|BOS||0||0||0||0||0 (0 - 4)||2|
|NYR||0||0||0||0||1 (1 - 4)||3|
• PHOTO GALLERY
By Jim Cerny, newyorkrangers.com
In a much-anticipated matchup pitting the top two teams in the Eastern Conference, the first-place Rangers rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the third period to defeat the second-seeded Boston Bruins 3-2 in a thrilling shootout on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.
Nigel Dawes and Markus Naslund scored late in the third period to tie the game, and Chris Drury scored the only goal in four rounds of the shootout to win it. Drury skated in on Boston goalie Tim Thomas and, without making a single fake, snapped the puck between his pads for the decisive goal in the shootout.
“(Thomas) had gone side to side and made some pretty good saves, so I was thinking shoot first all the way,” explained Drury. “You know shootouts can go either way, so I am just glad we won this one tonight.”
Henrik Lundqvist made 23 saves during the contest, and another four in the shootout, to earn his 11th victory of the season. He had Patrice Bergeron’s shot in the last round of the shootout hit his skate, then the outside of right post, before skittering away. After a video review, the referee declared that there was not a score, and Lundqvist punched the air with his stick hand, and The Garden exploded in a deafening roar.
“This was a big win, especially for me as the goalie after losing that one last week,” said Lundqvist, referring to Monday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Edmonton Oilers at MSG.
That the game was decided in a shootout should not come as a surprise as not only are these two teams very evenly matched, but last year three of the four games played between the Rangers and the Bruins were decided in the shootout.
The Rangers have now won two straight, and they are 3-1-1 in their last five matches. They handed Boston its first defeat in six games, and increased their lead over the Bruins to four points in the Eastern Conference.
“Boston came in as the hottest team in the league,” said Rangers head coach Tom Renney. “But I think we also showed why we have the record we have, and why we deserve the respect we are getting from around the league.”
Thomas came within 6:05 of his third shutout of the season, but Dawes scored to cut the Bruins lead to 2-1 late in the third period. Dan Fritsche and Lauri Korpikoski did the grunt work behind the net to control the puck for the Rangers on the scoring play, with Korpikoski making the pass out in front to Dawes, who was skating into the slot. While falling to his knees, Dawes ripped his second goal of the season past Thomas at 13:55, and the Rangers were within a goal of Boston.
“It felt like when we scored that one that we had to tie this because we have been there before and we find a way,” said Lundqvist.
With 52.9 seconds remaining in regulation, and Lundqvist skating to the bench for a sixth attacker, Naslund accepted a feed from Brandon Dubinsky and snapped a left wing shot past Thomas to tie the game 2-2, sending The Garden crowd into a frenzy.
‘That’s the second time already this year that I am on my way to the bench and we score,” said Lundqvist. “I don’t think we did that at all my first three years! It’s just a great feeling to come back like that.”
The revived Rangers dominated most of the five-minute overtime period, with Ryan Callahan and Drury teaming up to nearly win the game less than 30 seconds into the extra session, and Blair Betts coming close to finishing it off on a wraparound after a powerful move around the Boston net with three minutes left.
However, Boston’s Marc Savard rang a shot off the post with 47 seconds remaining in overtime, and Lundqvist made a string of big saves over the final couple minutes of the extra session to get the game to the shootout.
The Bruins had broken through and scored twice in the second period against Lundqvist to grab a 2-0 lead. Bruins captain Zdeno Chara opened the scoring by slapping a rebound past Lundqvist to the stick side for his second goal of the season at 8:44. Seconds before Chara’s goal, Lundqvist had robbed Phil Kessel with a lightning-quick right pad save on a slam dunk attempt in front. However, the rebound came back out to Chara, and the 6-foot-9 defenseman powered it through a screen and into the back of the net.
Three minutes later Chara was penalized for hooking Aaron Voros as the rugged Rangers winger drove to the net, giving the Blueshirts an opportunity to tie the game on the power play. However, the Bruins struck for a shorthanded score instead, and upped their lead to 2-0 at the 12:25 mark of the second.
Savard, a former Ranger, stripped a bouncing puck from Michal Rozsival at the Bruins blueline and took off on a shorthanded rush up ice. Savard circled in the Rangers zone waiting for some help, and then sent a pass to the trailer on the play, defenseman Dennis Wideman. With some room, Wideman skated in a few strides before ripping a shot over the right shoulder of Lundqvist for his fifth goal of the season.
