The Rangers gave away two points today. The Rangers self destructed in their own zone with countless turnovers, poor coverage and the third line aside, the first period can best be described as sloppy. While Henrik Lundqvist looked rusty to begin, the turnovers and general play in front of him left a lot to be desired all game long. Let’s get to the goal breakdowns. Dave’s at a wedding today so you’ll have to excuse me for the less detailed breakdown.
Bruins 1-0 Rangers
The first Bruins goal was a mix of atrocious NHL officiating and rotten luck on the Rangers part, and of course, some bad coverage. After a scramble in front of Lundqvist, from the right hand side Bruins center Patrice Bergeron simply threw the puck on net from a sharp angle and Lundqvist gave up a juicy rebound, pushing the puck out into the slot.
A streaking Milan Lucic, completely alone, appeared to change the angle of his foot to push the puck toward the goal. Was it a kicking motion? Before the puck got to the goal it took a wicked hop, up over Lundqvist and in to the net. Ryan McDonagh was caught watching the puck, as was Chris Kreider, and neither knew where Lucic was. That said, the goal should never have counted. The decision on the ice was no-goal but inexplicably overturned by Toronto.
Bruins 2-0 Rangers
The second Bruins goal was a result of the Rangers being caught up ice, as well as another slice of bad luck. The Bruins pushed forward quickly as Torey Krug entered the Rangers zone through the middle and as the Rangers closed in on him, Keith Yandle inadvertently pushed the puck to the right hand side where a grateful (and again, oh so lonely) Lucic gathered the puck, skated in and fired through Lundqvist for a two nil lead.
Again, while the unintentional assist by Yandle can’t be helped, Lucic should never be so free to shoot. Dan Boyle was caught out of position leaving Lucic free and Kevin Hayes and Carl Hagelin appeared to be coasting back. Not good defensive play all round by the Rangers.
Bruins 3-0 Rangers
The Bruins third goal was courtesy of yet another Rangers’ turnover in their own zone. Alongside the left hand boards near his own blueline, Matt Hunwick tried to pass across the zone to Mats Zuccarello but Bruins forward Carl Soderberg closed quickly, pressured Hunwick into coughing up the puck and Soderberg was off to the races, in on Lundqvist.
Mats Zuccarello tries to chase down Soderberg but the Swede went backhand to forehand before putting it over Lundqvist right side; it was a smart finish by Soderberg. At this point Lundqvist had conceded three goals without doing too much wrong as the Rangers gifted the first period (and the game) to the Bruins.
Bruins 4-0 Rangers
All too easy… Picking up the puck around center ice, Bruins defenseman Torey Krug skated into the Rangers zone down the left hand side before putting the puck back into the slot where Soderberg was able to neatly push the puck forward to an open Loui Eriksson who forced Lundqvist into a low save, but pushing the puck out in front of the goal. A streaking Reilly Smith arrived all alone in the slot to chip home the rebound as Lundqvist was stretched out on the ice.
Matt Hunwick, who despite scoring a goal had a horrible game, had a partial chance to clear the puck but failed to do so, fanning on his attempt. Four Rangers were around the net as Smith arrived late to score. JT Miller was caught up ice while Derick Brassard, perhaps critically, had fallen near his own blueline just before Smith skated into the slot to score. No Ranger covered themselves in glory on this one.
Bruins 4 – Rangers 1
Most good things the Rangers do offensively seems to come off the rush. Rick Nash managed to break his cold streak and get goal number 40 off a lovely passing play as the Rangers went from their own zone to the Bruins end very quickly. Good back checking and an active stick from Chris Kreider broke up a Bruins attack at the Rangers blueline.
Picking up the puck was Derek Stepan who sent Kreider racing free, up the left. Kreider then slid the puck across the slot to a hard skating Nash who had glided past Zdeno Chara to get to the net first. All Nash had to do was slide the puck past the Bruins backup goalie Niklas Svedberg who had dived to try and reach the puck. The determination Nash showed to get to the Kreider feed and to the net, was the kind of play that’s been missing from his game in recent weeks.
Bruins 4 – Rangers 2
The Rangers got a second goal with under a minute left in the game. With Tanner Glass creating some traffic in front, JT Miller had his initial shot from the slot blocked. Miller got the puck back and fed Matt Hunwick whose shot may have been deflected but beat Svedberg. There were a lot of bodies in front of the Bruins net. On the rare occasions that the Rangers got traffic in front of the Bruins goalies they generated some solid chances but it didn’t happen enough in this game.
Overall, simply not good enough
The Rangers played an incredibly sloppy first period which basically cost them the game. They improved marginally as the game went on but the damage was already done. Lundqvist was increasingly solid in net, but received little help. His rebound control was not good but generally he made the saves he had to make. The Bruins had a lot of quality chances in the first two periods so the score line could have been worse. On to Sunday’s match up with the Caps.