Rangers lose opener to Bruins, 3-1
BOSTON -- One down, 47 to go.
After the Rangers' sloppy 3-1 loss to the Bruins Saturday night, coach John Tortorella couldn't wait for Game 2 against the Penguins Sunday night at Madison Square Garden. "I believe a lot of our guys will play better," he said.
Except for Henrik Lundqvist -- who made 31 saves, including a diving glove stop on David Krejci on the doorstep in the third that kept the score at 2-1 -- "the group, collectively" was the culprit, Tortorella said.
In same ways, the game resembled losses at the beginning of last season before the Rangers turned the ship around, finished atop the Eastern Conference and finally were eliminated in the conference finals.
Lundqvist, the Vezina Trophy winner, gave the Rangers a chance while nine penalties -- Carl Hagelin was whistled for interference at the 19-second mark and Brian Boyle plowed into goaltender Tuukka Rask, then chirped about it, drawing four minutes at 9:05 -- kept the Rangers on their heels. Their power play didn't help, going 0-for-5, and they failed to score on a five-on-three for 1:30 in the third period while trailing 2-1.
"We knew exactly what they were going to do," said Rick Nash, who recorded an assist on Brad Richards' long, high wrister at 12:50 of the second for his first point as a Ranger, "and we couldn't execute, and that was a huge turning point."
Tortorella said the Rangers simply "didn't move the puck well. We were one-sided. I don't think Nash touched it. We didn't make the right plays."
Credit the Bruins, who posted All-Star defenseman Zdeno Chara in front of Nash most of the night and limited him to two shots in 21:41.
But Tortorella also was furious about the penalties.
"Haggie takes a stupid penalty; he takes another one later in the game," Tortorella said. "Brian takes a yapping penalty -- and it's a penalty, with the goalie, so he should just shut his ---- mouth. It's a game of momentum, and they got it."
Some of the numbers were troubling: Marc Staal was on ice for all three Bruins goals, the Rangers won only 40 percent of the faceoffs, and they were outshot 34-21.
Rust was an issue, according to Nash: "We didn't come out the way we wanted to."
Lundqvist stopped 17 of the first 18 shots, beaten only by Milan Lucic's rebound of Krejci's blast from the slot at 14:14 of the first period.
The Bruins took a two-goal lead at 8:20 of the second period. Gregory Campbell's slap shot from the right side on a rush was tipped by Daniel Paille in front, and the deflected puck hit the right post and Lundqvist's back, then trickled behind him across the line.
"It was tough early. I felt better as the game went on," said Lundqvist, who said that on his subsequent highlight-reel save, he saw Krejci on his left but could not get his body over in time and had to make a stab with his glove. The call on the ice was no goal, and there wasn't enough evidence on the review to overturn it.
Said Lundqvist, "Just to be out there playing helps me to see what I need to work on."
Defenseman Johnny Boychuk extended the Bruins' lead to 3-1 at 8:13 of the third on a shot that may have deflected off Richards near the crease.
"We kind of looked like a midseason form team out there," said Rask, who was one of about a dozen Bruins who played in Europe or the KHL during the lockout. That's not the case for the Rangers, who need to make some corrections as soon as possible.