Rangers fans have heard all season how they’re not really in the same league as Boston, and that it would show when they played head-to-head. Well today, even with the Rangers getting absolutely no calls from the referees, their defense-first style prevailed and they tamed the Bruins’ offense.
After a scoreless first period, Ryan Callahan exited the penalty box and took a pass from Brandon Prust. His wrist shot rang off the post an in to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. It was short-lived, as Andrew Ference tied the game by driving through the slot and lifting a back-hand over Henrik Lundqvist‘s shoulder two minutes later.
Marian Gaborik snapped a seven-game goal-less drought with 5:30 remaining in the second period. After Carl Hagelin pass was blocked, Gaborik blasted home the loose puck past Tuuka Rask. The Bruins tied the game with just 49 seconds left in the period, when Adam McQuaid‘s wrist shot deflected off a stick and went top shelf to tie it at 2-2.
Tied after 60 minutes, the Rangers received a five-minute powerplay after Ference was assessed a five-minute major for boarding Ryan McDonagh, who left the game with what appeared to be either a shoulder or head injury. After a scramble in front, Gaborik ended the game with just three second remaining to give the Rangers a 3-2 win.
- Absolutely awful officiated game. The Rangers did not receive a powerplay until about the 10 minute mark of the third period, while ever little thing was being called against them, including two calls with Zdeno Chara being involved. For a player who is nearly 7-feet tall, he has trouble staying on his skates.
- The penalty kill should be given the Broadway hat today. It was spectacular. With a powerplay as awful as its been lately — even with the winning goal — you’d better have a strong penalty kill to back it up. Today it went a perfect 4-for-4.
- Have to pray that McDonagh is OK following the cheap shot from Ference. Although many said it was his head, I think it was more his shoulder, but it’s just speculation. We’ll know more soon.
- What was different today compared to the past two weeks or so? The Rangers’ best players played like their best players. Gaborik and Callahan were great, and even though he didn’t score, Brad Richards had a very strong game. You have to think he’s coming around.
- Speaking of Richards, I don’t like him starting with Prust and Ruslan Fedotenko. I’d much rather him be with Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky, but I’m not the coach.
- Bad segway again, but speaking of Prust, he was fantastic today. It was awesome to see him in pain like that in the hallway, and not even miss a shift. He really personifies this team.
- Artem Anisimov, for the most part, was pretty invisible today. I really do think his days in New York are numbered.
- Marc Staal is getting better with each game. I know some people are frustrated that he’s been on the ice for some goals, but it’s going to happen. You try being away from your job for four months and see if you need a little while to get back into the swing of things.
- How about Dan Girardi blocking that shot, which really should have killed him. He came right back. I’m convinced the guy is made of steel.
- This was just a great win all around, and I think it opened people’s eyes that this team could play with the Bruins. They play very similar styles, and it would be one hell of a playoff matchup.
Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia