The Rangers failed to get a single puck past Peter Budaj tonight, as the Montreal Canadiens spoiled New York’s home opener by shutting them out 2-0. The Rangers weren’t really able to get anything consistent going on offensive, at even strength or on the powerplay. The Habs have a history of giving the Rangers fits, and their aggressive style in the DZ and 1-2-2 in the NZ and forecheck again stifled the Blueshirts.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the officiating tonight. Yes, it appeared that the Habs got all the calls (Boyle penalty, Kreider penalty, Galchenyuk kick, etc), but in reality the officiating was just bad on both sides. The phantom call on Andrei Markov in the third period was one call that really stuck out in my head, but I’m sure I missed a few. That is a consistent problem across the NHL. The refs simply cannot keep up with the pace of the game.
On to the goals:
Habs 1, Rangers 0
After a very weak roughing call on Brian Boyle put the Rangers shorthanded for the fourth time in the game, the Habs put together a beautiful passing play on the rush for the goal. There wasn’t really anything the Rangers could do better on this one. It looked like a set play that happened to work perfectly, as each time a Ranger challenged the man with the puck, there was another Canadien there to receive a short pass and continue the rush. Eventually Tomas Plekanec got the puck on a semi-breakaway and deked around Henrik Lundqvist for the first goal of the game.
You can make the argument that Marc Staal went for the big hit instead of reading the pass to Plekanec, and it’s a solid argument. But I don’t put much blame on him there.
Habs 2, Rangers 0
This goal started because John Moore got caught deep, which led to a 3-on-1 the other way. Girardi did his “stick on the ice to block the pass” thing that never works, and it didn’t this time, as Alex Galchenyuk was able to get the puck to Lars Eller, who got it back to Galchenyuk for the goal. Galchenyuk appeared to kick the puck in, but Toronto ruled that he just turned his skate. Consistency, ladies and gentlemen.
Sorry for no picture on this one, but if you find a .gif of the Galchenyuk goal, post it in the comments.
You all know my feelings on blaming refs. If you put yourself in a position to allow the refs to decide the outcome of the game, then you don’t deserve to win. The bottom line is that they did not score a goal against Budaj, a backup goalie. They have the Islanders tomorrow, and need to really start getting some pucks in the net on a consistent basis.