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• PHOTO GALLERY
• RANGERS GAME CENTER
By Jim Cerny, newyorkrangers.com
The shutout was the first this season for Lundqvist, who finished with 29 saves. It was his 21st career shutout, and fourth against the Bruins.
“It was a fun game,” said Lundqvist. “This is what I was used to last year, low scoring and tight. The feeling was one mistake could cost us big time. I like that feeling. I have to be on my toes all the time.”
“Kind of halfway through warm-ups I knew I was good enough to play,” said Gaborik, who recorded three shots on goal with his 21:37 of ice-time. “Obviously I am not where I want to be, but I tried to help the team. It was a huge team effort out there, and it started with Hank, just a great job by him.”
After getting their three injured forwards back in the lineup, the Rangers lost the services of three other players during the second period, although, fortunately, all three were able to return to the game later on.
Chris Drury was the first to head to the dressing room after he blocked a Derek Morris slap shot with his left arm six minutes into the second. Four minutes later, Michal Rozsival limped off the ice favoring his right leg following a collision along the left-wing boards in the offensive zone. Like Drury, Rozsival headed to the dressing room, but was able to return to game action.
Then with two minutes remaining in the second, Ryan Callahan was driven hard into the boards behind the Bruins net by defenseman Zdeno Chara. Callahan was clearly dazed as he came off the ice, but when the third period started he was back on the ice, engaging Chara in a series of intense one-on-one battles.
“He was a warrior tonight,” Vinny Prospal said of Callahan, who led the Rangers with five hits and six shots on goal. “He had three or four really good scoring chances, and he took the body tonight. He was dynamite for us.”
Drury and Callahan played huge roles in protecting the Rangers’ one-goal lead during the early stages of the final period of play. With Artem Anisimov and Brandon Dubinsky taking penalties two minutes apart early in the third, Drury, Callahan, and the other Rangers’ penalty killers were called upon to hold the Bruins at bay. And that is exactly what they did, as the Rangers’ PK unit finished the game a perfect 5-for-5.
The Rangers’ best penalty killer -- and, in fact, their best player in the third period -- was Lundqvist. Sharp when tested over the first two periods, he saved his best for the final 20 minutes. In that third period, Lundqvist made huge stops on Mark Recchi, Mark Stuart, and Daniel Paille, among others.
Lundqvist made his most dramatic save with 47.7 seconds remaining. With their goaltender on the bench, the Bruins pressed deep in the Rangers’ zone, and Lundqvist made a game-saving stop on Recchi’s point-blank shot from 10 feet out.
“The key there, I think, is to be patient,” said Lundqvist. “If you go down too early, they will roof it. I didn’t see (Recchi) at first, so I was late, and he tried to go five-hole, and I just stopped it.”
After missing two straight games, Gaborik not only returned to the lineup on Sunday, but he provided the big lift that the team needed. He showed plenty of jump with more than eight minutes of ice-time in the opening period, and then scored the first goal of the game late in the second.
Gaborik helped start the scoring play deep in his own end when he worked the puck free along the boards to the right of Lundqvist. He then sped up ice and headed straight for the slot as Vinny Prospal streaked over the Bruins blueline with the puck. Flashing the great chemistry they have displayed all season long, Prospal zipped a pass on to the tape of Gaborik’s stick, and the Slovak sniper proceeded to rifle a one-timer over the glove of Bruins goalie Tim Thomas and high into the net with 4:09 left to play in the second period.
“Vinny had the puck there, and I know he’s looking to pass, so I just tried to stop and he made a perfect pass,” said Gaborik, who is second in the league in goals scored behind Washington’s Alex Ovechkin, who has 14. “I was open and took the shot, and fortunately it went in.”
It was exactly the dynamic type of play the Rangers offense had missed when Gaborik sat out consecutive road losses to the Islanders and Wild this past week. And it also showed Gaborik’s value in all three zones, not only the offensive zone.
“Gabby scored a big goal for us,” said Rangers head coach John Tortorella. “I thought he played very well for us away from the puck and killing penalties, too.”
Gaborik’s 11th goal was the only point on the scoreboard for either team after 40 minutes of play. The Rangers had played a much stronger game in front of Lundqvist, and controlled the neutral zone on a more consistent basis. And they produced the higher quality scoring chances, forcing Thomas into making several exceptional saves.
Just five minutes into the game, Thomas stoned Higgins from in front after the puck had pinballed to the Rangers’ winger in the low slot. Thomas then made a sensational left-pad save on Callahan’s point-blank try at 12:11 of the first, following a nice chip pass from Dubinsky.
With Boston skating on the power play later in the opening stanza, Thomas made a strong right-pad save on Gaborik’s booming right-wing slap shot. When the puck rebounded out to Dubinsky, Thomas positioned himself perfectly to flash out his pad again for an even better save on Dubinsky’s shorthanded blast.
The Rangers also provided a spirited physical effort for The Garden Faithful, with Callahan and Avery, in particular, very much engaged throughout.
And the extra effort put forth by the Rangers was, perhaps, best exemplified by intelligent defenseman Matt Gilroy. Just four minutes into the contest, Gilroy broke up a 2-on-1 Boston rush by diving on the ice fully extended perfectly to take away both the shooting and passing options. A prime scoring chance for the Bruins was turned aside without a shot on goal.
“I thought our decision-making was good, I thought our grinding was better, and we find a way to score a goal,” said Tortorella. “It was a real patient, grinding win.”
Immediately after the victory, the Rangers headed to the airport for a flight to Vancouver, where they open up a three-game road trip in Western Canada with a tilt on Tuesday night against the Canucks.
|Marian Gaborik (11) ASST: Vinny Prospal (14), Marc Staal (4)|
1 - 0 NYR
|Ryan Callahan Tripping against Patrice Bergeron|
|David Krejci Interference - Goalkeeper against Henrik Lundqvist|
|Michal Rozsival Interference against Zdeno Chara|
|Sean Avery Boarding against Dennis Wideman|
|Mark Stuart Holding the stick against Ales Kotalik|
|Michal Rozsival Tripping against Brad Marchand|
|Brandon Dubinsky Slashing against Matt Hunwick|
|SA: 23||TOI: 58:51|
|Saves: 22||EV: 17 - 18|
|PIM: 0||PP: 2 - 2|
|SV%: .957||SH: 3 - 3|
|SA: 29||TOI: 60:00|
|Saves: 29||EV: 21 - 21|
|PIM: 0||PP: 8 - 8|
|SV%: 1.000||SH: 0 - 0|