Wideman’s goal was the sixth shorthanded tally allowed by the Rangers this season, and the first such score for the Bruins.
“We talked about it after the second period, that one goal cuts it in half,” said Drury. “A two-goal lead is a very difficult lead because you get one back and then you are one shot away from tying it.”
The Rangers continued to receive chances to get back in the game as Boston took two more penalties in succession, twice handing the Blueshirts 5-on-3 power plays. But the Rangers were frustrated by a strong Bruins penalty kill, and failed to score on the man-advantages.
The one play that truly epitomized how things were going for each team came during the Rangers second two-man advantage in the middle stanza. Bergeron lost his stick earlier on the kill, meaning that only two Boston players had sticks, seemingly a big break for the Rangers. But Bergeron blocked Dan Girardi’s point shot with his skates, and proceeded to reach down and swat the puck down the ice with his gloved hand, and the Bruins were able to regroup.
In fact, the story of the first two periods was that of missed scoring opportunities for the Rangers and the sensational play of Lundqvist, which kept them in the game.
After recording the first five shots of the contest, the Rangers were outshot 11-1 the remainder of the first period, often turning the puck over at the blueline or in the neutral zone to the tight-checking Bruins. When the Rangers did gain the offensive zone, they often failed to put the puck on net with their shots, and problem that plagued them in the second period, as well.
Despite these issues, the Rangers remained close because of Lundqvist, who made at least a half-dozen sensational saves over the first 40 minutes of play. In the scoreless first period, Lundqvist made quality stops on Bergeron’s snap shot from the slot at 14:42, Kessel’s in-tight shot near the post at 15:40, and Chara’s screened power-play slapper that hit him in the mask in the final minute.
Lundqvist also charged out of his net to beat a streaking Kessel to a loose puck in the right-wing circle, stopping a breakaway, at 18:25 of the first.
Back in his more customary spot in the blue paint, Lundqvist made his best save of the night at 5:55 of the second when he made an incredible arm save on Savard’s hot from the slot that was ticketed for the upper corner of the net.
While Lundqvist was forced into making more difficult saves, Thomas did come through with a big stick stop on Callahan’s snap shot at 17:11 of the first, as well as an excellent arm save on Dubinsky’s redirection early in the third period.
As the game marched deep into the third period, it seemed as though Thomas was on his way not only to a victory, but to another shutout. Dawes’ goal changed that, however.
“It was really nice to get that one,” explained Dawes, who has three points in his last two games (1-2-3). “You could just the see jump in the level of our play after we got that first one, and the fans really got into it then. It’s not the first time we’ve come from behind so I don’t think (the fans) ever count us out, and neither do we.”
The Rangers will try and make it three wins in a row when they host the Ottawa Senators on Monday night at MSG before skating against the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday in the finale of this three-game homestand.
|Zdeno Chara (2) ASST: Phil Kessel (4), Marc Savard (12)|
1 - 0 BOS
|SHG - Dennis Wideman (5) ASST: Marc Savard (13), Stephane Yelle (4)|
2 - 0 BOS
|Nigel Dawes (2) ASST: Lauri Korpikoski (1), Dan Fritsche (3)|
2 - 1 BOS
|Markus Naslund (6) ASST: Brandon Dubinsky (10), Paul Mara (7)|
2 - 2 Tie
|1||N. Dawes||B. Wheeler||0 - 0|
|2||N. Zherdev||P. Kessel||0 - 0|
|3||F. Sjostrom||P. Axelsson||0 - 0|
|4||C. Drury||P. Bergeron||1 - 0|
|Milan Lucic Interference against Brandon Dubinsky|
|Paul Mara Fighting against Chuck Kobasew|
|Chuck Kobasew Fighting against Paul Mara|
|Dan Girardi Holding against Phil Kessel|
|Markus Naslund Holding against Shane Hnidy|
|Zdeno Chara Hooking against Aaron Voros|
|P.J. Axelsson Hooking against Lauri Korpikoski|
|Shawn Thornton Too many men on the ice|
|Michael Ryder Tripping against Dmitri Kalinin|
|Shane Hnidy Hi-sticking against Ryan Callahan|
|SA: 31||TOI: 64:57|
|Saves: 29||EV: 21 - 23|
|PIM: 0||PP: 8 - 8|
|SV%: .935||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 25||TOI: 64:17|
|Saves: 23||EV: 19 - 20|
|PIM: 0||PP: 4 - 4|
|SV%: .920||SH: 0 - 1|