Rangers scratch out first win of season in OT
It wasn’t a 60-minute masterpiece, but it was a start.
The Rangers will not be awarded any beauty points after their nationally televised 4-3 win over the Bruins Wednesday night at the Garden.
The reason the Rangers head to Philadelphia today with two points is that the reigning Eastern Conference regular season champions began to get back to the style of hockey that made them so successful in 2011-12. The Rangers outhit Boston, 28-20, and blocked 16 more shots than the Bruins (25-9).
“We came out strong,” Mike Rupp said. “We controlled pucks. That’s the way we play: Blocking shots, spending time in their end.”
Marian Gaborik’s breakaway goal 27 seconds into overtime was the game-winner and completed his first hat trick of the season. He had potted his first and second goals of the season in a 2:13 span of the first period. Taylor Pyatt’s goal 13:10 into the second period was his second in as many games.
It also snapped a 2-2 tie. Brad Marchand (1:05) and Milan Lucic (12:24) scored 11:19 apart in the second which saw Boston control play for large portions of the period in a fashion that was reminiscent of Sunday’s 6-3 home opener loss to the Penguins.
“We’re still a pretty sloppy hockey team,” head coach John Tortorella said. “I think it’s going to be that way for a bit. It’s like a defense in football: You bend but you don’t break. A couple times there it looked like we were going to break. We carried ourselves well there and got the momentum back. That’s important for us, just to lean on a little bit.
“We find a way to win a hockey game. Is everything running on all cylinders? No, we have a lot of things we need to do. So we continue to work at it. But it’s nice to stop the bleeding.”
Prior to last night’s match, head coach John Tortorella said the Rangers “stopped playing” and “simply did not have any resiliency at all” after Tyler Kennedy scored the game-winning goal with 4:55 left in the first period Sunday night.
There was push back last night in the form of Pyatt’s goal. Pyatt, who replaced an ineffective Chris Kreider on the second line, shoveled a rebound of a Derek Stepan shot under Tuukka Rask (29 saves on 33 shots).
Afterward, Tortorella said “it shouldn’t be a shock” if organizational decision makers determine the best course of action for Kreider is if he is sent to AHL Connecticut for development purposes.
“Pyatt’s goal was a big goal,” Brad Richards said. “It got us into the third with a goal lead. Things happen. They keep pushing and we responded again in overtime with a great play by Gabby.”
But the Rangers couldn’t extend the lead in the third period despite 11 shots on goal and a 5-on-3 power play for 1:11. It cost them when Nathan Horton drew the game even at 3-3 with his first of the season with 4:23 remaining.
Then, just seconds into the overtime session, Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference could not control a pass from Chris Kelly and Gaborik broke in alone on Rask. The Rangers’ leading scorer from a year ago fired a shot at Rask’s blocker before swatting the rebound into the net and setting off a raucous celebration.
“I think Ference fumbled the puck,” Gaborik said. He spent most of the game as part of a top line with Richards and Rick Nash. The trio finished three goals and two assists for five points and a plus-six rating. “I tried to settle it down and tried to shoot it at the blocker and got a fortunate bounce on the rebound.”
Henrik Lundqvist made 26 saves to earn the win.
Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.