After seeing a two goal lead evaporate in the waning moments of the game, the Rangers and the home crowd needed a lift, and Christopher Higgins was there to provide it, scoring the game winner and giving the Rangers a 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden.
The way this season has gone it seems fitting that getting a power play already ahead 2-0 with six minutes left in the game would somehow work against the Rangers. The Bruins scored a shorthanded goal with 5:30 remaining, then tied the game ninety seconds later to stun the Rangers and the crowd. Marc Staal was caught out of position, and Sean Avery was without a stick, the Bruins were able to cycle in the offensive zone and get the equalizer.
Then with a minute and a half remaining, Higgins banged home his first goal of the season at MSG to give the Rangers a much needed win on home ice, where the Rangers had lost three in a row.
The Blueshirts had numerous chances on the power play in the first period, but only converted once, on a goal by Ales Kotalik, who scored for the first time since November 5th. Rangers were outshot 12-9 in the first period.
Erik Christensen notched his second goal of the season on a fantastic outlet pass from Michael Del Zotto to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead in the second period. Christensen was being checked on the play, and actually scored the goal with one hand on the stick. Christensen has been playing better since being reinserted into the lineup, and it couldn't come soon enough for the offensively challenged Rangers.
Brandon Dubinsky has been very quietly picking up his game. He assisted on the first two goals, giving him four goals and five assists in the last seven games. He is also showing great moves going to the net, hopefully these are signs that Dubi's starting to get in a groove.
Rangers outshot the Bruins 35-28, Henrik Lundqvist made 26 saves.
[Note by Jim Schmiedeberg, 01/05/10 12:11 PM EST Here is the video of the game-winner.
- I still can't figure out why Artem Anisimov isn't getting more ice time. Only 10 minutes in this game. I don't get it.
- Only three penalties for the Rangers tonight.
- Chris Drury picked up an assist as he continues his historic march to a 25 point season.
- My internet is up and running, back in the swing, it was good to be in the open thread with you guys during the game.
- Don't forget Tuesday night on Blueshirt Banter Radio, we are interviewing former New York Ranger John Ogrodnick. John spent 5 seasons on Broadway, and was a 40 goal scorer for the Rangers.
- This has nothing to do with hockey, but I am watching the Fiesta Bowl halftime show while I type this, and sorry Boise St. but the girls from TCU are much hotter.
Notes and Quotes after the jump.....
- The Rangers defeated the Boston Bruins, 3-2, tonight at Madison Square Garden to improve to 20-17-5 (45 pts.) on the season, including a 9-10-3 mark at home; New York have recorded points in eight of their last nine games (6-1-2).
- The Blueshirts are now 35-17-10 (80 pts.) against Original Six opponents since 2005-06, and 13-3-2 (28 pts.) vs. Boston over the span; the Rangers have now posted a record of 7-1-1 (15 pts.) against the Northeast Division, and have out-scored their opponents, 30-17, in nine games this season.
- Brandon Dubinsky recorded two assists, including his 100th career NHL point on Kotalik's first period power play goal, and led all Rangers with 24:16 of icetime; he has now tallied nine points (four goals and five assists) in the last seven games.
- Henrik Lundqvist turned aside 26 shots while making his 16th straight start, his longest streak since he started 19 straight during the 2006-07 season; he has now held opponents to two or fewer goals in 12 of the last 15 games.
- Christopher Higgins tallied the game-winning goal at 1:29 of the third period; he now has six goals and 15 career regular season points vs. Boston.
- Ryan Callahan notched two assists and delivered a team-high five hits along with a game-high four blocked shots in 20:15 of icetime; he has now recorded four goals and 12 points in the last 12 games.
- Erik Christensen tallied one goal in 17:56 of icetime; he has now recorded four points (two goals and two assists) in the last three games.
- Ales Kotalik notched one power play goal in 14:35 of icetime; Michael Del Zotto and Chris Drury recorded one assist apiece.
- The Blueshirts practice schedule for tomorrow, Jan. 5, is 12:00 p.m. at the MSG Training Center.
- The Rangers return to action on Jan. 6, when they will face-off against the Dallas Stars at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), in the first game of a back-to-back set. The game will be televised live on MSG Network and can be heard on 1050 ESPN Radio.
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John Tortorella on tonight's game...
"We come back and get a point after being down in the third period the other night. I think we did it against the Islanders, we came back. I thought we played really well in all facets of the game."
Henrik Lundqvist on other guys scoring tonight...
"Other guys stepping up now is huge for us. It is a big month. We need a lot of guys to step up and score for us."
Brandon Dubinsky on tonight's game...
"The bottom line is we found a way to get two points here tonight. I thought we played a solid game. They're a good team too, they pressured us and they had two opportunities and they found a way to score in the third. But there was a great play by Higgy (Christopher Higgins) to put the puck in the net and two points is two points, especially here at home where we have been struggling."