Alexandar Georgiev got back in the goal for the first time since Jan. 30 and the end result was the same as his last game – an overtime loss to a team wearing black and gold.
The Rangers lost, 3-2, this time and the opponent was the East-leading Boston Bruins, who got the game-winner on a breakaway goal by Brad Marchand at 36 seconds of the five-minute, 3-on-3 extra period.
Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy, the Long Beach native, set up the goal after he broke up a Rangers’ two-on-one. He intercepted a pass from Pavel Buchnevich and fired a strike to Marchand, springing him for the breakaway.
"It was a two on one, and Buch just tried to pass it across, it got knocked down, and you know, good play by [McAvoy] there,’’ Rangers defenseman Adam Fox said. "They score on a breakaway. But we had an opportunity, we tried to score, and it just didn’t work out.’’
The Rangers were hampered in the game by an injury to their leading scorer, Artemi Panarin. Panarin left the game early in the third period with a lower-body injury, according to coach David Quinn. The Russian forward stayed on the bench and did take a shift on a power play the Rangers got with 6:58 remaining in regulation. Quinn did not have a report on how serious the injury is to Panarin, and whether he will miss any time.
Hopefully for Georgiev, who was celebrating his 25th birthday, the night wouldn’t end the way it ended the last time he played. In that one, following a 5-4 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Jan. 30, Georgiev reportedly got into an altercation with teammate Tony DeAngelo in the locker room. That ultimately led to DeAngelo being waived.
But in this one, Georgiev, who has struggled in the early going this season, played well enough that he was a big part of the reason the game got to overtime, according to Rangers coach David Quinn.
"I thought he was really good laterally, reading plays, square to the puck,’’ Quinn said of Georgiev, who made 29 saves. "The second period, we were fortunate to get out of there 1-1 in the second. [Georgiev] was huge on the penalty kill there in the second period. They had some Grade A ‘bell-ringers’ that he made some great side-to-side saves on.’’
The Rangers opened the scoring when fourth-line right wing Julien Gauthier drove the net and chipped in a pass from behind the goal line from Brendan Lemieux for his first NHL goal at 13:50 of the first period.
The Bruins tied it at 9:41 of the second period on a shorthanded goal by Chris Wagner, and the Boston took the lead at 9:00 of the third period, when Anders Bjork capitalized on a defensive breakdown by the Rangers and scored from the low slot without a defender near him.
The Rangers tied it, though, on Kevin Rooney’s disputed goal at 11:22. Defenseman Ryan Lindgren fired a rising shot from the left point and Lemieux, battling in front, raised his stick high to deflect the puck down, behind Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask (33 saves). Rooney, standing behind the pile of bodies, knocked the loose puck over the goal line.
It was ruled a goal, but Rask complained to the referees that Lemieux had deflected the puck with a high stick. The play was reviewed on video before being allowed to stand.
It was the second favorable video review call the Rangers got in the game. Earlier in the period, a shot by Jake DeBrusk had gotten behind Georgiev, hit the crossbar, then the post, then bounced out. Review determined the entire puck had apparently not crossed the entire goal line, and thus there was no goal.