The New York Rangers didn't have their strongest outing this afternoon against the Boston Bruins, and fell by a final score of 4-2. Henrik Lundqvist made his triumphant return in this game, but unfortunately, the Rangers weren't able to respond for their goaltender at the other end. Although, it is hard to do such a thing when the officials were practically handing out gifts to the Bruins all afternoon.
It started right from the opening puck drop too, as the Bruins were able to quickly convert, despite Milan Lucic kicking the puck into the net soccer style. The play eventually went to a review up in Toronto, but for whatever reason, the league deemed that there was no distinct kicking motion, and it was ruled a good goal. This isn't the first time the Rangers have been screwed on this type of call, and it probably won't be the last.
You can tell by the screenshot above that Lucic not only turns his skate to get a piece of the puck, but also propels it forward into the net. According to the league, however, this is a legal play. Aside from the horrible officiating in this game, the Rangers had one of their worst first periods of the season to start this game. There were absolutely awful in their own zone, and the Bruins pretty much did whatever they wanted to do in the offensive zone.
About eight minutes after Lucic's controversial goal, he capitalized once again from just inside the left face-off dot. Dan Boyle wound up losing Lucic on the zone entry, which left him wide open on the left side with a ton of space to pick his shot. Torey Krug made an excellent pass over to Lucic, and he fired it between the legs of Henrik Lundqvist to make it a 2-0 lead.
As if the bleeding wasn't bad enough, the Bruins added another insurance marker to make it 3-0 with under six minutes remaining in the first period. This time around, it was Matt Hunwick coughing up the puck at the blue line, and handed Carl Soderberg a gift of a breakaway. Soderberg was able to get the best of Lundqvist, and slipped the puck around the far side to put the Bruins in commanding control.
The Bruins continued their dominance in the second period, and just five minutes in, they extended their lead to 4-0. Reilly Smith was able to capitalize on a loose puck at the top of the crease, and shoveled it over a sprawled out Lundqvist. At this point the game was entering "ugly", it wasn't already labeled that after the first period.
Finally, at the 16:49 mark, the Rangers stopped the onslaught, and Rick Nash slammed home his 40th goal of the season. Derek Stepan started the entire play by making a quick outlet pass up to Chris Kreider, after the Bruins turned the puck over at the blue line. Kreider was able to draw all of the attention to himself, and then quickly dished the puck off to Nash who was wide open on the backdoor.
This is Nash's third time hitting the 40 goal plateau, but it is just his first time hitting that mark with the Rangers. The Rangers were able to add one final marker in the closing minute as Matt Hunwick's point shot found a way through traffic, and beat Nicklas Svedberg.
Things got a little testy after the final horn, which left Tanner Glass and Adam McQuaid jousting in the corner. With McQuaid coming at him, Glass put his hands up in an attempt to defend himself, but wound up catching McQuaid in the face with his stick. Of course, Glass was assessed a five minute major for butt ending, and it was yet another questionable call added to the list.
Again, I'm not saying the officiating was the sole reason for the Rangers losing tonight, but it sure played its part in the early going. Either way, the Rangers had a tough outing this afternoon, but will have an opportunity to rebound tomorrow afternoon at Madison Square Garden against the Washington Capitals.