On #RivalryNight at The Garden, the Rangers forgot to set their alarm clocks for 8 PM. Apparently, they thought the Original Six match-up against classic rival Boston started at 9. Following a abysmal first period that saw everyone stink up the joint including Henrik Lundqvist, they rebounded by scoring five unanswered goals to post a 5-2 win over the Bruins.
It was one of those fun late starts with exclusive coverage on NBC Sports Network. Not so much that I mind. It afforded me more time to drive into the city with the family and take in my first official game of the season. Preseason doesn’t count. However, it also means getting out later and more traffic back to Staten Island due to lane closures. After a full day of work and a long game, I’m pretty tired. I have to be up early tomorrow.
All that said, at least the Rangers remembered who they were facing in time to turn a boring first period in which they fell behind by two to turn it around for a third straight victory. They can thank the Bruins’ lack of discipline for the comeback win. They fell apart literally by taking four consecutive penalties in a dreadful second. Eventually, if you hand your opponent that many opportunities with a fourth string goalie making his first career NHL start, you’re bound to pay for it on the scoreboard.
After a good first in which David Pastrnak scored 10 seconds in and Lundqvist gave up a beach ball to Austin Czarnik, Boston took the final two periods off. Instead of playing hockey, Claude Julien’s club decided to tempt fate by marching into the penalty box. Eventually, the Rangers figured Zane McIntyre out who up till that point, had been pretty good including a terrific glove robbery point blank while also stoning J.T. Miller on a break in.
On their third power play with Czarnik off for a needless interference minor in the offensive zone, Rick Nash was able to beat McIntyre on a second rebound attempt in front chipping the puck into the net for his third of the season, coming at 9:16. The play was made possible by Derek Stepan, who patiently held the puck and waited for Nash to get in position. He then made a perfect pass in front for a wide open Nash, who notched a rare power play goal. Jimmy Vesey helped set it up, adding an assist.
With the Rangers finally with their wits about them, a cheap shot from Pastrnak on Dan Girardi led to plenty of ferocity. As Girardi was skating with the puck, Pastrnak made a bee line for him head hunting. Astonishingly, what should’ve been a major penalty was only interpreted as an illegal check to the head minor. How in the world is the NHL serious protecting its players when they allow refs to only call two minutes for such a dangerous play that could’ve resulted in a serious head injury?
Luckily, Girardi got up and returned to the game because he’s really Clark Kent in disguise. Say what you want about him. But the guy has more guts and toughness than anyone on this roster. Afterwards, he actually said he was okay while questioning what Pastrnak was doing. Such hits should be outlawed. But they stay in the game as long as the instigator does. I would’ve loved to seen Dylan McIlrath dressed for a response. But as we know, nothing stops such cheap shots. They are the ugly part of hockey until the NHL brass wake up.
In case you’re wondering, you might want to circle Nov. 5 on the calendar. The Rangers visit the Bruins at TD Garden. Perhaps they’ll seek retribution. We’ll have to wait and see. There’s still four games to play on the schedule before that visit to Boston.
After they were unable to cash in on Pastrnak’s “minor penalty,” Kevin Hayes scored the tying goal at 16:35 thanks to some intelligence. On a rush, Jesper Fast made a smart decision dropping the puck behind for Hayes, who wisely decided to throw the puck at McIntyre’s feet. He got the bounce he was looking for with the Boston goalie caught leaning for a bad goal that tied it.
Another ill advised Boston penalty in the offensive zone led directly to the Rangers’ go-ahead tally with under a minute left in the second. Matt Beleskey decided to take a senseless interference minor in the offensive zone. Honestly, it wasn’t much. But in today’s game is always called. That it’s the same two minutes as the Pastrnak head shot is a joke. At least the Rangers took advantage with Brandon Pirri sniping from the right circle off a great feed from Miller at 19:24. Mika Zibanejad started it and then Miller found Pirri and he didn’t hesitate firing one top shelf past McIntyre.
Pirri has been a great addition. Signed late, he not only made the roster. But continues to perform well in a secondary scoring role with power play time (4:44). He wasn’t done scoring. Early in the third, he was in the right place to put away a wide Marc Staal carom with Miller netting his second assist to increase to a 4-2 lead at 2:23 of the third stanza. That gives Pirri four goals.
On the next shift, Stepan and Nash combined to set up a cutting Vesey for a tap in at 3:06. The cohesive trio have excellent chemistry. Ever since Alain Vigneault put them together following Pavel Buchnevich’s injury, they have been dynamite. I didn’t know how Vesey would do with Stepan. But Vigneault has been proven right. The kid from Harvard is a smart player with good offensive instincts. He thinks the game. Vesey knows where to go. He’s got a scorer’s mentality. The way he’s playing so far, don’t be surprised if the 23-year old rookie challenges for the team lead in goals.
Comfortably ahead 5-2, the Rangers shut it down. The Bruins never really threatened. After a flat first, Lundqvist didn’t have to make any tough saves. He saw the shows and finished with 27 stops in his fourth consecutive start.
BONY 3 Stars:
3rd Star-Kevin Hayes, NYR (goal-2nd of season, 3 shots, 5 attempts, 5 takeaways, +1 in 25 shifts-17:54 including 4:44 PP)
2nd Star-Jimmy Vesey, NYR (4th of season, assist, 5 shot attempts, 3 takeaways, -1 in 22 shifts-17:39 including 5:46 PP)
1st Star-Brandon Pirri, NYR (two goals-3rd, 4th on 3 shots, +1 in 19 shifts-13:54)
Notes: Josh Jooris just can’t catch a break. He left after four shifts (3:00) separating his shoulder. He’ll go on injured reserve which means Pavel Buchnevich should be activated. He’s almost ready. If Buchnevich is ready for Friday at Carolina and Chris Kreider returns, who comes out? It’s looking like Oscar Lindberg, who hasn’t received a lot of ice-time and might not be 100 percent yet. … Even though Patrice Bergeron dominated on draws going 20-and-8, you didn’t notice him much. Ditto for Brad Marchand, who took a high-sticking minor.
… There was a nice moment for former Ranger Dominic Moore, who was shown on Garden Vision during a stoppage and received well deserved cheers. No 2014 Stanley Cup Final without him. He waved to the crowd. … Ryan McDonagh with another stellar game leading the team in ice-time with 23:29 in 26 shifts while picking up his sixth assist along with five shot attempts. He really looks much better. … Rangers (5-2-0) visit the Hurricanes tomorrow night before returning to MSG for three games against the Lightning, Blues and Oilers.
… Oh btw. Is that Hall for Larsson trade still one sided if Edmonton keeps winning? The goalie Cam Talbot keeps playing well stopping 34 of 35 in a 4-1 home win over the Caps. It’s nice to see Cam do well.
… There was a senseless fight between a Bruins fan and Ranger fan that resulted in both getting ejected. I didn’t notice it because Pirri had just scored to make it 5-2. The Ranger fan had a shiner. The Boston fan was without a shirt. It was ugly. There’s really no need for such stuff at sporting events. Spend the night in jail over what? Too many beers and stupidity? Not worth it.