Defenseman Dan Boyle, who broke his right hand when struck by a shot in the Oct. 9 opener, is willing to play in some pain and could return either against the Avalanche on Thursday or against the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Saturday.
"It's got to get a little bit stronger," Boyle, 38, said Tuesday. "It's not where I want it to be . . . I'm going to have to [play through] for a little while. It's pretty hard to be pain-free in this league."
Boyle, who signed a two-year, $9-million contract in July, was expected to be the regular power-play quarterback and a second-pair defenseman.
Tanner Glass had not scored all season, but he saved a goal with a strong backcheck and a quick swipe that may have changed the tenor of the game. About eight minutes in, Glass reached behind Henrik Lundqvist to knock away a loose puck that had trickled through the goalie’s pads just before it crossed the line.
The Rangers then took a 1-0 lead at 8:23 as Derek Stepan won a draw against Marcel Goc and found Mats Zuccarello, whose shot eluded Marc-Andre Fleury. It was Zuccarello’s 100th career point.
An apparent poke in goal by rookie Kevin Hayes at 9:15 of the second period during a scrum was waved off, and the official’s call on the ice stood.
Lee Stempniak dove into the crease, and with Fleury battling and losing his stick, Hayes shoved the puck under him and across the line. The NHL pointed to Rule 78.5: “Apparent goals shall be disallowed by the referee when an attacking player has interfered with a goalkeeper in his goal crease. This is not a reviewable play, therefore the referee’s call on the ice stands.”
Was the rare, three-goal first-period lead safe? Lundqvist didn’t think so. “Against this team, I still didn’t feel safe after 4-0, to be honest with you,” he said. They can turn things around fast, especially if they get their power play out there . . . You’re never safe. You saw what happened for us against Minnesota [scoring five in the third period to win 5-4].”
Last season, the Rangers were 6-8 to start the season and beat the Penguins, 5-1, at the Garden . . . The five goals tied a season high for the Rangers . . . The shutout was the 53rd of Lundqvist’s career . . . Stepan’s second assist was the 200th point of his career.
With Jesper Fast, who played the first three games of the season before being reassigned, just recalled from Hartford, rookie Anthony Duclair, 19, was a healthy scratch. “He’s a very young player,” Vigneault said. “I get it, he has to play, but he’s not playing tonight, tomorrow’s another day.” Duclair has a goal and five assists in 12 games. Ryan Malone, a healthy scratch in five of the last seven games, was sent to Hartford to get ice time. “We feel he needs to play,” Vigneault said.
Kaberle still around
Free agent Tomas Kaberle, who was invited for a tryout, skated again with the team. The 36-year-old defenseman played in the Czech Republic last year and hopes to receive an offer from the Rangers. But he reportedly has an offer from a Swedish Elite League team.