BOSTON---Give the undermanned Rangers some credit. They left New York on Wednesday for their first road trip of the season and returned late last night with a hard-earned four points.
Having beaten Toronto 2-1 on Thursday, the Rangers edged the Bruins 3-2 at TD Center last night, and are now 3-1 away from the Garden, where they will host the Devils tonight.
With goals from Artem Anisimov, Alex Frolov and Marc Staal, the Rangers (3-2-1) dealt the Bruins just their second loss in six games. But the No. 1 star of the game was Henrik Lundqvist, who rested as Martin Biron faced the Leafs and was his sharpest so far this year, turning away 35 of 37 shots.
Lundqvist made a critical stop, stretching his right pad at the goal line on Jordan Caron on a 2 on 1 break with Blake Wheeler with 13:42 left in the third period and the Rangers hanging on to the 3-2 lead. "He makes a great save there," said coach John Tortorella, "I thought we played well in front of him, although there were some chances on the power play, but that's where Hank comes up big for us, in the third period."
The goalie seemed refreshed by the save and his 60-minute effort. "I knew my pad was right at the post," said Lundqvist. "I felt like it was a clean save...It was a game where you really have to work to see pucks. But I did what i was supposed to do. that's what I'm trying to cut down on the technical mistakes."
The mistakes the Rangers made, said Tortorella, were in taking far too many penalties (10) and providing the Bruins with six power plays, including two 5 on 3s. "We've got some good things going on in the room, how we handle ourselves, as far as protecting one another, but we have to maintain discipline," Tortorella said.
The Blueshirts had taken a 3-1 lead at the 48-second mark of the second period when Staal darted out of the penalty box, scooped up a pass from Ryan Callahan and beat Tuukka Rask on a breakaway backhander. Callahan’s point was the 100th of his career.
After that, the Bruins dominated the second period, outshooting the Rangers 16-9 and Nathan Horton trimmed the lead to one, finishing a blind, between-the-legs pass from David Krejci in the corner at 12:27. When Derek Boogaard was whistled at 13:46 for boarding Mark Stuart, the Bruins had their sixth power play, but came up empty.
It was a punishing first 40 minutes. Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk left the game with a wrist injury from a Brandon Dubinsky slash in the first and a high stick that caught Brandon Prust in the face by Gregory Campbell triggered a double-minor that carried over into the third. The Rangers were 1 for 4 on the power plat at that point, Rask scrambled to smother the puck several times.
In his first game since the Rangers lost 3-1 to the Avalanche on Monday, Lundqvist had the edge. Rask had been idle far longer. He hadn’t played in two weeks, since the Bruins lost 5-2 against Phoenix in Prague on Oct. 9.
It was the first night matchup for the Rangers here since the 2004-05 lockout (all were afternoon games) and it was fight night in the first, with Sean Avery and Stuart, Derek Boogaard and Shawn Thornton and Prust and Milan Lucic dropping the gloves.
Between the scraps, the Rangers were ahead 2-0 on goals by Anisimov and Frolov. The Rangers hadn’t scored in their last 14 power play opportunities when Anisimov swatted in a high rebound that stood after a review. Frolov’s second of the season erupted from a scrum, as the puck bounced high and off the glove of Stuart and past Rask just 27 seconds later at 12:01.
But the second Bruins 5-on-3 of the period came was at 18:39 when Staal was called for a very questionable slash---his stick hit Tyler Seguin’s stick when the rookie had just one hand on the wood. An unwise hold by Michal Rozsival in his zone triggered the 5-on-4 just five seconds earlier. As valiantly as Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, Dan Girardi and Lundqvist battled, Chara found the top corner with five seconds to play. "Staal made a good move to score the (breakaway) goal but a stupid move before that," Tortorella said.