Two injured leaders, too many undisciplined penalties, and too many shots on goal fueled the Rangers’ 4-3 OT loss in their Madison Square Garden debut. And like their 6-4 loss against the Islanders, it was another roller coaster ride of ups and downs.
After a strong start in the first period and 1-0 lead thanks to Michal Rosival, the Rangers fell apart.
The Maple Leafs were in the driver’s seat the second period. The Rangers only got three shots on goal while the Leafs notched three goals and fired 30 shots on goal after two periods. They owned the prime real estate down low in the slot and rushed the ice often to expose a chink in the Rangers’ defensive chain. Luckily for them, Lundqvist kept them in it.
Throw in a banged up Gaborik and Drury, 2/3 of the first line, and you have yourself a bonafide loss. But the Rangers didn’t stick to the script and clawed their way back, showing the fight of their preseason comeback wins.
Fourth liner Brian Boyle helped the bruised Blueshirts rally back to tie it up with two goals. Who would have thought a pin head penalty by Sean Avery would get the momentum officially swinging? His slash fest to the ankle and thigh of Mike Komisarek behind the play didn’t go unnoticed and had him in the box to give the Leafs a 5-on-3 advantage.
The Rangers’ penalty unit stifled the Leafs and they couldn’t convert. Avery roared out of the box, attacked the puck, threw it on net, found it again, and slipped it to Boyle ready in the slot with a slick pass to make the score 3-3. Avery had two assists in the game.
Marc Staal’s interference penalty in OT did the Rangers in as the Leafs scored the game winner on the powerplay. They were certainly due. The Rangers took eight minor penalties. That’s sixteen minutes of key players like Girardi, Del Zotto, Avery and Drury sitting in the dog house in a tight game.
On the plus side, the Rangers came away with a point and made a point: they can fight back.
Hot seat for tonight:
Sean Avery leads the team with four assists, but his untimely roughing penalty on Colby Armstrong (who didn’t drop the gloves) and blatant double slash to Komisarek’s legs after the whistle, could prove costly (fine or suspension). Not a good move when you’re down 3-2. “Big Brother” is always watching. No hidden cameras here. He sure knew how to bounce back into action though.
Marc Staal was in the penalty box at a critical time that led to the opposing team’s winning goal again. Against the Islanders, he took a high sticking call late in the game that gave the Isles a two man advantage…and handed them two goals. Twice in a row is not a good trend.
Chris Drury either needs more calcium or a Luke Skywalker type robot hand to stop his broken finger woes. His rush to get back in action (probably due to Christensen’s untimely injury and a false sense of healing) could have hurt the team in the long run. He’s going to be out another six weeks after suffering a different break in the same finger. Blocking a shot in training camp which led to the first finger break (this season anyway) may not have been the best idea for a top center man and penalty killer, not to mention captain.
Rookie Michael Sauer was a healthy scratch as Matt Gilroy made his debut alongside Eminger on the third defensive unit.
About the Author
Written by Margaret DeJesus
I'm a recent college graduate looking for a dream job covering hockey. I've been watching the New York Rangers since my grade school days of VHS and Gordon Bombay's "ducks fly together" speech. While studying journalism at Boston University (COM '10), I wrote for the Daily Free Press, the student newspaper. I worked two summers at the Staten Island Advance, my hometown newspaper, writing city news and features. I've also written CD reviews for Music-Reviewer.com. One of my favorite gigs was interning for hockey analyst extraordinaire Stan Fischler covering the Boston Bruins and attending all their home games in the 2009-2010 season. (Yes, including the crushing defeat against the Flyers in the Eastern Conference playoffs.)