By Jim Cerny, BlueshirtsUnited.com
After a longer-than-hoped-for off-season, the Rangers finally were able to play their first game of a truncated 2013 season schedule Saturday night. However their excitement to be playing a game was trumped by the disappointing 3-1 loss the Rangers suffered at the hands of the Boston Bruins at TD Garden.
Boston scored one goal in each of the three periods and never trailed in handing the visitors the season-opening loss. The Bruins outshot the Rangers 34-21, with Tuukka Rask looking quite poised with a 20-save effort in goal for Boston.
The game's momentum swung decidedly in favor of the home team in the third period when the Bruins denied the Rangers during a 5-on-3 New York power play---one set up when Rick Nash, in his Rangers debut, drew a hooking call on Zdeno Chara after powering through two defenseman on his way to the net during a Rangers man advantage at 4:23 and Boston holding a 2-1 lead. Brad Richards and Ryan Callahan had good scoring chances during the 5-on-3, but Rask was up to the challenge.
Under four minutes later Boston's Johnny Boychuk slapped a shot from the right point which deflected off Richards and past Henrik Lundqvist at 8:13 to provide the Bruins a two-goal cushion. Seconds earlier Lundqvist had made a simply sensational diving glove save along the goal line to deny David Krejci.
After spotting the Bruins a two-goal lead midway through the second period, the Rangers received a much-needed jolt of energy when Richards scored the club's first goal of the season, halving the home team's lead in the process.
On a broken play---after his pass for Nash caromed back to him at the top of the right circle---Richards unleashed a quick shot that beat Rask under the crossbar at 12:50 of the middle period to make the score 2-1. Nash earned the primary assist on the goal, his first point as a Ranger, and Dan Girardi was credited with the secondary assist.
Less than a minute after Richards' score, more energy seared through TD Garden as first Mike Rupp and Shawn Thornton dropped the gloves at 13:35, and three seconds later Stu Bickel fought Gregory Campbell. Neither team took advantage on the scoreboard from the extra energy provided by the fisticuffs, and the Rangers headed into the dressing room after 40 minutes trailing 2-1 while being outshot 25-15.
Boston's Milan Lucic opened the scoring at the 14:14 mark of the first period, potting a rebound kicked right on to his stick by Lundqvist after a right wing shot by Krejci. Later Daniel Paille deflected a Campbell shot off of Lundqvist and just over the goal line at 8:20 of the second period to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead.