BOSTON - All of a sudden, the pucks aren't going in for the Rangers.
Blanked by the Islanders on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, the Blueshirts were shut out by the Bruins Thursday night at TD Garden by the same 3-0 score.
Missed opportunities -- and Tuukka Rask, who made 30 saves in the Bruins' fifth straight victory -- doomed the Rangers, who flew to Columbus for the second of a back-to-back Friday night against the Blue Jackets.
"We had chances, we just didn't capitalize on them," said Martin St. Louis, who whiffed in the crease on a second-period power play that might have changed the tenor of the game. "Disappointing result. A couple missed assignments and they get a scoring chance. We hit the post in the first period, and they're tough to play when they have the lead."
Leading 1-0 at the start of the second, the Bruins went up by two on a beautiful play and a gaffe by the Rangers' defense.
Dan Boyle carried the puck into the Bruins' zone but gave it away on a poor pass, and the Bruins came back. Defenseman Torey Krug, at the top of the left circle, faked and fired a slap pass to an untouched David Krejci at the right post for a gimme against a helpless Cam Talbot (29 saves) at 2:49.
At 6:38 of the second, Rick Nash missed the net on a breakaway down the left side. In the first period, Rask stopped Chris Kreider with his left skate and slid to the left to deny Lee Stempniak's backhand. Earlier, Carl Hagelin hit the post on an odd-man rush.
"It's what happens over the course of the year," Dan Girardi said. "We've just got to find a way to put the puck in the net. The effort might not have been perfect, but one goes in and it's a different game."
The Rangers haven't scored for 121 minutes since Nash's empty-netter in Saturday night's 3-1 win in San Jose.
"We need better puck movement from our defense," coach Alain Vigneault said. "The initial breakout pass was lacking. Yes, they did force us, pressured hard, created a couple turnovers, and we had a couple looks. Their goaltender made some saves. But at the end of the day, you can't win without scoring."
For the second straight game, the Rangers' opponent scored first. Patrice Bergeron won a faceoff against Derick Brassard back to defenseman Dougie Hamilton and Bergeron went to the net. Brassard didn't track him, and he put in a rebound at the four-minute mark on a goal that Talbot blamed himself for allowing.
The Bruins salted it away at 9:49 when Loui Eriksson had time in front with a rebound, backed up and lifted the puck over Talbot.
The Bruins (24-15-6) have 54 points, two more than the Rangers (24-13-4). The Rangers, who have four games in hand, and the Bruins sit in the two wild-card playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. The Rangers are three points clear of the Florida Panthers.
"We need to find a way to play with confidence and take over a game, make that one play to get the momentum back, and kind of turn it around," Girardi said. "We've definitely got to stop the bleeding at two. It gets no easier tomorrow."