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Rangers disappointing in Boston in Henrik Lundqvist’s return

Bobby Bevilacqua

Rangers vs Bruins 3-28

The Rangers were unable to come away with a win in Henrik Lundqvist’s return, plagued from the start due to turnovers and poor play. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

The Rangers (47-20-7) were not sharp today, dropping their last game of the season against the Boston Bruins (37-25-13) by a final score of 4-2, with a downright embarrassing effort in front of Henrik Lundqvist at times, who was making his first start in 25 games since a vascular injury.

Boston is fighting for their playoff lives, and played like it, playing hard from the start, and really controlling play for the first 35 minutes of the game. They threw pucks at Lundqvist, got a bit of luck and some help from the Rangers defense.

Henrik Lundqvist did not have the return he was hoping four, although he was practically left out to dry from the start. Lundqvist allowed four goals on 30 shots, although one was very controversial. Another two were off of turnovers, and another slipped through his legs. He looked a bit uncomfortable in the first period, leaving rebounds and struggling a bit, but settled in nicely after that.

This game was really all about him getting some work, facing some shots and getting adjusted to the NHL pace of play. If there is one positive about the way the Rangers played, Lundqvist certainly got a lot of work, and was thrown to the fire early on. He will be fine as he continues to get more minutes.

Now I’m not one to complain about refereeing often, and I really haven’t at all this season, but the officiating today was downright embarrassing. From the first goal that was soccer-kicked into the net by Lucic, to missing two obvious boarding penalties, missing a high stick on McDonagh where he was bleeding from the nose, a dangerous high hit on Keith Yandle, and numerous no-calls after the whistle, such as Chara punching Staal in the face after the whistle, the game was a disaster from an officiating standpoint. Boston was able to do whatever they wanted with no consequences, and it was a damn shame, because it really helped set the tone for the rest of the game.

Rick Nash scored the Ranger’s first goal of the game, ending an eight game goal drought as well as 40 goals on the season. It is just the third time in his career that he has hit the 40 goal mark, with the last time coming in the 2008-09 season with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Nash is only the 19th player to record 40 or more goals with the Rangers in franchise history. Nash is one goal away from tying his career high of 41 set way back in the 2003-04 season, just his second year in the NHL.

rick nash hi five line 3-28

Rick Nash continues his success this season, scoring his 40th goal of the season, just the third time he has reached that plateau in his career. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

 

The controversy and bad officiating began just 1:41 into the game. The Bruins tested Lundqvist early, and Patrice Bergeron fired a bad angle shot on net, and Lundqvist left a big rebound. Milan Lucic was skating towards the net, and turned his skate, moving the right foot forward and kicking the puck into the net. He never celebrated, and the referees immediately waved it off. However, they went to review the play, and somehow decided that there was no distinct kicking motion, calling it a good goal. Lucic looked surprised, because even he knew he kicked it in. He did not attempt to stop, which was clear due to the fact that his left leg was still going forward. There is absolutely no way that this should have been a goal, but it was reversed, giving the Bruins a 1-0 lead, and really setting the tone for the rest of the game.

The Bruins scored on a rush up the ice, and it was Milan Lucic scoring a legitimate goal this time, giving Boston a 4-2 lead. Defenseman Torey Krug joined the rush, and Dan Boyle got a piece of his stick. The puck went right over to an uncovered Lucic, and his wrist shot beat Lundqvist five hole.

The Rangers would give up a few more pucks on turnovers, but Lundqvist bailed them out there, making a great save on Max Talbot on a one time blast from very close. But Boston got another Grade-A chance on yet another Rangers turnover. Matt Hunwick tried to play a puck up the middle of the ice, but it was right on the stick of Carl Soderberg, giving him a breakaway opportunity. He scored to make it 3-0, which would be the score at the first intermission.

Just 10 seconds into the second period, Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask checked himself out of the game, not facing any shots that period, and skating off on his own power. After the game, Bruins head coach Claude Julien said that he may have been dealing with a case of dehydration.

Reilly Smith scored the fourth straight goal for Boston just 5:53 into the second period, on another, you guessed it, bad Rangers turnover. Lundqvist made a nice initial save on Loui Eriksson’s shot in close, and Matt Hunwick tried to clear it down the middle. It went right to Smith, giving him an easy goal.

With about five minutes left, the Rangers started to make a push, and solidified their game. Rick Nash would score his 40th goal of the season with less than four minutes to go in the second period. Nash started it by breaking up the play in the defensive zone, and going on the rush. Stepan hit Kreider with a pass at the blue line, and Kreider made a fantastic pass to Nash for an easy tap in. The assist was Kreider’s 21st of the season, setting a new career high.

rick nash goal 3-28

Rick Nash scored late in the third on a great passing play, tapping in the feed from Chris Kreider. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

 

Boston would park the bus in the third, and the Rangers solidified defensively that period. Matt Hunwick added a goal on a slap shot from the point that somehow eluded the glove of Niklas Svedberg. The assists went to JT Miller and Keith Yandle.

This is just a game that the Rangers need to forget about and put behind them. It was a disappointing effort from the start, with very few bright spots. It was great that Nash ended his goal drought, as he needs to get going before the playoffs. The third line was the only good line in the first half of the game, and continues to impress.

The Rangers head home for tomorrow’s game at Madison Square Garden, where they will take on the Washington Capitals.

THREE STARS

1) Rick Nash – 1 G, 4 SOG, 15:54 TOT

2) Marc Staal – +1, 3 SOG, 3 HT, 20:05 TOT

3) Derek Stepan – 1 A, 3 SOG, 15:41 TOT

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Posted on March 28, 2015, in Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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