Blueshirts roll over Boston and into sixth place
|Boston's Tim Thomas was under siege from Artem Anisimov and the Blueshirts all day, particularly in the middle period, when he faced 21 Rangers shots.
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Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist
is famous for playing well at Madison Square Garden, but the Garden that brings out the best in him every single time is the one up in Boston.
Lundqvist stopped 29 shots on Saturday afternoon as the Blueshirts dominated the Bruins in a 3-1 win that included goals by Michael Del Zotto
in the first, Brandon Dubinsky
in the second, and Erik Christensen
just 37 seconds into the third.
Over his last seven starts at Boston, dating back to the 2006-07 season, Lundqvist has allowed a total of just eight goals.Since Lundqvist entered the NHL in 2005, four of his 21 career shutouts have come at the Bruins' expense, and he came within minutes of a fifth on Saturday, when Dennis Wideman broke through for the Bruins with only 3:44 left to play.
It was also a big day for Dubinsky, who had a hand in all three goals to earn No. 1 star honors. He also tied his career high with three points and now has 12 points over his last 10 games.
The Blueshirts outshot Boston 34-30 for the game, registering a season-high 21 shots in the second period alone.
The Rangers have now picked up at least a point in 11 of their last 12 games and are 8-1-3 over that span. By winning in Boston, they grabbed sole possession of sixth place in the NHL's Eastern Conference and are now just one point behind the struggling Bruins for fifth. With a 22-17-6 record and 50 points on the season, they also well ahead of their 45-game pace from both the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons, which both saw the team win first-round playoff series.
Lundqvist was particularly sharp in the opening period, stopping 11 Boston shots to knock the wind out of a scoring-challenged Bruins team already missing injured stars Patrice Bergeron and Marc Savard. His biggest save of the period -- and the game -- came on a penalty shot by Marco Sturm, who had been taken down on a shorthanded breakaway at 14:50 of the opening period.
Del Zotto's goal, which made it 1-0, came at 7:56 of the first period. Taking a drop pass from Brandon Dubinsky
just inside the blue line, Del Zotto stormed down the left boards, cut around the left faceoff circle and into the slot in front of Boston goalie Tim Thomas. The 19-year-old rookie then calmly slid a backhand under Thomas' pads for the 1-0 Rangers lead, snapping a 144:48 span in which the Rangers had not scored a goal at Boston.
The goal also broke a 21-game goal-scoring drought for Del Zotto, whose game has seen a definite resurgence over the past few weeks.
Dubinsky made it 2-0 with the eventual game-winner in the second period, scoring from the same spot on the ice after a scramble involving several players in front of Thomas. This time, Dubinsky took a pass down low from Erik Christensen
and waited out the chaos before pounding his shot into the net -- again right under Thomas. The goal was Dubinsky's second point of the night, following his primary assist on the Del Zotto score.
The big story of the second period was not Dubinsky's goal, but the Rangers' complete domination of the Bruins. The Blueshirts outshot Boston 21-3 in the middle period -- their highest number of shots on goal in any period this season.
Christensen drained any doubt out of the game just 37 seconds into the third period, as he scored off assists from Dubinsky and Marian Gaborik
. Dubinsky started the play, working the puck down to the boards behind the goal line and throwing a centering pass out to Gaborik.
With a defender right on him, Gaborik batted the puck back to Christensen, stationed at the base of the right circle. Christensen skied a wrist shot up over the outstreched Thomas and into the net for his third goal and seventh point in the past six games.
Boston's Wideman ended Lundqvist's shutout bid on a long blast from just inside the blue line with 3:44 left to play, but it was too little, too late for the Bruins, whose season-long scoring woes continued.
|Three star selections