Marketed as a rivalry game with strong power play units, naturally the Wednesday night showdown between the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins ended with no power play goals.
It did, however, feature a ton of grit and the Rangers’ fifth consecutive victory.
Jimmy Vesey scored two goals 29 seconds apart in the first period, the last of three Rangers scores in the opening frame, and the Rangers took a 4-2 final in the Original 6 showdown at Madison Square Garden.
It’s the Rangers’ fifth consecutive win, and they moved into a tie for the Eastern Conference’s early top wild card spot. After stopping an early Boston rush, the Rangers (8-7-2) took the lead on a goal by Pavel Buchnevich, who instantly scored off the bench, shifting his way past Boston defenders for the early lead. 21 seconds later, however, the Bruins tied it as David Pastrnak put in a deflection off the boards to tie the game up.
In a stark contrast from other first periods this season, the Rangers took over the rest of the first period, as Vesey doubled his season’s goal tally, putting in his third and fourth goals of the year. Buchnevich added the primary assist on the first goal, while Kevin Shattenkirk put in the primary on the second, extending his point streak to six games. The Rangers outshot Boston 16-7 for the period.
Boston (6-5-3) began to fight back, increasing the pressure and forcing the Rangers into careless penalties. However, a vintage performance from Henrik Lundqvist came up huge, as he made several huge saves, continuing a personal hot streak. The Bruins outshot the Rangers 26-17 for the remainder of the game, but Lundqvist made 25 saves, allowing only a Patrice Bergeron score in the third period. The Rangers also shut down Boston’s third-ranked power play, killing off four opportunities.
The Bruins made one final rush with Tuukka Rask pulled, but the Rangers defenders killed off one more extra man opportunity, and sealed the deal when Rick Nash put it into the empty net.
The Rangers will go for their sixth consecutive win on Saturday afternoon, as they take on the Edmonton Oilers in a weekend matinee (1:00 PM, MSG)
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490