For a rivalry nearly as old as the sport itself, the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins reached back into hockey antiquity tonight for a gritty, hard-nosed, and old-fashioned game, as the Rangers hung on to defeat the Bruins by the score of 3-2.
The game would get off to a hot start, when Mark Stuart delivered a hard check on Ruslan Fedotenko just over four minutes in. Sean Avery rushed right over and fought Stuart but was given an extra two minutes and a ten minute misconduct for instigating. Nonetheless, this was what the Rangers needed—they needed some team toughness, even at the risk of putting the team shorthanded. The Rangers would kill the penalty, and nine minutes in, would score their first goal, on the powerplay, when Artem Anismov batted the puck out of mid-air and past Tuuka Rask. Assists would go to Dubinsky and Rozsival on the play.
Less than thirty seconds later, the Rangers would add another goal, when the puck took a weird carom off of Alex Frolov’s skate, and bounced over Rask’s glove. Michael Sauer would register his first NHL point on the goal, with an assist, and Erik Christensen would get one as well.
The first period fisticuffs would not be over, though, as Derek Boogaard and Scott Thornton would scrap. Boogaard would never get settled in the fight, and Thornton would get a marginal victory. This is now two fights in two games for “The Boogie Man” after not fighting all during preseason and the first four games.
Unfortunately, the Rangers could not end the period well, when Zdeno Chara blasted a slapshot over the shoulder of Lundqvist on the powerplay with four seconds remaining.
On to the second period, Marc Staal would give the Rangers the dreaded three-goal lead on a breakaway shortly after killing a penalty. Ryan Callahan would get the play’s only assist. The Bruins would counter with eight minutes remaining in the middle frame to get the score to 3-2, but that is how it would end.
Through six games this season, Michal Rozsival looks like the team’s best defenseman, as much as fans will hate to admit it. Dan Girardi has also been very steady, even though I am not crazy about him or his contract. The worst two defenseman on team have been Staal and Del Zotto.
There is also still no word on the status of Brandon Prust, who was high-sticked in the face at the end of the second period. It appears that he was holding near his eye, and he did not return after heading to the locker room. We can only hope that it is not serious.
All in all, the Rangers played another solid team game tonight, even though it was more wide open than the game against Toronto. It was not pretty, but until Gaborik returns from injury, they will have to try to win games any way they can.