The last time the Boston Bruins took the ice, they pulled out a thrilling victory inside baseball’s oldest stadium. They won’t have the same excitement surrounding their remaining regular-season games, but that doesn’t make those games any less important.
Following an electrifying win in the Winter Classic, the Bruins try to avoid a letdown Monday night against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
In a stadium that has enjoyed a multitude of memorable moments since its opening in 1912, Boston (21-17-7) treated the Fenway Park fans to their first hockey classic with a 2-1 overtime victory over Philadelphia on New Year’s Day.
The Bruins were on the verge of being shutout before Mark Recchi(notes) tied the score on the power play with 2:18 left in regulation. Marco Sturm(notes) then gave Boston its fifth win in six games when his shot 1:57 into the extra session beat Flyers goaltender Michael Leighton(notes).
“It’s probably going to be my most memorable goal ever and I’m going to enjoy it,” said Sturm, who has scored in each of his last four games and leads the team with 14 goals.
Although Friday’s game at Fenway was a regular-season game, there was nothing regular about it. The event featured a pre-game rock show, a flyover and kids playing hockey on a smaller rink in the outfield - all in front of a sellout crowd of 38,112.
The Bruins now need to refocus as they return to normalcy, starting with a matchup against an Original Six rival.
The Rangers defeated Boston 1-0 on Nov. 1 at Madison Square Garden in the only previous meeting of the season between these clubs. They’ll also face off in Boston on Saturday, and again March 21.
The November loss was the fourth straight at MSG for the Bruins, who are 1-6-2 there since the start of 2005-06. However, New York hasn’t been enjoying much success there lately, either.
The Rangers (19-17-5) are 1-5-3 at home since Nov. 30, scoring two goals or fewer in each defeat. They’re coming off a 2-1 overtime loss to Carolina at MSG on Saturday to split a home-and-home series.
Gaborik, the NHL leader with 27 goals, has accounted for exactly 25 percent of New York’s total of 108. He has six goals and seven assists in his last 11 games, and also tallied the lone score against Boston in the Nov. 1 matchup.
“We have to get someone to step up and score a goal other than Gabby,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said.
The Bruins have their own scoring issues, but tried to take a step toward fixing them over the weekend.
Boston, which has the third-fewest goals in the league with 105, signed unrestricted free-agent Miroslav Satan(notes) to a one-year deal Saturday. The 35-year-old Satan, who is still more than a week away from making his Bruins debut, had 17 goals in 65 games last season for Pittsburgh.
Boston’s sluggish offense will likely have to face Henrik Lundqvist(notes), who is 11-3-2 with a 1.34 goals-against average and four shutouts lifetime against the Bruins, including a 29-save effort in November. Lundqvist has yielded two goals or fewer 11 times in his last 14 games overall.
Tim Thomas(notes) will probably be in net for Boston after turning aside 24 shots in the Winter Classic. Thomas, named to the U.S. Olympic team after that game, is 3-1-1 with a 1.36 GAA and one shutout against the Rangers since the start of 2007-08.