Bruins face Rangers, aim to regain focus


Their spot in the playoffs clinched, the Boston Bruins took their foot off the gas in a 4-3 overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday.

The Bruins have a short window to get back on track, beginning Thursday night when the Rangers visit. Boston will host New York for two games in three days before concluding the season with a back-to-back against the New York Islanders on Monday and Washington Capitals on Tuesday.

The Bruins (31-14-7, 69 points) are riding a five-game points streak (4-0-1), but a sluggish third period in Tuesday’s setback against the Devils was enough to leave a sour taste in their mouths.

“If you look at the chances we gave up, I don’t think it was our best night from our back end in terms of defending in the middle of the ice, being good 1-on-1,” said coach Bruce Cassidy. “… We need to close out better. Playing it simple, stuff we typically do better, we didn’t tonight.”

The Rangers (26-22-6, 58 points) enter on a losing streak that was extended to four games Wednesday with a 4-2 loss to the Capitals. New York, which has been eliminated from postseason contention, finished its home schedule 14-11-3.

The Rangers’ season will conclude Saturday in Boston.

The past 24 hours have been trying for New York. Off the ice, the club parted ways with president John Davidson and general manager Jeff Gorton on Wednesday. Associate general manager Chris Drury was promoted to fill both roles.

Then, once the game against the Capitals started, the Rangers sought to exact a measure of revenge after Washington forward Tom Wilson injured star player Artemi Panarin on a controversial dustup two nights earlier.

The contest featured six fights in the first five minutes, and though the Rangers lost in the end, they took solace in sticking up for their teammate.

“When you play for each other and do things for other people, there’s no better feeling about creating unity and feeling like a team,” coach David Quinn said. “I think we took a step forward as a team.”

Panarin is out for the season with a lower-body injury, and New York also played without defensemen Jacob Trouba and Ryan Lindgren and forwards Chris Kreider and Brett Howden. Forward Julien Gauthier played just one shift against Washington before departing with a lower-body injury.

The Bruins lost Charlie Coyle to an undisclosed injury Tuesday in the loss to New Jersey. Cassidy didn’t have an update on the forward postgame. Coyle has 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in 51 games this season.

“Just hoping Charlie’s all right,” said teammate Sean Kuraly. “I think he’ll be fine. But it’s kind of a bummer to lose a guy like that who’s playing really well.”

Boston defenseman Brandon Carlo returned against New Jersey from 18 games missed because of an oblique injury, finishing with nearly 21 minutes played in the contest.

The Bruins are 4-2-0 against the Rangers this season.

–Field Level Media

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