The New York Rangers met up with the Boston Bruins tonight for their third preseason game of the season, but were defeated 4-3 in the shootout after going scoreless in 3-on-3 overtime. Mats Zuccarello, who played in his first game since his scary injury during the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, was absolutely lights out tonight, and appeared to be in mid-season form with the plays he was making.
Speaking of which, Derick Brassard, Rick Nash and Zuccarello appeared to have a tremendous amount chemistry after they spent a majority of last season together as a unit. It is certainly an encouraging sign to see that they are still comfortable playing with one another, and I wouldn't be surprised if they start the season together given the early chemistry.
Early on in this game, the Rangers were taking a beating from the Bruins in their own end, which led to an early penalty by Tommy Hughes. The Bruins were unable to convert on the man-advantage, but the power play clearly swayed the momentum in their favor during the opening seven minutes or so. After plenty of pressure, the Bruins finally broke the ice as Tyler Randell redirected Joe Morrow's point shot and beat Henrik Lundqvist over the shoulder.
A little over four minutes later, the Rangers responded and evened the game up at one on a goal coming from Brady Skjei. Mats Zuccarello created the entire goal with his beautiful backhand pass, but Skjei also deserves a ton of praise for activating himself in the defensive end to create a passing lane for Zuccarello.
Shortly after the tying goal, the Rangers had a chance to take their first lead of the night after Jimmy Hayes was sent off for a slashing penalty. Just nine seconds into the power play, Mats Zuccarello converted on a beautiful pass from Derick Brassard and slipped it by Jeremy Smith.
The second period was quiet in the early going, goal wise, until Kevin Hayes broke the silence and gave the Rangers a two goal cushion. Dan Boyle and Brady Skjei started the entire play with beautiful puck movement at the top of the umbrella, and Skjei quickly dished the puck over to Kevin Hayes. Skjei's pass opened up a huge lane for Kevin Hayes and he took full advantage of the space the Bruins gave him.
He finished it off with a booming wrist shot that hit Smith's glove and deflected in behind him to give the Rangers a 3-1 lead. The Bruins responded with a pair of goals in the third period coming from Brandon Carlo and Ryan Spooner to force the 3-on-3 overtime period. In overtime, the Rangers had an early power play after Rick Nash was hauled down by Matt Irwin, but they were unable to respond.
That led us straight to the shootout where Mats Zuccarello, and Dan Boyle scored for the Rangers while Ryan Spooner, Frank Vatrano and Brad Marchand all tallied for the Bruins. The Rangers are expected to make more cuts following tonight's loss which should cut the roster down to 18 forwards, and around 9 or 10 defenseman.