The Boston Bruins played spoiler tonight as they came away with a 3-1 win against the New York Rangers on opening night. Rick Nash came away with his first point as a Ranger, and Henrik Lundqvist's night was highlighted by an unbelievable glove save in the third period.
The Rangers were victims of a slow start, and the Bruins were able to capitalize with early pressure in the offensive zone. Henrik Lundqvist was off to a solid start between the pipes, facing a barrage of shots in the opening minutes of the game. The Bruins were able to get on the board first with a rebound goal coming Milan Lucic. Marc Staal turned over the puck with allowed David Krejic to walk down the right wing and snap a shot on net. Lundqvist was a bit surprised by the quick shot and kicked the rebound right out to Lucic who was camped out in the high slot.
After a lackluster effort in the opening 20 minutes, the Rangers came out with a bit of an edge in the second, and were able to turn around some of the momentum. That momentum was quickly extinguished eight minutes in when Daniel Paille scored on a redirection at the top of the crease. Greg Campbell put the initial shot on net which Paille deflected right out in front and banged off of the post and just slipped into the net. Lundqvist made a last ditch effort in an attempt to pull the puck away from the goal line, but it was too late.
The Rangers responded just over four minutes later with their first goal of the year coming from Brad Richards. Nash was the creator of this goal as he came into the zone and put on a dazzling move on the Bruins. The puck rebounded off of the back boards before squirting back out to Richards. The first shot attempt was blocked and on the bounce back, Richards took a slap shot which found the back of the net. Tukka Rask had a ton of bodies in front of him, and never he saw the shot coming. Rick Nash picked up the primary assist on the goal which is his first point as a New York Ranger.
The Rangers took back the momentum after the goal, and shortly after the gloves began to drop. Mike Rupp and Shawn Thornton dropped the gloves just a minute later and exchanged a few back and forth jabs. As if once wasn't enough, on the ensuing faceoff Stu Bickel and Gregory Campbell went back at it once again with a battle of their own. Bickel gave Campbell a few good shots and was able to draw some blood.
After we finally got back to some actual hockey, the Bruins went right back to work in the offensive zone. They were able to control the puck down low, and forced a lot of turnovers along the boards. With a much better period under their belts, the Rangers headed into the third period behind by a goal.
Both teams took to the ice with their fair share of chances, before the Bruins got yet another scoring chance, that was absolutely robbed by Henrik Lundqvist. A rebound bounced right out to the right of net, and David Krejci was the recipient of the shot. Lundqvist, who was out of position, leaped back and was able to snag the puck off of the goal line to save a goal. The save would eventually be reviewed and the call on the ice would stand, no goal.
Johnny Boychuk would put the Bruins up 3-1 shortly after with a seeing-eye shot from the point. The wrist shot beat Lundqvist right under the glove and just slipped over the goal line. The Rangers were absolutely flat and weren't able to generate any sort of puck possession down low, and gain some zone time. The final horn sounded and the Rangers dropped their season opener by the score of 3-1.
While everyone expected the Rangers to come out with the win early on, it's still the first game after an extended break. It's no excuse, but you had to expect something like this after a long lay off. Rick Nash was solid tonight and created a few chances, while Henrik Lundqvist was solid for a good part of the game.
The Rangers will be back at it tomorrow night as they host the Pittsburgh Penguins in their home opener at Madison Square Garden.