It’s a tradition as old as time. Well at least since 1990. The Thanksgiving Showdown on the afternoon after Thanksgiving has been a staple at the the Garden (whether it be of the Boston, TD Banknorth, or TD variety) since Cam Neely was still lacing up his skates.
In the 2015 edition of the annual game, the Boston Bruins defeated the New York Rangers 4-3 in one of the most exciting games of the young season.
In the game the Rangers also lost center Derek Stepan to numerous broken ribs after a second period hit from the Bruins’ Matt Belesky sent Stepan flying into the boards. Dylan McIlrath immediately responded to the Beleskey hit and instigated a fight in which McIlrath manhandled the Bruins right winger to the ice. McIlrath received an instigator penalty for the fight and it resulted in a Brett Connolly power play goal for the Bruins to tie the game at two.
With their four-game win streak on the line the Bruins found themselves down 3-2 with five minutes remaining in the third period. After the Rangers’ Jesper Fast was sent to the penalty box for a holding penalty on Colin Miller, the Bruins and Bruins fans knew this was a supreme opportunity to tie this game.
Somebody must’ve flipped on the playoff hockey switch at the Garden as the fans were electric and the Bruins players fed off that energy. Ryan Spooner netted the game tying power play goal and then a minute later David Krecji tallied an unassisted goal to give the Bruins the lead. The crowd went absolutely nuts.
The Bruins were able to hold that lead and defeat the Rangers. Brad Marchand had some words about Henrik Lundqvist after the game regarding a third period goaltender interference penalty.
“I mean, he must’ve got hit with a cement block the way he went down,” said Marchand after the game. “I didn’t know I was that strong.”
Rangers coach Align Vigneault’s response: “Who would you rather have as a son, Henrik Lundqvist or Brad Marchand? For him to say things like that about Hank, totally wrong, and probably Claude is getting a little older and needs to check his eyesight.”
Seems like Vigneault might still have some bitter feelings after the 2011 Stanley Cup series with his Vancouver Canucks? Nonetheless I love the way this hockey season is starting to shape up.