Though the Rangers would out shoot the Bruins tonight, it would not be enough as Tuukka Rask stole the show all game long, including overtime. Meanwhile on the other end, a couple goals Alex Georgiev would definitely want back were the difference, as he was beaten twice on two separate breakaways. So this is what league average goaltending is huh? Just frustrating as the losses just seem to be piling up in a season where you just cannot accrue this many losses. It will sink the season. But let’s dive a little deeper here and break this one down shall we?
I saw a comment on here before that asked for some more analytics on my posts. To be completely honest, I’m the dumbest human alive and still do not fully understand them. I value their presence in pro sports across North America, but I’m still learning about them.
The Rangers and Bruins alike came out and played about 6 minutes of nonstop hockey back and forth. The shot totals were low as teams were just kind of feeling each other out with breakouts, dumping the puck in, and getting changes. It was good for getting a look at Mika Zibanejad who had what I would say was his most normal looking game this season. At the time of this post, he is shooting 2.6%. We all know that is not going to be the case all season. Tonight is a hope for things to come sooner than later, as he got more confident with each period. He finished with 4 shots this game.
There was one play in particular though where he drove me insane. It was a feed from Adam Fox from the half wall to Zibanejad–who was wide open–and instead of ripping it on net from the slot, he passed it to Pavel Buchnevich. While Buchnevich got a good scoring chance at the side of the net, you want to see Zibanejad wind up and blast a piss missile past the goalie from that area.
Later we would get our first goal of the game. A great feed from Brendan Lemieux from behind the net right to Julien Gauthier crashing the net and roofing his first NHL goal. At long last he got it. There’d be a few more chances after that for both teams this period, but all in all, nothing extremely dangerous.
The 2nd period would find the Rangers getting a power play. After a long shift the puck would come to Artemi Panarin at the point and get poked by Chris Wagner. Wagner beat Panarin in a foot race to the puck and would score a short handed breakaway goal against. This was one of the goals that I thought Georgiev should have stopped. When you watch the goal, he goes down too early and Wagner does a little fake and snaps it off the far post and in.
We were blessed with the greatness that was Henrik Lundqvist for so long in this organization. It’s really come back to bite us that breakaways just don’t seem to be stopped like they used to. This is going to be an adjustment going forward. It’s not one that I think a lot of people–myself included honestly–are going to be patient with. At the end of the day, the goaltender just has to make the save and Georgiev would end up getting beat twice on breakaways. He will hopefully learn and develop even further.
With the game tied, we would go to the third where a minor story would develop. Artemi Panarin appeared to reach for a puck in the second period and injure himself. He did not skate for most of the 3rd period, only logging a total of 3 shifts for 2:34 of ice time. It looked like he was dealing with a lower body injury.
With that, David Quinn had to get creative and promote Phil DiGuiseppe to his line? Don’t get that one. But at the 9 minute mark of the period, Anders Bjork would beat Jacob Trouba out of a puck battle, bring the puck out to the net mouth, and stuff it in through Georgiev’s five-hole. Just a messy goal all around.
Trouba can be a bit of a polarizing defender on social media, but I don’t think he’s as bad as his critics make him out to be. He’s also not as good as those who give him praise think he is either. He’s just a solid defender through and through who was on the receiving end of a bad play. This did put the Rangers in a hole, as this was the third period and now the Rangers had to scratch and claw against a goalie who was just standing on his head through a two periods.
However a little after the 11 minute marker, Ryan Lindgren would float a wrister from the point, deflecting off Lemieux, off Rask, sit in the air, and Kevin Rooney would tap it in. Who had Kevin Rooney at 12 games into the season having more goals than Alexis Lafrenière and Mika Zibanejad combined? What a great bit of bargaining by Gorton for a bottom six player.
With the score tied, the Rangers woke up and really started to try and pressure and hem the Bruins in their zone. They did just that outshooting the Bruins 15-6 in the third with some just ridiculous chances by Zibanejad in particular. With about a minute to go, Tuuka Rask thought the Bruins were down 2-1 and started going to the bench and you could hear the players and coaches yelling at him to get back to the crease. The Bruins possessed the puck at this time, but oh my could you imagine if the Rangers had scored there, and sent the Bruins home without overtime? Just don’t give it to Ryan Strome with an open net!
To another Rangers / Bruins overtime we go and it was a quick one. Fox made an unbelievable diving block to save a goal and then was able to get up ice with Buchnevich for a two-on-one. Buchnevich decided to try and pass it over instead of shooting. Charlie McAvoy broke up the play, banked the puck off the glass and sprung Brad Marchand all alone on a breakaway.
Marchand deked Georgiev out for the game winner 36 seconds into overtime. This was the second goal that I felt Georgiev, with all that time, should have been able to stop. Part of the breakaway also fell on Zibanejad as he completely lost Marchand cheating up the ice during McAvoy’s breakup of the 2-on-1. There was no hope of him getting back to back check at the end of a long shift. The Rangers get the Bruins again on Friday, and hopefully without another overtime. Let’s hope Panarin’s injury isn’t serious, and hopefully the Rangers chances convert into some goals.
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