Saturday, October 23, 2010

New York Rangers @ Boston Bruins Recap: Everyone Plays Their Role In 3-2 Win

BOSTON - OCTOBER 23: Marc Staal #18 of the New York Rangers scores a breakaway goal at 48 seconds of the second period against Tuukka Rask #40 of the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden on October 23, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
I asked before the game if the Rangers were ever going to find the consistency they keep talking about and while there were more breakdowns tonight than on Thursday in Toronto this was another step in the right direction as the effort was still there.  The Rangers took advantage of some luck/chances early in the game and it would eventually be enough to get the W, bringing them to 3-2-1 on the year.  This was a big win because the Bruins came in hot, having won four straight as well.
The real moment that showed the way this game would go was a huge, clean open ice hit on Ruslan Fedetenko that Sean Avery took exception to and went over to let Mark Stuart know about it leading to a fight and 17 minutes of penalties for Avery.  It set the tone for the game that would have 2 more fights during the period.  This was one of those moments where you could take the stance that all the penalty minutes could have hurt the Rangers or that he could just get him back with a hit later, but in this case I am not buying that.  What Avery did was exactly the right move in showing to the Bruins, the league and more importantly his own locker room that this team has to stand up for one another.

During the power play that ensued from the Avery instigator penalty, Brandon Dubinsky took a slashing call and the Rangers would go on to kill 44 seconds of a 5 on 3 and it was a huge play for the Rangers early in the game.  The Rangers would get the offensive game going when Derek Stepan streaked down the outside and was taken down with 8:40 to go in the 1st.  On the ensuing powerplay Brandon Dubinksy took a shot from the left side boards which had the rebound bounce in the air only to be taken out of mid-air by Artem Anisimov on the backhand.  Twenty-seven seconds later Alexander Frolov would get his second of the year on a fluke goal, but they all count.  The play was made possible by an excellent pinch by Michael Sauer who fed Eric Christensen who found Frolov and the circus took over from there.

In reality the Rangers dominated the first period in terms of possession and on the scoreboard, but they killed themselves late in the period by taking two lazy penalties in the defensive zone.  First was Michal Rozsival with a hold and then 5 seconds later Marc Staal took a lazy slash to give the Bruins their second 5 on 3 of the night.  The Rangers looked like they were going to be saved by the end of the period but finally Zedeno Chara would score with 4 seconds remaining to make 2-1 at the end of 1.

The Rangers could have let that late goal in the first crush the way they played the rest of the period, but they came out killed off the 5 on 4 and Brandon Dubinsky’s defensive play was able to spring Marc Staal on a breakaway as he came out of the penalty box.  Staal streaked down the ice, and beat Rask on the backhand to make it 3-1.  Later in the second Nathan Horton was left wide open in the slot and off the feed from Krejci scored to make it 3-2.  The period would end after Brandon Prust was hit with a high stick by Gregory Campbell, who was assessed a four minute double minor.  Brandon Prust would not return to the game after being cut on the play.

The Rangers were not able to convert on the power play that resulted as the 3rd period began.  Right now the only line that is able to generate anything on the power play is Dubinsky-Anisimov-Callahan and Cally cannot finish for his life right now.  The biggest moment for the Rangers on the other end of the ice during the 3rd would be after Blake Wheeler beat Michael Del Zotto as if he was standing still and then threw the puck in front for Jordan Caron who somehow Lundqvist stoned at the far post.  They would have more chances at the end, but Lundqvist got sharper as the game went and would not give up this one in regulation. Rangers win 3-2.
  •  Artem Anisimov is playing at not only a different level than last year, but a different level than any center we have seen here in a while.
  • Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan continue to do all the dirty work and were amazing on the penalty kill tonight.
  • Derek Stepan had another very solid game
  •  Alex Frolov probably played his best all-around game as far as being a consistent factor tonight.
  • Dan Girardi is playing his best hockey in a long time right now
  • Rozi, Sauer and Staal all had very good games other than the bad penalties for Rozi and Staal
  • MDZ seems very hesitant on the PP right now and had a few instances in his own zone of trying to do too much with the puck
  • Easily Henrik's best game not just for the 34 saves, but that he seemed more comfortable and moved better as the game progressed

Back at it tomorrow vs NJ who got drubbed tonight 6-1 and Kovalchuk was a healthy scratch.  Should make for a lot of fireworks.

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