Coming off a tough loss to the Islanders the New York Rangers suffered another hard-fought loss against the Boston Bruins. While the Rangers’ defense has been playing outstanding, their offense has been struggling of late. The team was shutout by the Islanders on Monday and mustered just two-goal(s) Wednesday against the Bruins. The Rangers rolled out the same skaters as Monday’s loss to the Isles. The one change was in goal, with Alexandar Georgiev going in between the pipes. The Rangers took a 1-0 lead thanks to Julien Gauthier’s first NHL goal. The Bruins would tie the game with a shorthanded goal in the middle of the second period. In the third, Anders Bjork and Kevin Rooney exchanged goals which had the score tied at two heading to overtime. In overtime, Ballgame. Rangers lose to Bruins.
The Defense Shines Again
One of the top stories of the night and really the last couple of games is how much strength the Rangers defense has become. As always Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren were the best pair on the ice. Fox made a beautiful save in the first 20 seconds of overtime to save the day, at least for a bit. K’Andre Miller played another strong game and is solidifying himself as a top-four defenseman. Jacob Trouba, who played well for the Rangers for most of the night against the Bruins, suffered a really bad lapse on the Bjork goal. The bottom pair of Bitetto and Hajek played well again and have done so in their four games together. Outside of Hajek’s aimless pass leading to the Islanders’ first goal on Monday, the Rangers’ bottom pair has been exceptional together.
Contributions From the Fourth Line
The biggest story of the night is the Rangers’ fourth line coming through with two big goals to keep the team afloat. Brendan Lemieux set up both of the goals. His first assist came on a beautiful feed to Gauthier who got to the net front and scored his first NHL goal. The second assist by Lemieux came on a real, chippy playoff-style goal. Lindgren threw a shot at the net and Lemieux put a nice deflection on it right into Tuukka Rask’s shoulder. The puck bounced in the crease where Rooney would clean it up and tie the game at two. The fourth line scored both of the Rangers’ regulation goals against the Bruins and did a great job to keep the Rangers in the game.
This loss was yet another tough one for the Rangers to suffer. Once again they had a lead at the end of the first period and failed to keep it. The game was stolen by Tuukka Rask of Bruins making 33 saves on 35 Rangers shots. For Mika Zibanejad, that resulted in tough luck as he had two or three really good scoring chances get stopped. It has been a rough start for Zibanejad who has just one goal and two assists through the Rangers’ first 12 games. Things will not get easier as they face the Bruins yet again on Friday. To make things worse, they may do so without Artemi Panarin. Panarin seemed to have suffered an injury during the second period of the game and was not able to play for much of the third period. Depending on the severity, he may miss a game or two.
The Rangers will be back at the Garden on Friday night after losing to the aforementioned Bruins. More likely than not we will see the same Rangers’ lineup if everyone is healthy. However, David Quinn has been shifting the goalies back and forth. We very well could see Igor Shesterkin back in the net on Friday. The Rangers are currently a point back of the Islanders for a playoff spot in the tight East Division race. The star players, especially Zibanejad, all need to get going in order to get this Ranger offense moving. With the way the defense is playing, the offense getting going is vital for the Rangers moving forward.