Heritage Night at Madison Square Garden ended in disappointment as the Rangers, in their new heritage third jerseys, were unable to make a comeback against the defensively sound Boston Bruins. Their winning streak ended at three and they are now 10-8-1 on the season. The (Dark) Blueshirts played reasonably well in this game, but red hot Tim Thomas was even better in goal for Boston.
The Rangers were putting Thomas to work right from the opening faceoff in this one. They were throwing shots on net from all angles and crowding the crease. But Thomas had an answer for all of them and the two clubs went to intermission locked up in a scoreless tie.
The Rangers were given a four-minute powerplay early in the second when Brandon Dubinsky was clipped in the face with a stick. Ironically, with the final seconds of the man advantage ticking off the clock, Dubinsky came down on the wing and whipped a low wristshot past Thomas from the circle. Henrik Lundqvist picked up his sixth career assist on that goal. About four minutes later the Bruins struck back with Milan Lucic finding the back of the net for the seventh time this season. Before the second period expired, Tyler Seguin took advantage of a Matt Gilroy turnover and came in on a semi-breakaway against Lundqvist, which he scored on.
Mark Recchi scored a softie on Hank to open the third and give the Bruins a 3-1 lead. The Rangers were not down and out yet, though, as Marian Gaborik took a Derek Stepan feed and beat Thomas four minutes later to make it 3-2. New York was then given a perfect opportunity to tie things up on a 5-on-3 powerplay, but they wasted it by making too many passes, standing still and not shooting. When you have a two man advantage, you should constantly be moving so that the penalty killers are forced to do the same. This opens up lanes and leaves two men open at all times. But by standing around, the Rangers gave themselves few options and made the Bruins' job easy. That ultimately lost them the game because it took away any momentum they had following the Gaborik goal.
Contninue reading after the jump....I thought Marian Gaborik played very well in this game. He had a handful of shots and was finding ways to get open despite going up against fellow Slovakian Zdeno Chara. Marian now has four goals this season and is starting to get his scoring touch back. Obviously that is great news for the Rangers.
Brandon Dubinsky also stood out to me on offense. He had the puck a whole lot, including when he potted his eleventh on the year. This kid is on pace to have 20 goals before the all-star break, which is a tremendous improvement compared to past seasons. I'll admit that I was unsure about Dubi going into the year, but boy has he been clutch. Dubi Dubi Doo, I love you.
How about Steve Eminger's physicality tonight? He had three or four crushing blows, especially the one on Shawn Thornton. Eminger is a player that we have seen improvement in from game one of the season. If he keeps throwing the body around like that, he will be in the lineup on a nightly basis no doubt.
Henrik Lundqvist would probably consider this a tough outing for himself. I don't think he was too bad, but he would certainly like that Recchi goal back. This contest was a goaltending duel, as expected, and tonight King Henrik was out-dueled by Timmy Thomas.
I'm a little confused over John Tortorella's plans for the first line center position. For majority of the game Christensen was there, then Stepan was placed there, played well, but then was again replaced by EC. Maybe you guys are seeing something I am not there, but I honestly don't understand Tortorella's reasoning behind constantly swapping them.
As a side note, the new heritage third jerseys looked awesome on the boys. It took a little while to adjust to them playing in dark blue, but they did look very sharp in them. Too bad they couldn't get a win in them.
The Rangers' next game is on Friday at 9:00 p.m. against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. The last time the Blueshirts visited there was last season when Marian Gaborik picked up a hat trick. Maybe he can pull that off again.