This evening, the big and bad Boston Bruins visited Madison Square Garden and the New York Rangers to play in a classic Original Six showdown which definitely was a great game to watch if you are a Rangers or Bruins fan, or even a hockey fan in general.
Exactly what many people expected; two solid teams battling it out on a sheet of ice. We saw everything in this opening stanza. Physical play, offensive chances and great goaltending. Henrik Lundqvist didn’t have to do much work in the period but as we all know when he is called upon he is usually ready and up to the task. Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask made some brilliant saves that kept the B’s alive and kicking. Rick Nash had a solid period in his first game since October 8th, he had a partial breakaway which was stopped by Rask.
On the only powerplay of the period, Chris Kreider was pulled down while on a clean break toward the Bruins’ net, he was awarded a penalty shot but his shot was partially stopped by Rask and just went wide of the post.
Not to mention a great defensive play was made by Anton Stralman early in the period which broke up a three-on-one for the Bruins. The Rangers defense as a whole played well in front of Lundqvist and did not give up too many quality chances.
All in all, the Blueshirts played a solid period and kept a tough Bruins team at bay.
Shots in the period: Rangers: 16, Bruins: 6
It looked like we were going to see the same things we saw in the first. Well, all looked ordinary until the Bruins tallied two goals in less than 10 minutes. Shawn Thornton opened the scoring with a great shot past Lundqvist and let’s be honest, no goaltender was stopping that shot. Then a little bit later, the Rangers’ sloppy puck handling led to a shorthanded goal for Daniel Paille who managed to slip the puck under Lundqvist. Then a minute later, Derick Brassard answered with a wicked shot of his own, blowing the puck by Rask which cut the B’s lead in half with about eight minutes left in the period.
Nearing the end of the middle stanza, Derek Dorsett got called for tripping, the Rangers managed to kill it off but then immediately following, 19 seconds later to be precise, he was sent to the box yet again this time for goaltender interference. New York bailed him out big time as they killed off the second Bruins’ powerplay as well, keeping the score locked at 2-1 in favor of Boston.
Right before the buzzer sounded to end the second, the Rangers had a flurry of scoring chances in front of the Bruins crease, however they could not cash in and the period ended with Boston leading by one.
Shots in the period: Rangers: 17, Bruins: 7
The third and final period featured no scoring, but plenty of push from the Rangers as they tried everything in their power to tie the game. Rask once again stood tall, stopping every shot that was thrown at him. He stole the game tonight and got his team two points. We have seen Lundqvist do the same for the Blueshirts in the past, but it is even more frustrating when the opposition does it to you.
The Bruins won the game by a score of 2-1.
Shots in the period: Rangers: 11, Bruins: 9
Total shots: Rangers: 44, Bruins: 22
Overall, this was possibly the best game the Rangers have played all season. But, once again, they got zero “puck luck.” Stralman rang one off the post in the third and there was also a deflection that was just put wide of the gaping net.
One huge positive is that Nash looked really good coming back from his injury. He hasn’t missed a beat, he was flying down the ice and he had some prime scoring chances which were stopped by Rask.
One huge negative is that the Rangers now have only scored two goals in their past three games. Explanation: hot goaltending. They ran into Ben Scirvens on Sunday night, who was named the NHL’s first star of the week, and they ran into Rask tonight who made 43 saves and as I said before stole this game for the B’s.
I wouldn’t worry too much if I were a Ranger fan. Alain Vigneault will figure things out and having Nash back is huge for this offense.
New York will now travel on the road for five games and their road trip begins with the Dallas Stars on Thursday night.
Rangers-Bruins Scoring Summary (Courtesy of NHL.com)
|04:58||BOS||Shawn Thornton (3) Wrist shot – ASST: Brad Marchand (5), Chris Kelly (3)||1 – 0 BOS|
|11:30||BOS||SHG - Daniel Paille (3) Backhand shot – ASST: Gregory Campbell (3)||2 – 0 BOS|
|12:31||NYR||PPG - Derick Brassard (4) Wrist shot – ASST: John Moore (2), Chris Kreider (9)||2 – 1 BOS|