Rangers pepper Bruins net in Nash's return but lose, 2-1
Rick Nash's long-awaited return added some jump to the offense, but the Rangers couldn't score more than one goal again, and lost to the Boston Bruins, 2-1, Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers, who have scored four goals in the last four games, fired 44 shots on Tuukka Rask, who was beaten only by Derick Brassard's power-play goal in the second.
Favorable bounces? Not Tuesday night.
After missing 17 games with a concussion, Nash was immediately put on the left side of the top line, with center Brad Richards and Ryan Callahan and played 17:55, had five shots on Rask, another three attempts blocked, and missed the net on three others.
"I'm just disappointed, couldn't finish," Nash said after his fourth game of the season. "The chances were definitely there. I was a bit slow on making plays, a couple passes, had my head down. Just [getting used to] the speed, the first period was tough.
"After missing six weeks, a few times I had Richie back door, Cally going in, just little things like that that will take a couple games to get back."
At 6:16 of the first period, with seven seconds left on a Rangers power play, Chris Kreider was dragged down on a partial breakaway by defenseman Johnny Boychuk and Kreider, who was thwarted three other times by Rask, was awarded a penalty shot. Kreider fired a hard wrist shot, but Rask got a piece of it from the right side with his blocker.
Nash's best early chance came with 2:24 left in the first, when he raced down to the lower left circle and fired, only to be denied by Rask, who made 16 saves in the period.
In the second, after a poor pass from Mats Zuccarello, defenseman Justin Falk was caught up ice for a two-on-one and Shawn Thornton roofed a shot from the right circle at 4:58 for the game's first goal.
The Rangers fell behind 2-0 when, with David Krejci in the penalty box for goalie interference, Daniel Paille got to Ryan McDonagh's pass that Callahan didn't handle at the Rangers' blue line, sped to the net and backhanded the puck under Henrik Lundqvist at 11:30.
"We can't be giving up goals on the power play," Nash said. "And we've got to be better at getting traffic and burying our chances."
Brassard's first point in six games put the Rangers on the scoreboard, his goal coming 1:01 after the Bruins' second tally. Brassard scored with two seconds left on a power play to snap the Bruins' penalty-kill streak at 33.
But the Rangers couldn't catch a break after that. At 9:50 of the third, for example, Anton Stralman's slapper from the right point rang the far post, and a second attempt trickled past the half-open net.
"I couldn't really shoot it any better than I did,'' Stralman said. "I didn't have a lot of room, or a lot of time. It's just not going in for me, and the second one hit something."
Said Lundqvist: "I think we have to accept that a lot of games are going to be low-scoring, two or three goals are going to make it, that's going to be the difference.
"I just have to cut down one goal . . . It's a mixed feeling, the way you played as a group, but in the end, it's about winning."