Rangers beat Blackhawks in first game back from Olympic break

Rick Nash
Rick Nash returned from Russia with a gold medal and netted a goal Thursday.
Credit: Getty Images

It was neither crisp nor especially emotion-laden, but the Rangers will take the result.

Following the NHL’s two-week Olympic hiatus, the Rangers got back to the business with a 2-1 win over the defending Stanley Cup-champion Blackhawks Thursday night at the Garden.

“A win is a win,” Rick Nash said.

The Rangers improved to 33-24-3 with their seventh win in the last 10 games, and swept the season series with Chicago following the first game for both teams since Feb. 7.

“We went into the [Olympic] break with the momentum we had,” Dan Girardi said. “Guys worked hard to get a win against a very good team in the West.”

Among the aspects to the Rangers’ success over the last six weeks had been the play of the third line of Mats Zuccarello, Derick Brassard and Benoit Pouliot. The line was sans Zuccarello, who suffered a broken right hand during the Olympics, forcing the organization to call up J.T. Miller from AHL Hartford to replace him. But the line didn’t seem to miss a beat as Brassard opened the scoring 10:14 into the game. The trio’s offensive zone pressure lead to the center’s 12th of the season.

“On our first goal [Miller] made a good read on [Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford] mishandling the puck and worked our way back, and created the turnover,” head coach Alain Vigneault said. “He had two opportunities and [Brassard] scored on the second one.”

Cam Talbot made the slim lead hold up as he stopped 31 shots to record his 11th win of the season.

Despite holding decided advantages in attempted shots (62-39) and shots on goal (32-24), the Blackhawks’ best opportunities did not come until a third period in which they outshot the Rangers 13-2. But they weren’t able to solve Talbot until ex-Islander Peter Regin spoiled the shutout bid with 11.6 seconds remaining.

By that time, the Rangers had a 2-0 lead on the strength of Nash’s 19th of the season with 4:07 remaining.

“[Talbot] played great and deserved the shutout,” said Marc Staal, who was stalwart in 20:38 of ice time despite being a game-time decision due to back spasms.

Other than Zuccarello, whose broken hand is expected to cost him three to four weeks, Vigneault kept the line combinations and defensive pairings that contributed to a 12-5-1 mark over the season’s previous seven weeks intact.

By doing so, Vigneault opted to keep Daniel Carcillo on the fourth line with Brian Boyle and Dominic Moore instead of re-inserting right wing Derek Dorsett into the lineup. Dorsett suffered a broken right fibula while blocking a shot in the 5-2 loss to the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Jan. 3, and missed 17 games. Before the game, Vigneault said he will determine on a per-game basis how and when he will use Dorsett.

The win also began a stretch of three games in four nights for the Rangers, who will be in Philadelphia Saturday afternoon before returning home for Sunday night’s tilt against the Bruins.

Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Hurricane Odile batters Mexico's Baja resorts, sparks looting

Hurricane Odile injured dozens of people, forced the evacuation of thousands and smashed shops open to looters in the popular tourist area of Baja, Mexico.

National

Apple iPhone 6 pre-orders hit record 4 million…

By Lehar Maan(Reuters) - Apple Inc said many customers will need to wait until next month for their new iPhones after a record 4 million…

National

LAPD investigates complaint from detained 'Django' actress

The LAPD is investigating after "Django Unchained" actress Daniele Watts accused police of violating her rights when they detained her.

Local

Number of New York City smokers increase, topping…

For the first time since 2007, there are  more than one million smokers in New York City, according to the New York City Department of…

Movies

Newsflash: Corey Stoll is still not a man

In director Shaun Levy's "This Is Where I Leave You," Corey Stoll stars as the oldest of four adult children (the others are played by…

Movies

If you don't like Simon Pegg's new film,…

Simon Pegg goes all out in "Hector and the Search for Happiness" as the titular psychiatrist stymied by modern life who embarks on a globetrotting…

Arts

Art in Chelsea: Don't miss these 3 galleries

We selected three sure bets for seeing cool art in the galleries of Chelsea.

Music

Robin Thicke blurs lines further with new 'Blurred…

"The reality is," said Robin Thicke about "Blurred Lines" in a court deposition, "Pharrell had the beat and he wrote almost every single part of the song."

NFL

3 things we learned in Jets loss to…

The wheels came off for the Jets, who gave up 21 unanswered points after a brilliant first 20 minutes in a 31-24 loss at the Packers.

NFL

Victor Cruz catches case of the drops in…

The Giants dropped a tough, 25-14, decision to the undermanned Cardinals Sunday in their home opener. And drop was the operative word of the day,…

NFL

Giants vs. Cardinals: 3 things we learned

The Giants heard all week about how ragged their new offense has looked, but even when they finally answered the bell they still can’t find a way to win.

NFL

About a quarter of football players will get…

About one in four National Football League players are likely to end up suffering cognitive impairments during their lifetime, according to a report.

Travel

World's most hipster cities: Top 5

Travel blogger Adam Groffman tells us his picks for the Top 5 most hipster cities in the world.

Education

The top 5 regrets recent high school grads…

College application season can seem like a blur for many students - as test prep, campus visits and filling out a seemingly endless stream of…

Parenting

Tech execs tend to limit their kids' screen…

You probably got your iPad before Bill Gates's kids did.

Wellbeing

Wellbeing: Daybreaker returns, Ray Rice jersey trade, Sweet…

  Now that Ray Rice is no longer with the Baltimore Ravens — or any other NFL team — after video footage surfaced showing him…