No, it certainly wasn’t what we’ve come to know as quintessential New York Rangers hockey on the TD Garden ice Saturday night. We did see quintessential Boston Bruins hockey by a squad virtually the same as last season’s, and the combination was enough to send the Blueshirts home with a 3-1 defeat.
A few musings:
As it was at the beginning of last season, discipline was an issue. Carl Hagelin took an interference call 19 seconds in; Brian Boyle took a goalie interference call and after complaining, received another 2 minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct for doing so. They were not alone in taking penalties, but . The newly formed penalty kill units did their job, but the constant need to defend didn’t do them any favors on trying to gain control and momentum.
Speaking of momentum, the Rangers looked like they’d found some after Brad Richards scored at 12:50 of the second to bring them within one. The two fights that ensued in the minute following the goal – Mike Rupp vs. Shawn Thornton immediately followed by Stu Bickel vs. Gregory Campbell – sucked the life out of what they’d gotten going. There’s a time and a place to fight. For Thornton, it made all the sense in the world to engage Rupp. As for Bickel and Campbell, I’m trying to figure it out. (If I were a betting woman, Steve Eminger gets put in over Bickel against the Pittsburgh Penguins.)
The Rangers power(less) play reared its ugly head again. Most egregious was a 5-on-3 opportunity with Milan Lucic and Zdeno Chara both in the box. I’m sorry, but Richards has to bury the puck in that situation.
Henrik Lundqvist did not look at the top of his game, but played well enough to give the Rangers a chance in this one. They got a huge break on that glove save on David Krejci that was reviewed (if gloves were see-through so the puck were visible, the video review turns out differently).
Rick Nash was held to only two shots, but flashed some moves that showed why the Rangers wanted him so much. He tallied his first point as a Ranger, assisting on the Richards’ goal. Most refreshing though was seeing him battle for position in front of Tuukka Rask.
Even in a shortened season, one game is way too early to act as though the sky is falling. John Tortorella, not surprisingly, refused to use the short, unconventional training camp as an excuse. The Rangers will need to find their intensity, discipline and cohesion fast if they’re to live up to the expectations so many have for them this year. The good news is they get right back at it tonight at Madison Square Garden.
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About the Author: Likes: Hockey, the New York Rangers, King Henrik, singing the Rangers goal song, "The Save", the sound skates make against ice, heckling Marty Brodeur. Dislikes: 3-point games, front-office mismanagement, Denis Potvin, overpriced arena beer. Interested? Follow me on Twitter: @CC_927