The New York Rangers are traveling back to the Most Famous Arena from Boston with a point in their pockets, and that’s good. The problem is they should have easily taken a win along with them on the ride, but failed to against a team that was very beatable Saturday afternoon. Rangers have Lundqvist to thank for giving the team the opportunity to continue the match after regulation expired as he made some remarkable saves with shoddy defense in front. Jagr looked rejuvenated and had a strong three point performance.The first period was fairly even with Boston getting slightly better offensive chances. Notice the strong series of saves Lundqvist made prior to Gomez giving the Rangers a 1-0 lead. This net minding is similar to what we see from Henrik when he is on top of his games. He played aggressively high in the crease which is a good sign for the Swede. He also seemed poised and confidence from the get go. Gomez’s goal was equalized by the unfortunate puck bounce that went off defenseman Mara’s skate and in back of Henrik Lundqvist to knot the score at 1-1.
The second period was once again the weakest period for the Rangers as they took numerous penalties. Four minor penalties held the Rangers a man down for eight minutes during the 20 minute frame. Dubinsky was responsible for a lazy penalty that cost the Rangers a goal as Chuck Kobasew scored on the power play. The Rangers defense was responsible for numerous odd man rushes; two of which were break aways. Rozsival had a very tough game taking two penalties in the second and being caught out of position a few times. Boston with a 2-1 lead after the second found themselves in a very comfortable position as they are known for their shut down defense system which they would look enforce during the next period.
Jagr looked like a man on a mission during the third period as he was buzzing around the neck, and making it very hard for Boston’s defense to corral the puck. He scored a Jagr like goal after sustained pressure had been applied by Boston’s power play and fore check. Lundqvist once again played strong prior to the goal being scored. Lundqvist’s good play in net was key in the momentum change that occurred in the early stages of the third. Good offensive pressure forced a hooking penalty on Boston which resulted in another Rangers goal. Scott Gomez set up Avery beautifully right in front of the net. Avery notched his third goal of the season in front of his dad who along with other Rangers fathers watched the game at the Boston Garden. The Rangers power play looked stronger than it has in recent games as the units were effective on 25% of their power play chances (1 for 4). The Rangers were in a good position to close out the game with a score of 3-2 with under 12 minutes left, but had their defense fail on yet another penalty kill. Lundqvist was left to the Bruin’s mercy as the Rangers rear guards were unable to clear the crease after Henrik made a great save. After the save was made the puck was sitting in the crease and Kobasew was not contested as he took 2 shots on the rebound in the crease. The second shot found its way into the net after Henrik made yet another superb save on Kobasew’s first rebound attempt. With the score tied at three Boston had a strong finish to the third period with numerous scoring chances. Lundqvist’s strong play kept the game even as regulation expired.
The overtime was very fast paced, and the Rangers offense kept the Boston players very honest. The Rangers continue to play great during overtime. The Rangers were put at a huge disadvantage toward the end of the overtime as Jagr was given a penalty on a horrible call. Jagr had no choice but to skate in to Tim Thomas, who was standing outside the crease as Jagr was cutting away from the net. To make matters worse Jagr was tied up by a Bruins defenseman who had his stick into Jaromir’s waist section. The penalty did not cost the Rangers the game in the sudden death overtime, but swayed the momentum strongly in Boston’s favor. Lundqvist was spectacular in the resulting penalty kill and led the Rangers to a shoot out.
Phil Kessel has Lundqvist’s number as he scored his second shoot out goal against Henrik this season putting Boston up 1-0 in the second round. Shanahan’s shot in the first round was not high enough as you know the 600 goal scorer would like to take that shot over again. Prucha also missed the opportunity to put his shot between Thomas’s legs as the goalie stood tall during Prucha’s deke. Instead Petr shot the puck right into the netminders midsection leaving the shoot out up to Lundqvist in the 3rd round. Chara is one tall hockey player. Did you get a look at him when he was celebrating with his teammates after putting the slapper past Lundqvist to win the shoot out? He his huge, and with that size he got a lot on that slapper that hit the post and went in. The result of the shoot out left the Rangers disappointed as they knew they should have given a better effort.
The point was a good thing one to walk away with, but the Rangers were facing a team that was pretty banged up and was forced to replace their injured players with young AHL players. The Rangers also stole the point by the great goaltending of Lundqvist whose good play seemed to give the Rangers forwards momentum because two of the three goals were scored after Lundqvist made a nice save in the defensive zone. Lundqvist played similarly to how he played early in this season when he was at his best. Hopefully he stays consistent. The Rangers defense was guilty of a lot of mistakes which along with undisciplined play led to the loss. Jagr also had a very strong game which will hopefully give him confidence for the game tomorrow.
With another game against Boston tomorrow at home look for the Rangers to come out strong in the first period to try and build an early two or more goal lead. The Rangers will probably look to sit on a strong lead and let the defense attempt to hold it through the second and third period. Rangers will have a more conservative approach once they gain the lead. Expect a lot of dumping and chasing of the puck in the offensive zone as the Bruin’s kept the blue line defended as the Rangers looked to rush in during todays game. Hope for less penalties taken by the Rangers, and better officiating (yeah I said it Paul Devorski and Steve Kozari). _X_