Rangers topple Bruins for third straight win; Rick Nash scores yet again
Despite the news that Henrik Lundqvist would not be available for the game against the Bruins, The Rangers (30-15-4) took down the red-hot Boston Bruins (27-17-7) at the Garden, coming back from a 2-1 deficit to earn their third straight win.
The Rangers hit the 30 win mark, and it was just the seventh time in franchise history that the Blueshirts have reached 30 wins in 49 games or fewer. After starting the season 7-7-4, the Rangers are 23-8-0 since then, solidifying themselves as a top Eastern Conference team.
The Blueshirts are now just two points behind the Penguins for first place in the Metropolitan Division, and just one point behind the Islanders. The Rangers have games in hand on both teams.
Lundqvist was expected to start, but it was announced that he is currently listed as day-to-day with an upper body injury, relating to the injury he sustained on Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes, when he took a puck to the throat. Cam Talbot started in his absence, earning his 5th win of the season and stopping 18 of the 20 shots that he faced.
Rick Nash opened up the scoring for the Rangers, scoring his 32nd goal of the season just 5:50 into the first period. That goal gave him sole possession of first place in the NHL in goals scored. Nash also leads the league in games with a goal scored, finding the back of the net in 25 different games. Nash is the first Ranger to score 25 goals in the first 49 games since Adam Graves in the 1993-1994 season. An assist in the game gives Nash an impressive 48 points in 49 games.
The start to the first period was electrifying, a much better start than in the past few games. They barely allowed the Bruins to have any offensive chances.
The Rangers were rewarded for using their speed and forecheck, forcing a turnover in the neutral zone. Martin St. Louis fed a great pass to Nash streaking down the left wing, and he deked out Rask to give the Rangers the early lead.
The pressure from the Rangers continued, and they were up 7-2 in shots at the 11:09 mark of the first period. The momentum was heavily tilted towards New York.
However, all it took was one defensive lapse, and Boston capitalized. Ryan McDonagh turned the puck over along the boards, and Reilly Smith found Milan Lucic alone in front, and he fired it past Talbot to tie the game at one. It looked like Tanner Glass missed the defensive coverage, and New York paid as a result.
The Bruins struck again 1:58 later, and it was Patrice Bergeron giving Boston the lead. Martin St. Louis tried to backhand a pass in the offensive zone, but there was no Ranger there. The Bruins collected the puck, went on the rush, and Bergeron was able to deflect it past Talbot, suddenly giving the Bruins a lead.
The Rangers had outshot the Bruins 12-5 in the first period, but the Bruins scored on two of those shots, capitalizing on the few Rangers mistakes in the period.
In the second period, the Rangers second line of Chris Kreider, Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello went to work, using their unique combination of size, skill, and speed to their advantage. Kreider used his speed to negate an icing, generating offensive possession. Eventually, the puck found mats Zuccarello behind the net, then Chris Kreider, who made a nifty pass to Brassard in front, and he fired a wrist shot past Rask for his 13th goal of the season.
The Rangers would proceed to kill of a Bruins penalty later in the period, allowing just one shot on goal and keeping the momentum in their favor.
With 3:04 remaining, Derek Stepan scored his ninth goal of the season, giving New York a 3-2 lead. Dan Girardi connected with Rick Nash on a perfect outlet pass, Nash quickly slid it to Stepan, whose wrist shot trickled through the pads of Rask and into the back of the net, and the Rangers had the lead once again.
The Rangers parked the bus a bit in the third period, not pressing and focusing on defense. Their first shot in the period came after the first 13 minutes. The Bruins would pull Tuukka Rask with about 80 seconds remaining, firing a flurry of shots on net, but the Rangers survived, and held on for a win.
With the win, the Rangers are 22-0-1 when leading after two periods, a truly impressive stat that is tops in the NHL. It’s nice to know that when this team has a late lead, they have been winning those games all but one time this season.
The Rangers won just 15 of 45 face off chances, which is really bad. But what is pretty incredible is that they still managed to outshoot the Bruins and score on three of those shots. The Rangers were never really struggling to gain possession, and played well despite the struggles on the draw.
Alain Vigneault tied Rangers GM Glen Sather for 22nd on the all-time wins list as a coach, picking up his 497th career victory.
Cam Talbot started his first game since January 15th, meaning he had a lot of time off. And the Rangers did exactly what they were supposed to do in front of him; not allow a lot of shots to get through and make sure to keep the crease clear for Talbot. Cam was able to settle in and get comfortable over time, and came away with the win.
Moving Mats Zuccarello off of the top line has done wonders the past two game, and he has looked much better when paired with Brassard and Kreider instead of Nash. Zuccarello seems to have abandoned his constant pass first mentality, and has been shooting more in the past two games. “Zukes” also picked up an assist, giving him 27 points (8-19-27) this season.
Chris Kreider had a phenomenal game, assisting on Derek Brassard’s goal. Kreider seems to have developed as a player, handling the puck better, and posing a threat with and without the puck. Kreider has 12 points (6-6-12) in the last 15 games, and has been one of the best players lately.
Brassard’s goal was his 13th of the season, as he continues to have the best season of his career. Brassard has 20 points (7-13-20) over the last 25 games, and is tied for second on the team in points with 37 (13-24-37).
Martin St. Louis assisted on Rick Nash’s goal, and the Rangers have won the last 13 games in which Martin St. Louis has produced a point.
The next game for the Blueshirts will be on Saturday, when they take on the Nashville Predators in Tennessee.
1) Rick Nash – 1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG
2) Derick Brassard – 1 G, 2 SOG, 18:22 TOT
3) Chris Kreider – 1 A, 4 HT, 18:09 TOT
Posted on February 5, 2015, in Game Recaps and tagged Alain Vigneault, Cam Talbot, Carl Hagelin, Chris Kreider, Dan Boyle, Dan Girardi, Derek Stepan, Derick Brassard, Dominic Moore, Henrik Lundqvist, Islanders, Jesper Fast, John Moore, John Tavares, JT Miller, Kevin Hayes, Kevin Klein, King Henrik, Lee Stempniak, Madison Square Garden, Marc Staal, Martin St. Louis, Mats Zuccarello, Matt Hunwick, MSG, MSL, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, NHL, NHL 2014-2015 Season, NHL All Star Game, NY Rangers, NYR, Rangers, Rangers Nation, Rangerstown, Rick Nash, Ryan McDonagh, Tanner Glass, The Ranger Zone. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.