The New York Rangers discovered an easy answer to the question of how the noise from 1,800 fans may resemble the sound from the normal capacity of 18,006 -- score six goals in a decisive victory.
Coming off their biggest offensive showing of the season, the Rangers attempt to impress their fans again Sunday afternoon when they host the suddenly slumping Boston Bruins.
New York opened the two-game series with an impressive 6-2 victory on Friday, highlighted by three goals in the second period. Ryan Strome, Colin Blackwell and Chris Kreider scored in the period on a night when the Rangers welcomed fans to Madison Square Garden for the first time since a 6-4 loss to the New Jersey Devils on March 7.
Strome had a three-point night and has 12 points in his past 12 games while the Rangers got two assists apiece from defensemen Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren. Kreider followed up his hat trick on Wednesday with a goal and an assist. His nine goals lead the Rangers, who for now are playing home games at 10 percent capacity.
"I'm standing there during the national anthem, I had some goosebumps and some energy that (I) haven't had in a long time," Strome said. "It's been a sort of challenging time in the world for everybody, and I think for 2,000 people to have a night out and for us to put on a good performance was a good thing for New York."
The Rangers won a game by more than two goals for the third time this season and improved to 3-1 in their past four games since a four-game skid Feb. 8-16.
"You knew there were going to be fans in the building, but I don't think any of us expected the impact they would make," Rangers coach David Quinn said. "They were incredibly loud and passionate. You hear the number of people that might be in here, think 'That'll be nice but won't have that much of an impact.' They had an impact tonight."
New York also posted one of its most decisive victories without Artemi Panarin, who missed his second game due to personal reasons.
The Bruins posted two one-goal victories in their first two visits to the Rangers two weeks ago and those games were part of a five-game winning streak and a 9-0-1 run that saw Boston win six one-goal games.
Since their 1-0 win on Feb. 12, the Bruins have lost four of five (1-4-0) and were outscored 23-15. After allowing five goals in the third period Thursday in a 7-2 road loss to the New York Islanders, the Bruins were outplayed Friday, creating another distressing performance for coach Bruce Cassidy and his players.
"This doesn't happen here and it can't go on any further than this," Boston defenseman Brandon Carlo said after the Bruins allowed their fourth-highest shot total of the season. "There's been times in my first couple years where we've had games like that but we've always bounced back. This is definitely unacceptable and we've got to look in the mirror and move forward."
Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand scored Boston's goals Friday while David Pastrnak set up both, but the Bruins did little to support goaltender Tuukka Rask, who allowed the second-most goals of his career.
"Hockey is about making sure we stay together as a team when things are up or when things are down," Bergeron said. "It's about figuring out as fast as you can things you can get better at and right now it's obviously our 5-on-5 play defensively and giving up easy plays."
--Field Level Media