehand. No goal.
New York, Nikolai Zherdev: Curled the puck backhand and pinged it off the post about 18 inches off the ice. No goal.
Boston, Phil Kessel: Wide approach, puck bounced on him, backhander turned aside by Lundqvist. No goal.
New York, Fredrik Sjostrom: Speedy approach, forehand stuff hits left post as Thomas lays the pad down. No goal.
Boston, P.J. Axelsson: Very wide approach, Lundqvist gets a blocker on it at left post. No goal.
New York, Chris Drury: Fires 10-foot wrister through five-hole. Goal.
Boston, Patrice Bergeron: Goes five-hole, Lundqvist kicks the puck to the post, but not over. The light goes on, but a quick review denies the B's the second point on the road. No goal, Rangers win.
As the Bruins sat back in the third, Nigel Dawes and Markus Naslund scored to tie the game. We'll have more from New York coming up . . .
The Hub club broke on the board first at 8:44 of the second, Zdeno Chara potting a rebound that squirted into the left circle after Lundqvist turned back Phil Kessel's mash attempt from the top of the crease. The second assist went to Marc Savard, whose cross-slot pass set up Kessel. But it was Milan Lucic who did all the work, forchecking in the right corner and forcing Michal Rozsival to cough up the puck. It was a Lucic feed to Savard that set up the goal.
The Bruins bumped it up to 2-0 with 12:25 gone on a Dennis Wideman shorthander. Boston's first shorty of the season.
Again, Rozsival was key, coughing the puck up in the Boston end, high slot, under pressure from Stephane Yelle. Yelle led the rush out, fed to Savard on left wing, and the Bruins clever pivot curled up once across the blue line and connected on a pretty backhand feed to the trailing Wideman. The former Blues backliner closed to within about 15 feet and ripped home a wrister for his fifth strike of the season. Tough night for Rozsival.
Before the period was out, the Bruins twice had to kill 5-on-3 Ranger advantages, the first for 26 seconds and the second for 1:13. The penalty killing was so good, the Rangers were challenged even to get a shot on Tim Thomas.
Play was delayed briefly at 5:55 of the second when veteran linesman Pierre Champoux, skating backwards prior to a faceoff, slipped and fell and banged the back of his head on the ice. Pressure on the back of his helmet forced his helmet to slide down his forehead and clip the bridge of his nose, opening up a small gash that required attention at the Boston bench. Lucky for Champoux that he was wearing a helmet. Otherwise he could have suffered a serious head injury.
A scoreless first 20 minutes at the ''World's Most Famous Arena.''
The Bruins needed eight minutes to land their first shot on Henrik Lundqvist, a long-range slapper by Chuck Kobasew. Later in the period, at 11:33, Kobasew and ex-Bruin Paul Mara engaged in a harmless tussle that led both to the penatly box for five minutes (fighting). Not much of a fight. The much shorter Kobasew immediately wrapped both arms tightly around Mara and held on until the linesmen--Steve Barton and Pierre Champoux--broke it up.
With 11:00 gone, rookie Matt Hunwick put a legit hit on Blueshirt pest Ryan Callaghan behind the Boston net.
Struggling financial institution AIG advertises along the MSG boards. No doubt the company's key operatives party every night up and down the Manhattan streets, all of them playing fiddles while Wall St. burns to the ground.