The New York Rangers closed out their preseason schedule this evening, and defeated the Boston Bruins by a final score of 3-2. Henrik Lundqvist was extremely busy tonight after the Bruins tossed 41 shots his way, but King Henrik was more than up to the task and looked as if he was in mid-season form.
However, that that didn't stop the Bruins from striking early as Brett Connolly tipped home a sweet cross-ice feed Jimmy Hayes. Kevin Klein wound up losing Connolly going back into the defensive zone, which allowed Connolly to break down the left side all alone. Lundqvist didn't stand much of a chance once the pass came in on goal, and the Bruins were able to grab the early 1-0 lead.
After a fairly lackluster first period from the Rangers, they looked to respond in the second period and were able to find the tying goal. With less than four minutes remaining in the period, Viktor Stalberg made a great defensive play to strip the puck and sent the rush back towards the Bruins end. Oscar Lindberg curled up coming into the offensive zone and found Ryan McDonagh sitting all alone inside the right faceoff dot.
Upon receiving the pass, McDonagh fired a wrist shot on net that deflected off of Stalberg's leg and in behind Jonas Gustavsson. The goal was originally credited to McDonagh but was later changed to Stalberg, which gave him his second goal of the preseason. A few minutes after Stalberg's tally, the Rangers took their first lead of the night coming off of a spectacular goal by J.T. Miller.
Miller started the play off by collecting the puck in the defensive zone, and lugging it all the way into the offensive zone with plenty of time to work with. He certainly used that time to his advantage by toe dragging Adam McQuaid out of his pants and firing a filthy wrist shot past Gustavsson for the 2-1 lead.
J.T. Miller certainly heard Alain Vigneault's message prior to tonight's game about no one grabbing that second line right wing spot, and definitely made a case for it with that move. Despite being outshot 32-16 heading into the intermission, the Rangers were able to hang on to their 2-1 lead. Just five minutes in the third period, though, the Rangers extended their lead to 3-1 after Rick Nash slammed home an early power play goal.
With a little less two minutes remaining in regulation, the Bruins responded with a goal and cut the Rangers lead to 3-2 courtesy of Brett Connolly. The goal was Connolly's second goal of the evening, and it was a pretty impressive one to boot. After Lundqvist kicked out the rebound, Connolly was able to reach out and swat the puck out of midair which beat Lundqvist cleanly on the backdoor.
Despite some late chances by the Bruins, Lundqvist was able to hold down the fort and the Rangers went onto to secure a 3-2 win in their final preseason game. The Rangers will now have some tough decisions to make as final cuts loom, and we should be hearing some news on that front sometime tomorrow afternoon. Alain Vigneault mentioned that the Rangers wanted to have their team set prior to Friday's practice, so we'll see how everything plays out.