The Boston Bruins needed a game like this.
They snapped out of a mini-slump on Sunday afternoon with a convincing 4-1 win against the New York Rangers to bounce back from back-to-back blowout losses.
Charlie Coyle (two goals), Trent Frederic, and Charlie McAvoy all scored goals in the win, while starting goalie Tuukka Rask made 20 saves to help shut down a rather punchless Rangers lineup that is still without a couple of key players.
It was a complete 180 turnaround from what we saw from these same two teams on Friday, and a complete 180 from what we have seen from the Bruins lately overall. Entering play on Sunday the Bruins had lost four out of five games, including the previous two by a combined 13-4 margin, with their only win during that stretch coming against a depleted Philadelphia Flyers lineup at Lake Tahoe.
Sunday’s win saw a lot of Boston’s usual suspects make big contributions.
McAvoy was his usual rock-solid self on defense while adding a goal and an assist. David Pastrnak had two more assists to give himself 18 total points (nine goals, nine assists) in just 12 games since returning to the lineup this season. And Rask made the saves he needed to make while the defense in front of him was sensational in limiting the number of chances against. Boston ended up finishing the game with a commanding 36-21 shots edge.
But the most encouraging development on Sunday was that they received offense from their complementary players.
Charlie Coyle opened the scoring early in the first period when he blew by the Rangers defense with a power move to beat a banged up Alexander Georgiev.
Coyle had just three goals on the season entering play on Sunday as secondary scoring has once again become a problem for the Bruins this season. Their top line of Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron, and Brad Marchand has been great all season, but the rest of the lineup has struggled to consistently produce offense.
Just 12 minutes later Trent Frederic scored his second goal of the season to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead when he beat Igor Shesterkin. Shesterkin briefly replaced Georgiev in the first period after Georgiev was injured in a collision with Boston’s Nick Ritchie.
It was only a matter of time until the Bruins had a game like this. They are too good, too deep, and too talented to let a slump like the one they were in linger on for too long. On Sunday, everything clicked to help them snap out of it.