I consider this game baby steps for the Rangers. They weren’t outplayed for a full 60 minutes therefore are taking a step in the right direction. They did, however, disappear for extended periods of time which this fan didn’t exactly appreciate. In the end, the Rangers Slovak outplayed the Bruins Slovak and that was all that mattered.
The Rangers started the game with some line changes as Bickel replaced Asham up front (Eminger went in on D) and the big three were put together. (Side note: Can I say how awesome it is to say the Rangers have a “big three”?)
When I heard the Rangers intended to put Nash, Richards and Gaborik on the same line, I was against it. Look I love Callahan and Stepan but let’s be honest…they aren’t in the same league and I didn’t want the Rangers to put all their eggs in one basket. And that is why I’m not the coach.
It took three shifts and less than five minutes of actual game time for the three of them to get together on what will probably be one of the goals of the week. But that wasn’t enough as two minutes later, they did it again…although this time only Gaborik got a point as Del Zotto and Staal wanted in on this one.
Seven minutes in, 2-0 Rangers. The best part? They also looked like the Rangers team we all know and love. I told everyone not to worry.
Even better part? The Rangers got out of the first minute of the game without taking a penalty. Of course they still took the first penalty of the game just before the halfway mark as Boyle went off for tripping. He would also get a fighting major seven and a half minutes later when he decided to still shoot the puck after the whistle had blown for an offsides. Normally I would say maybe he didn’t hear it or was already shooting but I really didn’t see any reason for him to shoot that puck. (Guess someone had to take over for Dubinsky’s stupid penalties.)
Otherwise the Rangers dominated seventeen and a half minutes of that period. (Well other than face-offs which they won a lousy 4 out of 18.) But the period is twenty minutes, right? Yes it is. The last two and a half minutes weren’t pretty.
Unfortunately that is what carried over into the second as 18 seconds in, Staal was forced to take a slashing penalty and it took the Bruins only 47 seconds to put it behind Lundqvist. Four minutes later, it was Pyatt’s turn to head to the box as the crappy play continued. Fortunately they were able to kill that one off.
It took eleven minutes for the Bruins to capitalize again as the Rangers got caught in the Bruins zone while Boston went in on Lundqvist 4-on-2. Watching the game, you could feel it coming. What I didn’t feel coming was that tying goal waking the boys up as 46 seconds later, Pyatt got the lead back for the Rangers.
Three minutes later, the Rangers thought they had doubled their lead but Hagelin’s shot took place after the whistle had blown for a roughing call in Rupp. The call itself was questionable. The fact that the shot was taken after the whistle, once again, was not. I’m not sure what is going on with the boys as the Garden didn’t seem to be that loud but this needs to stop as teams aren’t going to stand for that each night.
The last minute of the period was a carbon copy of the end of the first but once again the Rangers were able to get out unscathed. I’m honestly not sure how but I think everyone, myself included, breathed a sigh of relief when that horn sounded.
Fortunately the third period started better than the second as the Rangers were able to at least keep the play even. Then at the 4:30 mark, Boston took a penalty. Forty-seven seconds later, they took a second one and the Rangers got their third 5-on-3 in three games. They put out the same five forwards they had in the previous two tries so the question would be which one would show up – the one that showed talent or the one that couldn’t manage a shot on net?
As you probably assumed, it was the second one. I get that occasionally that unit will score. I still don’t like five forwards because more times than not the puck will trickle towards the line and those forwards can’t keep it in nor skate with the opposing player to get it back. This one was so bad that not only did they not get a chance on any part of the remaining power play but the Bruins tried to break in and Richards had nothing left to even attempt to catch them. Fortunately, they lost the puck and crisis was averted.
It wasn’t averted eight minutes later as the Bruins tied the game after a really sloppy play in the defensive zone by the Rangers while the teams played four aside. The Rangers would be given a chance to take the lead back with less than four minutes remaining as the Bruins went back to the box. Unfortunately the power kill showed up and to overtime we went.
Watching Rask in the last minute of regulation, I stated that I didn’t think the Rangers were getting another puck behind him. Fortunately, I was wrong as 27 seconds into overtime, the Bruins tried to pass the puck back to the point and it went between their point men where Gaborik split the D and completed the hat trick.
The good news is the Rangers got points and didn’t have to play an extended overtime with the back-to-back tomorrow. The bad news is the ice times weren’t exactly divided evenly as six guys didn’t manage 10 minutes (some not even close) while others played closed to 25 or more. (One of those guys who played less than ten minutes was Chris Kreider who from the sounds of it, doesn’t look like Tortorella has been impressed with. Would not be surprised to see him back in the AHL in the near future.) We’ll see how that works against a Flyers team that, while severely hurting, was sitting and waiting for the boys tonight.