The New York Rangers put up quite the performance tonight on home ice, and were rewarded with a huge 5-2 win over the Boston Bruins. Even though the shot totals favored the Bruins through 60 minutes, the Rangers did an excellent job of limiting high quality opportunities for a majority of the game. Henrik Lundqvist was also out of his mind once again, and picked up two ridiculous saves to keep the Bruins off of the board late in the game.
Aside from their impressive performance up front, the Rangers benefited from two favorable calls after two previous goals by the Bruins were waived off. One of which came from a good catch by the Rangers coaching staff, after they realized Brad Marchand was offsides prior to the goal being scored. Nonetheless, that shouldn't take anything away from the Rangers, because they were extremely dominant up front tonight and made the most of their opportunities.
The Rangers first tally came just 8:37 into the first period as Keith Yandle sent a beautiful cross-ice pass over to Mats Zuccarello off to the side of the net. Zuccarello had plenty of time to pick his spot and ripped a quick shot over Tuukka's Rask's shoulder to make it a 1-0 game. After registering a goal on their second power play, the Rangers made it two in a row with Derek Stepan's 17th goal of the season.
Once again, it was Keith Yandle creating the entire play by breaking through the middle, and creating a mini 2-on-1 with Stepan. Yandle was able to get Rask to commit to his fake shot, and he quickly fed it over to Stepan for the easy tap in. The Rangers second consecutive power play goal gave them a commanding 2-0 lead heading into the second period, and they carried over that positive momentum.
The Bruins wound up making a goaltending switch prior to coming out for the second period, and Jonas Gustavsson came in to relieve Tuukka Rask for the evening. As a result, the Rangers eventually made it a 3-0 game just 5:26 into the second period after Derick Brassard absolutely bombed a slap shot over Gustavsson's shoulder. We have talked about Brassard having a very underrated slap shot for quite some time now, and his goal tonight was a perfect example of what we meant.
Not only is his slap shot incredibly heavy, it is also extremely accurate and he can pick corners at will when he has enough space to wind up. A few minutes after Brassard's tally, Lee Stempniak pulled the Bruins back within a pair of goals and made it a 3-1 game. The goal came as a result of Ryan McDonagh's awful turnover at the blue line, and resulted in a 2-on-0 back the other way.
Henrik Lundqvist didn't stand much of a chance once Brad Marchand sent the pass across the crease, and Stempniak finally had his first goal of the night. Heading into the third period, the Rangers needed a big response to break the late pressure put on by the Bruins. Sure enough, J.T. Miller was able to come away with his 20th goal of the season after catching a nifty little cross-ice feed from Derek Stepan.
About six minutes later, the Bruins were able to pull within two goals once again as Frank Vatrano wired a slap shot from just inside the slot. The Rangers left him all alone in front, and suddenly the Bruins pushed the Rangers back on their heels. Thankfully, with about two minutes remaining, Rick Nash was able to seal the game and finished it off with some great hustle to get the empty netter.
That win gives the Rangers their second consecutive win, two of which came against teams in the playoffs. They will now have two days off before heading into the Bell Centre for a meeting with the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday evening.